Treasure Vault Lake, Missouri Lakes Trailhead - Fancy Creek Trailhead, Summit County - Eagle County - Clear Creek County, Colorado

Treasure Vault Lake - 9.8 miles

Missouri Lakes Trailhead - Fancy Creek Trailhead

Treasure Vault Lake

Treasure Vault Lake

Round-Trip Length: 9.8 miles
Start-End Elevation: 10,010 - 11,675' (11,986' max elevation on Missouri Pass)
Elevation Change: +1,665' net elevation gain (+2,390' total roundtrip elevation gain)
Skill Level: Moderate-Strenuous
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: Yes
Related Trails:

Treasure Vault Lake - 9.8 Miles Round-Trip

Treasure Vault Lake is located 4.9 miles from Missouri Lakes Trailhead in the Holy Cross Wilderness. The lake sits above treeline in a spectacular basin just west of Missouri Pass.

Trail Map | Photo Gallery

Though it's an easy excursion from the Missouri Pass - Fancy Pass Loop, an out-and-back hike offers more time in the Treasure Vault and Missouri Lakes basins, which are arguably more compelling than the Fancy Creek side.

Blodgett Lake (11,665') is accessible from Treasure Vault by way of a cross-country route that follows relatively level topo lines across steep valley walls to a cirque in the west corner of the basin:

The trail begins on a mild grade that steepens past .5 miles to the Holy Cross Wilderness Boundary (.93 miles : 10,360’). It rises to a bridge over the creek (1.1 miles : 10,468’), where grades pick up considerably along the rim of a deep, narrow gorge.

The trail crosses back over the creek (1.35 miles) and levels around a large, marshy meadow (1.5 miles : 10,805’). It circles the meadow and funnels into the upper gorge right along the creek (2.0 miles : 10,987’), then moderates away in a thinning forest (2.5 miles : 11,170’).

The main trail continues on variously rugged and moderate intervals into the upper valley where the landscape opens to Lower Missouri Lake (3.15 miles : 11,410’).

It pitches up through treeline to Upper Missouri Lake in a wide, level basin below the pass (3.5 miles : 11,502’). Turn left and follow the shore clockwise. The trail undulates around the lake and over the inlet to a large tarn (3.85 miles : 11,535’), where it turns sharply on a 450’ - .5 mile climb to Missouri Pass (4.35 miles : 11,986’).

Views of Treasure Vault Lake are exceptional, and the x-country route to Blodgett Lake becomes clear. The trail drops quickly off the pass through high alpine meadows to the Cross Creek Trail – Fancy Creek Trail junction (4.7 miles : 11,802’), where a spur branches down to the west side of Treasure Vault Lake (4.92 miles : 11,675').

Follow the outlet stream to great views over the Cross Creek drainage, and to begin your route to Blodgett Lake. Glass the basin for elk, and ridges above for bighorn sheep and mountain goat.

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Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

  • N39 23.390 W106 28.257 — 0.0 miles : Missouri Lakes Trailhead
  • N39 23.140 W106 28.671 — .5 miles : Fast travel on mild grad
  • N39 23.154 W106 29.070 — .93 miles : Holy Cross Wilderness Boundary
  • N39 23.306 W106 29.457 — 1.5 miles : Trail levels around scenic meadow
  • N39 23.306 W106 29.457 — 1.5 miles : Trail levels around scenic meadow
  • N39 23.439 W106 29.781 — 2.0 miles : Trail steepens through narrow gorge
  • N39 23.418 W106 30.253 — 2.5 miles : Travel moderates in thinning forest
  • N39 23.485 W106 30.851 — 3.15 miles : Lower Missouri Lake (11,410')
  • N39 23.698 W106 30.731 — 3.5 miles : Upper Missouri Lake (11,502')
  • N39 23.923 W106 30.866 — 3.85 miles : Pass large tarn before steep climb to Pass
  • N39 24.226 W106 31.008 — 4.35 miles : Missouri Pass (11,986')
  • N39 24.496 W106 30.996 — 4.7 miles : Cross Creek - Fancy Creek Trail split
  • N39 24.415 W106 31.254 — 4.92 miles : Treasure Vault Lake

Worth Noting

  • Though easy to improvise in this open alpine terrain, use designated trails to avoid trampling sensitive vegetation.
  • Look for a sparingly-marked social trail between 2.7-2.8 miles that veers SW along a creek to the first Missouri Lake.
  • Look for wildlife between Treasure Vault Lake and treeline in the Cross Creek drainage, ideal habitat that sees few visitors.

Camping and Backpacking Information

Backcountry Camping

  • Dispersed backcountry camping is permitted in the Holy Cross Wilderness Area. Self-registration permits are available at the trailhead and/or Wilderness Boundary. There is no fee or limit to the number of permits issued. Backpackers must carry a completed registration form with them for the duration of the trip.

  • Camping is prohibited within 100' of any lake or stream. Group size is limited to 15 individuals.

  • Campfires are not permitted in the Missouri Creek and Fancy Creek basins (this includes each trail corridor and anywhere on the loop).

  • Campfires are otherwise permitted in the Holy Cross Wilderness for dispersed camping in the backcountry, with potential seasonal restrictions. Campfires are not permitted above or within .25 miles (440 yards) of treeline, or within 100' of any lake or stream in the Holy Cross Wilderness.

  • Gold Camp is a developed campground on Homestake Road. There are also many undeveloped campsites along Homestake Road with no fees. These are not marked but the turnoffs for each are fairly clear. Be mindful of adjacent private property.

  • Contact the Holy Cross Ranger District (970.827.5715) for the latest weather, trail conditions and trail-specific guidelines when planning your trip. The office is open M - F from 8am - 4pm.

Fishing Information

  • Fishing is permitted at the Missouri Lakes, Treasure Vault Lake, Fancy Lake and all creeks in the watershed with a valid Colorado fishing license.

Rules and Regulations

  • Campfires are not permitted in the Missouri Creek and Fancy Creek watersheds (this includes each trail corridor and anywhere on the loop). Fires are permitted on the Cross Creek Trail corridor, including areas below treeline near Treasure Vault Lake.
  • Dogs must be leashed or under strict voice control at all times.

Directions to Trailhead

The Missouri Lakes - Fancy Creek Trailhead is located on Missouri Creek Road, 9.8 miles west of Highway 24.

From I-70, take Exit 171 (just west of West Vail) and follow Highway 24 south for 12.4 miles to Homestake Road (right turn). Anticipate this turn, as it comes quickly on a bend in the road.

Take Homestake Road 7.6 miles to Missouri Creek Road - turn right. Follow this road 2.2 miles to the parking area for each trailhead. The trailheads are located several dozen yards apart in the same parking lot (Missouri is to the left, Fancy to the right).

Homestake and Missouri Creek roads are on graded dirt suitable for all vehicles. The final 2.2 miles are nominally rougher and narrower. Watch for wildlife on the road, especially moose at dawn and dusk. Spaces are limited but roadside parking is permitted in designated areas.

Contact Information

Holy Cross Ranger District
24747 US Highway 24
Minturn, CO 81645

White River National Forest
900 Grand Ave.
P.O. Box 948
Glenwood Springs CO 81602

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