Backpack the High Alpine Seven Sisters Lake Chain

Minturn, Colorado



12 miles

Elevation Gain

1000 ft

Route Type



Added by Ryan Gasper

Explore these 7 high alpine ladies that infamously go by the name of the Seven Sisters Lakes.

This lake chain is in a spectacular, undeveloped bowl of jagged and rugged mountain goodness located in the Holy Cross Wilderness Area. This hidden gem is easily accessible and, to my amazement, it is relatively unheard of even among many locals. More wonderful perks included in this backpacking endeavor include the fact that there are no campsites or developed trails to restrict you while exploring this beautiful area. The possibilities are endless for all skill levels of adventurers. You could use this area to either do a day hike or take an overnight trip to wander aimlessly from lake to lake.

You can start hiking up the jeep trail on the way to Holy Cross City (see driving directions below). This will be a steep ascent for about 1,000 feet until you reach the end of the jeep trails about 2-3 miles in. From there, a trail deviates to the right and the trail continues into the Seven Sisters Lake Chain for about 3 miles or so. You do gain elevation but it is gradual and spectacular.

You will see Hunkey Dory Lake and a Holy Cross Wilderness sign within 15-30 minutes of leaving the jeep trails. The hiking trail ends about 3-4 miles in and lets loose into this mountain bowl that contains the Seven Sisters - let the off-trail navigation begin.

At this point you have already reached the Seven Sisters. Hike, roam and camp where you please within the mountain bowl and explore all that these sisters have to offer. Off trail navigation is super straight forward - you are above treeline and have little chance of getting lost due to the massive jagged peaks that confine you to the small bowl that holds these lakes.

Getting there: Proceed 12 miles on Hwy. 24 to Homestake Road #703. Turn right and travel 8 miles onHomestake Road to the Holy Cross City jeep road #759. Park here and walk about 2 miles up the road to the trailhead. NOTE: This jeep road is very rough and should not be attempted unless you have a 4WD with a winch.

Take the junction 727 dirt road that's between I70 and Leadville and follow that all the way to Missouri Lakes Trailhead, then continue right onto Homestake Road. Homestake will take you up a dirt road to the east where you will see a big black pipeline of sorts on your left, eventually crossing a substantial river as well. There are many pull-offs where you can park but the ideal destination is a unmarked parking lot that feeds an intense jeep trail. A basic 4 wheel drive car should handle these roads just fine. If you can find this lot you will be saving yourself some walking time. The jeep trail ascent into Holy Cross City begins around 9,400 feet and this undeveloped lot cuts off the jeep road at around 10,400 feet.

Read More

Download the Outbound mobile app

Find adventures and camping on the go, share photos, use GPX tracks, and download maps for offline use.

Get the app


Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Swimming Hole

Backpack the High Alpine Seven Sisters Lake Chain Reviews

Have you done this adventure? Be the first to leave a review!

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!


Hike to Fancy Pass

Savage Lakes Trail

Scramble the Halo Ridge on Mt. Holy Cross

Hike to Tuhare Lakes

Climb Mount of the Holy Cross, North Ridge

Ski Notch Mountain