Sunset on the San Juans from the Ouray Brewery. This is 1.7 miles from the TH and about a 1,600-foot elevation gain. There are a few smaller social trails that will lead you in the wrong direction. Stay on the main trail. Ice Lake Trail is a portal to an enchanting alpine basin in Colorado’s southwestern San Juan Mountains, about six hours from Colorado Springs. From here, I went to Island Lake first. The trail starts below treeline near the South Mineral Campground at an elevation of ~9,800 feet. From there it is a steady uphill climb to the Lower Ice Lake Basin and then to the Upper Ice Lake Basin. Hiking abounds in the Lakes Basin, but there are many other things to do. Nearest … Seriously, if you love waterfalls this is the hike for you. Switchbacks, wildflowers, meadows, and more, read more about this absolutely essential trail and all it has to offer. I would be backpacking up there shortly. Sneffels on the previous day, we headed up for a night at Ice Lake Basin, near where we had begun the trip at Clear Lake a week before. The Ice Lake Basin Trail is a tough hike to stunning views, incredible wildflowers, and electric blue alpine lakes — it’s certainly worth the climb. It is breathtaking. I had begun to see a bunch of articles about hiking and backpacking Ice Lakes Basin outside of Silverton, Colorado, and I kept hearing how it’s arguably one of the most scenic and iconic areas of Colorado.It being constantly listed on subjective “Best Hikes” or “Top Backpacking” lists. Five years ago, Botsford said, a busy day on the Ice … Ice Lake Basin is a very popular hike in the San Juan Mountains, and for good reason. Hiking to Ice Lake and Back Out to Trailhead [Day 3] After catching the sunrise, we packed up at 7:45 am [Sunday, Sept 1] and headed to Ice Lake before looping off the mountain. All the pictures I had seen of the basin were spectacular, and one of the reasons why I wanted to head to Colorado in the first place. Opportunities for exploration include side trips to Island and Fuller lakes. Distance: 8.5 miles. I had read a bunch of articles about hiking and backpacking Ice Lakes Basin outside of Silverton, Colorado. The Ice Lakes Basin trail is currently listed as temporarily closed. Ice Lake Basin San Juan National Forest, Colorado Distance: 9.3 miles Traveled: Ice Lake Trailhead to Ice lake and Island Lake “A lake is a landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature. Photo: Ice Lake, San Juan Mountains, Colorado. Falling by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr. It is Earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.” Before reaching the trailhead below, I stopped to photograph another waterfall on Clear Creek. This wonderful hike visits two gorgeous lake basins, traverses wildflower-filled meadows and passes numerous waterfalls along the way. Island Lake is phenomenal. Falling by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr While continuing the drive down, I spotted this interesting scene on the mountain across the valley. Ice Lake Basin offered a number of 13ers to climb and Blue Lakes Basin would give us a shot at Mount Sneffels. Grab a bite to eat here on a massive trailside boulder with views of the surrounding peaks. June 2012. Without a doubt the most beautiful and rewarding hike we've had the pleasure of trekking! Half a mile later, the final climb to Ice Lake begins. Matching unparalleled scenery with relative easy access make this 3-day backpacking excursion a perfect trip for families, or those new to wilderness travel. The upper half of the trail switchbacks up a cliff and then levels out when it reaches the basin. From late July through August, the wildflowers are spectacular, with sub-alpine species in … The faint trail etched into the mountainside to the right leads to Island Lake. The water in Ice Lake is some of the bluest I've ever seen! Ice Lakes Basin Trip Planning Currently Closed due to Ice Fire In mid-October 2020, Ice Fire ripped through the bottom portion of the Ice Lakes Trail, as well as areas east of the trail. Ice Lakes Highlights: Activities to enjoy in the area include hiking, trail running, backpacking, mountaineering, photography, fishing, and wildlife, wildflower and scenery viewing. I would be backpacking up there shortly. So I decided on two separate three day/two night backpacking trips; the first to Ice Lake Basin and the second to Blue Lakes Basin. To get to the trailhead, drive up Clear Lake Road and park at the first switchback. Ice Lakes Basin sits at an elevation of 12,500 ft, and the trail begins at 9,900 ft. Because of this, some people get elevation sickness or have a hard time breathing on this hike, especially since it's somewhat steep the entire way. We only ended up hiking a little over a mile to where we'd set up camp, but it was a good 900-1000 feet elevation gain. Lower Ice Lake is slightly below timberline, at the base of a towering ridgeline. The trail over is short, only 30 minutes (shorter if you don’t stop for all the photos of the wildflowers) and all downhill from Island Lake to Ice Lake. The trek up to Ice Lake Basin is short, steep, but not technical. The trail might be difficult, but that doesn’t seem to deter the thousands of hikers this trail sees every season. For a reference, this photo shows the pristine condition of the Ice Lakes Basin before COVID-19 … Ice Lake Trail. The first part is the easy section that takes you about 1 mile through the forest on relatively non-steep switchbacks. The first half is below timberline and passes through aspen and conifer vegetative zones. Backpacking Ice Lakes Basin Outside Silverton Silverton, Colorado. The Ice Lake Basin trail, though strenuous, features jaw dropping views of more than 3 alpine lakes surrounded by the jaw-dropping San Juan Mountain range in the backdrop. Typically the basin is covered by wildflowers in late July and August. While there is little reprieve from the steady uphill nature of this hike, both the journey and destination make every step worthwhile. Most people go to Ice Lakes…I don’t know why. Maude. It is a not too strenuous hike through high alpine meadows, pine forests and with waterfalls at every turn. Ice Lakes Basin is located near Silverton, CO, a mecca of hiking, backpacking, and camping! This is about 1 mile of steep switchbacks on red dirt. Ice Lakes Basin "V4" (13,540) Ulysses S Grant Pk (13,767) Pilot Knob (13,738) Golden Horn (13,780) ... Alarm went off around 3, we packed up our stuff for the weekend and made way for the basin. Swimming in the lakes, bird watching, photographing the spectacular views are just some of the activities to enjoy. Other Alpine Lakes Near Ice Lake Basin. It is an absolutely amazing sight! Ice Lake Basin by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr. The hike at times was a little daunting, but the reward of seeing Ice Lake made it worth it. South Colony Lakes and Crestone Group. If you’ve got time visit upper ice lakes is another mile and 400 feet higher than Lower Ice Lakes and enjoy a relatively easy walk up the shoulder of 9,060 foot Mt. Upon reaching the lower basin great views open to Fuller, Vermillion Peak, Golden Horn and … Matching unparalleled scenery with relative easy access make this 3-day backpacking excursion a perfect trip for families, or those new to wilderness travel. Cascading waterfalls, brilliant wildflower displays and turquoise lakes permeate the landscape of Ice Lakes Basin. 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