Brady/Sopris Lakes

Round Trip Distance: 3.8 miles
Difficulty: Strenuous
Elevation: 10,308 - 11,002 feet
Cellphone: 0 bars
Time: 3 hrs. 45 mins.
Trailhead: Sopris
Fee: none
Attractions: Scenic alpine lakes

Brady Lake and Sopris Lake are located in the Holy Cross Wilderness Area of the White River National Forest near Minturn, Colorado. Both lakes are good for fishing and popular with both day hikers and backpackers.

For turn-by-turn directions enter either 'Missouri Lakes trailhead' or 'Sopris Lake' into your driving app and download the directions to your device for when you lose cell phone service. Other than that drive about 10.7 miles south from Minturn on Highway 24 and turn right onto the Homestake Road. Continue for another 10 miles by following the signs to Missouri Lakes. Vehicles with moderate ground clearance can normally make the last 2 miles to the Missouri Lakes trailhead without 4wd but the road is a bit rough in some places. From the Missouri Lakes trailhead it is about 1 more mile up the road to the Sopris trailhead. The last half mile of the remaining road gets very rough and steep in a few places requiring 4wd and high clearance.

There is a nice little lake right at the trailhead that is formed by a diversion dam. The striking peak in the background is has an elevation of 12,559 feet. We aren't showing a name for it on any of our maps.

The first trail sign doesn't appear until you hike along the west side of the dam . Once you see it you know that you are indeed on the correct trail.

As the trail leaves the lake behind it enters a dark timbered forest of the Holy Cross Wilderness where only patches of sunlight manage to pierce the thick canopy.

For the first 4 tenths of a mile the trail travels beside Sopris Creek. Once its reaches the confluence with Brady Creek it crosses Sopris and continues along Brady.

After crossing Sopris Creek the trail gets a bit steeper.

There is a nice reprieve from the climb as the trail crosses a sunny meadow.

The steepest and most primitive stretch of the trail comes up after the meadow.

For the last half mile to Brady Lake the trail mostly levels off. This is a photo of a slough it passes along the way.

Brady Lake sits right up against the mountain. There are several nice primitive campsites with good access to the lake. We met a backpacker that was planning to hike over the saddle of the ridge to the left (just out of the photo) and down to Paradise Lakes.

The trail that leads from Brady Lake to Sopris Lake isn't marked but it is the only thing that looks at all like a trail that is heading in that direction.

 Sopris Lake appears to be slightly smaller than Brady Lake. It also has a few good places to camp. There is some nice soft grassy tundra that would be tempting to setup a tent on but it is probably too wet. We had the lake all to ourselves on the day we took the photos for this post.

Even with the rough 4wd road getting to the trailhead the parking can get congested on a weekend. We hiked up to Brady and Sopris Lakes in the afternoon and by the time we got back to the trailhead it was mostly cleared out. The hike seemed strenuous to us but we had just hiked up to the pass above Missouri Lakes that morning so taking that into account it might be more on the moderate side. We also saw some fresh bighorn scat on the trail coming back down although we never saw the animals themselves. Anyway, the hike is a nice option to keep in mind if you are in the area. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.