Holy Cross Wilderness Area, Colorado

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Holy Cross Wilderness

Holy Cross Wilderness area, Colorado, is a designated wilderness area and is managed by the U.S. Forest Service to ensure that this beautiful 122,884 acre expanse is preserved.

  • Holy Cross Wilderness area, Colorado, is a beautiful 122,884 acre expanse which is preserved by the U.S. Forest Service to retain it's stunning scenery.
  • The area is located within San Isabel and White River national forests
  • It provides the perfect place for outdoor recreation from hiking, horse riding, camping to skiing in the winter months.


Holy Cross Wilderness is a designated wilderness area, managed by the U.S Forest Service to ensure that this beautiful area remains untouched to be enjoyed by all. Part of the 106 million acre National Wilderness Preservation System this system of wildlands contributes significantly to the ecological, economic and social health of the state of Colorado, and the United States as a whole.


Holy Cross Wilderness area is located in San Isabel and White River national forests southwest of Vail, Colorado. The different trails are accessed from U.S Highway 24.


Holy Cross is open all year round but activities are weather dependent.


The Holy Cross District has 225 miles of Forest Service trails which offer endless opportunities for hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking and, during the winter months, cross-country skiing. There are six developed campgrounds for your comfort and convenience when taking over night trips. A few highlights:

  • The 10th Mountain Hut System provides a hut to hut trail system for cross country skiers, backcountry skiers, hikers, and mountain bikers
  • Gold Park Campground: A great starting point for exploring the Holy Cross. Take I-70 to Exit 171 for Minturn and drive 13 miles down US 24 to Homestake Road. 7 miles to the campground.
  • Whitney Lake Trail: Great views of Whitney Peak along this 2.5 mile trail. Access is just a few miles before the Gold Park Campground.
  • Half Moon Pass Trail (to Mount of the Holy Cross): The best hiking trail for climbing Mount of the Holy Cross, the Half Moon Pass Trail is only 3.4 miles one-way, after which you can follow an unmarked trail up the north ridge to the summit. The trail begins at the end of Tigiwon Road in Minturn.
  • Missouri Lakes: You can take your pick in length, from 2.7 miles to first lake, 4 miles to Missouri Pass, or 4.4 miles to Fancy Pass Trail. It's one of the most popular trails in the wilderness area after Half Moon Pass Trail. Access is the same as Whitney Lake Trail above.