Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Backpacking Colorado: Missouri Lakes

Google's terrain map for the Missouri Lakes.

Last week Brought me to the Missouri Lakes (elev:11430fT) in Eagle county Colorado, the Holy Cross Wilderness.
To Access: (From Denver)
39.3922, -106.5150
Travel west along I-70 to exit #171 for Minturn, Leadville, and Highway 24. Turn right onto Highway 24 and travel south for 13 miles to Homestake Road #703. Turn right onto Homestake Road and continue past Gold Park Campground to mile 8.5. Turn right onto Missouri Creek Road #704 and continue 3 miles to the dirt road to a "T" at 10,200'. Turn left, the trailhead will be on the right.

We camped at the largest lake, sunny side. Nell gets in some Hammock time Day 1.
The hike to the largest lake is an enjoyable 3.5 miles. The trail follows the Missouri Creek drainage and is sprinkled with small ponds and pools along the way. We fished the creek with size #22 dry flies, having good luck with Parachute Adams,Caddis, and Green Drakes.

Nell ties up her rig.

Nell enjoys the solitude the evening hours bring.
This is a popular day hike for Vail locals and tourist. We'd see a number of groups up for lunch or doing the 8 mile fancy pass loop in the area. The largest group we saw was on the walk out, a group of 20 or so retirees, the oldest in the group was 75 years old. All role models, I hope to be so lucky.
All and all the crowds weren't too bad, as most of the people cleared out before dusk.
But if you'd like to stash yourself away...There are a number of hidden campsites near the smaller lakes that would be ideal for privacy, a short walk off the trail will reveal them.

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