last two miles are steep with thin air, hiking polls are helpful as many stated. The perpetual beauty that permeated the journey was bested only by the destination. There is an excellent Ice Lake Trail (great for trail running) starting from the campground, which gradually leads into the lower Ice Lake Basin, and then reaches Ice Lake. please don't be that person. Following the Ice Fire in fall of 2020, the Ice Lakes Basin Trail was closed. Sign up for our eNews updates and be the first to know... SJMA was created in 1988 to assist the San Juan National Forest in providing education and interpretation of public lands in Southwest Colorado. Colorado Tourism Office, 1625 Broadway, Suite 1700 , Denver, CO, 80202 This turn off is located between mile markers 72 and 73. Lower Ice Lake Basin Lower Ice Lake Basin. The trails climbs through 2 basins, each with its own ecosystem. Ice Lake Basin Trail [CLOSED] is a 9.5 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Ophir, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as difficult. I, personally, wouldn’t take them to Island. One of my favorite hikes ever! Five years ago, Botsford said, a busy day on the Ice Lakes trail might see 250 hikers. Ice Lake Trail . From the trailhead, a hike of a little more than three miles, with an ascent of about 2,400 feet, leads to one of the most spectacular settings in Colorado. 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. the last mile is definitely the toughest and i strongly recommend having appropriate footwear because it can be a bit hard to get a foothold even in boots, especially when going back down - i saw a lot of individuals in casual shoes slipping and sliding their way along the trail and some parts can be dangerously narrow. There are also some cool ruins there that are a bit of an eyesore, but its cool. Ice Lake is a must! From the Ice Lakes basin Trailhead, this 8 mile round trip trail with 3000 feet of elevation gain will bring you to the Ice Lakes Basin with an abundance of beautiful lakes, especially Island Lake and Ice Lake. It is definitely worth starting early to avoid the crowd. Just be sure to park in the South Mineral parking lot, they have a sign explaining the trail. Hardest part of the trail is the section between Ice Lake and Island Lake. I'd reiterate what someone said previously: if you're coming from a sea-level residence, give yourself time to acclimate. We parked in a large grassy lot near the… It's very challenging but the views are 100% worth the hiking. trail is beautiful, but much of the foliage/grass is dead. Awesome views and trail. The trail is a dusty uphill climb for most of the way. Ice Lakes Basin is known as one of the top alpine lake hiking destinations in all of Colorado, where hardy hikers are treated to waterfalls, wildflowers, open meadows, beautiful rock formations, alpine tundra and, of course, spectacular snow-fed lakes. You’ll pass through aspen, conifers, and into two distinct basins above the … In heading left, we hiked our tired legs straight to Ice Lake, and completely missed Island Lake. The Ice Fire area closure includes the lower Ice Lakes Trail, the lower Clear Lake Road, and the South Mineral Road (NFSR 585) from a new gate just past Goldenhorn camping area to where it crosses Clear Creek past South Mineral Campground. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, snowshoeing, and backpacking and is best used from April until September. Some tricky scrambling on a cliff edge just after Ice Lake - but do it slowly, it will be fine. for serious hikers I recommend early morning (like 6 or 7am) to avoid the crowds who lack hike etiquette. Things to note: heaps of side trails, so easy to get lost. I went clockwise, although either direction looks good. See the official news release and closure information here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/sanjuan/alerts-notices/?aid=62986 Trail Attributes. Make a sharp right onto County Road 7 and follow the gravel road for 4.4 miles to the trailhead parking area on the north side of the road across from the South Mineral Campground. We are in good shape and are fairly experienced hikers, so we chose to do the trail up to Ice Lake, then went over to Island Lake (a little sketchy in one part), and looped back around and down. Very upsetting. You’ll pass through aspen, conifers, and into two distinct basins above the … The trail might be difficult, but that doesn’t seem to deter the thousands of hikers this trail sees every season. The Ice Lake Basin and aquamarine Ice Lake at 12,300 feet is ringed by 13,000-foot peaks. Ice Lakes. Very challenging. Weather. The trail from the junction up to and through the Lower Ice Lake Basin is very easy compared with what you have experienced thus far. Great hike overall. Round Trip Distance: 7.3 miles to Ice Lake & 8.4 miles to Island Lake; Difficulty: Strenuous; Elevation Gain: 2,430 feet to Ice Lake & 2,550 to Island Lake; Peak Elevation: 12,265 at Ice Lake & 12,400 at Island Lake; Amount of Time Needed: 4 to 5.5 hours; Trailhead Coordinates: Ice Lake Basin Trailhead, Silverton, Colorado From late July through August, the wildflowers are spectacular, with sub-alpine species in the Lower Basin and alpine species in the upper basin. In the Lower Basin, there is a shallow lake to the south of the trail. Ice Lakes can also be accessed via the Phelps Creek Trailhead via the Leroy Creek Basin route or Carne Mountain High route with some off-trail … All round 10 out of 10. The trail wastes no time gaining elevation, climbing 1,600-ft. in 2-miles through forests and wildflower-filled meadows to the beautiful Lower Ice Lakes basin. Ice Lake Basin Featured Route 7.3mi San Juan NF. The trailhead has lots of parking, and this is a very popular trail. Ice Lake Trail . The hike is tough (for me, the elevation was a challenge having just come from Kentucky) but not technically challenging. SJMA has a participating agreement with the San Juan National Forest and the Bureau of Land Management Tres Rios Field Office to develop educational programs, publications and volunteer projects, as well as provide interpretive services. As you go all the way to the Upper Ice Lake it becomes rather treacherous just before the end because of how steep and rocky it is. Sunset on the San Juans from the Ouray Brewery We hit the road on Friday night and to be exact it was a 22 hour 40 minute all night drive from Andrew’s apartment in Indianapolis to Ouray. If you have the time and energy to explore more of the upper basin area before returning to the trailhead, two popular side trips are to Island Lake and Fuller Lake. A permit system is being considered by recreation managers but it is not underway. We started our hike at 7:30/7:45 on a weekday morning and there were only a few other cars there. There is a restroom by the trailhead, but it is closed from October - April. Ice Lake Trail (505) Area Status: Open This trail is short and steep. After 2 miles of climbing, the trail traverses through the Lower Basin. Follow the trail across a flatter approach to Ice Lake and marvel at the deep blue-green color that changes as shadows cross the lake. It delivered nonstop, stunning scenery perfectly integrated with a healthy amount of rigor. The Durango Herald reports the fire started about a quarter-mile from the Ice Lake Basin trailhead about 2:30 p.m. Monday. It is uphill all the way to the lake basin. 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, … Through a stunning array of alpine wildflowers, the Ice Lakes trail winds through old growth forest, sub alpine meadows, and up to … The trail concludes at Ice Lake, which is the bluest lake you will ever see. If you’re in the area and looking for an all around five-star hike, this is for you. The upper basin is surrounded by awesome peaks. From the trailhead, a hike of a little more than three miles, with an ascent of about 2,400 feet, leads to one of the most spectacular settings in Colorado. Lower Ice Lake is slightly below timberline, at the base of a towering ridgeline. The shades of blue in the lake change when the sun ducks behind the clouds; countless colors of greens and blues can be seen depending on the amount of light that is reflected. The views of the mountains are gorgeous. The road leading to the trailhead is pretty smooth. Amazing blue/green lakes, late season wildflowers, moderately strenuous hike to creekfalls and waterfalls too. Ice Lakes Trailhead at South Mineral Campground Camping. The trail is one of the most popular hikes in southwester Colorado. An air attack and type-2 helicopter were on site as of 3:10 p.m. The trail wastes no time gaining elevation, climbing 1,600-ft. in 2-miles through forests and wildflower-filled meadows to the beautiful Lower Ice Lakes basin. Wondering how the situation is now. Note: Updated trail closure information can be viewed on the San Juan National Forest page here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/sanjuan/recarea/?recid=42984&actid=50 Ice Lake is a brilliant ice blue color and is in a cirque under 13,767-foot US Grant Peak. While there is little reprieve from the steady uphill nature of this hike, both the journey and destination make every step worthwhile. The lake is a deep blue color and has beautiful mountain peaks all around it. pick up your trash. Get Here. Do everyone a favor and before you endeavor to hike, learn how to Leave No Trace. Great views of a waterfall, pine forests, alpine lakes, and lots of mountain peaks. Ice Lakes Basin is located near Silverton, CO, a mecca of hiking, backpacking, and camping! Learn More. Dogs are also able to use this trail. Follow the main trail the entire way, but look for a small cairn on the right upon reaching the basin—this unmaintained trail climbs to the magnificent Island Lake, and is a great option for runners looking to get off the beaten path. Featured Routes. Lower Ice Lake Basin Lower Ice Lake Basin. You can camp at the first-come, first-serve South Mineral campground, which is located right next to the trailhead with 26 spots available.Along the forest road going to the trailhead, you will also find Golden Horn Campground, Anvil Campground, and Kendall Campground. Also, be aware that shortly after the campground the road becomes only 4WD accessible. We were amongst the last people down around sunset on Sunday and smelled smoke briefly near the trailhead but didn’t know where it was coming from. In heading left, we hiked our tired legs straight to Ice Lake, and completely missed Island Lake. It is 3.5 miles to the Ice Lake, and 2,500 feet of elevation gain. And when I say that I scoured the internet, I mean I came across a description for Ice Lake Basin Trail and was immediately sold. Ice Lakes Trail [CLOSED] is a 8.2 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Silverton, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as difficult. 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. The trail starts below treeline near the South Mineral Campground at an elevation of ~9,800 feet. An old collapsed metal-sided mining cabin with an adjacent picnic table stands beside the lake. Weather was perfect. We went to the upper first then down to ice lake which is a color blue that barely looks real. Upon reaching the lower basin great views open to Fuller, Vermillion Peak, Golden Horn and Pilot Knob rising above the … At this point, the trail emerges from the cover of the forest and opens up to a mellow meadow section. The Ice Lakes Basin Trail is located near Silverton, Colorado, within the Columbine Ranger District of San Juan National Forest. I didn’t have any, and there were some spots that were roouuughhhh without them. From Ice Lake the trail turns south and climbs another 330 feet to Fuller Lake, the highest and southernmost lake in the basin. The trail starts at the South Mineral Campground, just a few miles down a good dirt road from U.S. Highway 550. This section is fairly flat for the next two-thirds of a mile. The updated closure (Forest Order SJ-2020-10) applies to ALL public entry, including hikers, mountain bikers, snowshoers, skiers, and all motorized use including snowmobiles. While there is little reprieve from the steady uphill nature of this hike, both the journey and destination make every step worthwhile. The Ice Lakes trailhead is located about six miles west of Silverton. Lower Ice Lake is slightly below timberline, at the base of a towering ridgeline. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, snowshoeing, and backpacking and is best used from April until September. Waterfalls, creeks, colors galore, and the most insanely colored lake you will ever seen! The views along the hike are amazing. pick up your trash. Bring plenty of food and water! Ice Lake is located in the San Juan National Forest near Silverton, Colorado. The Ice Lake Trail takes hikers into one of the most spectacular areas of the San Juan Mountains after a steep but relatively short journey of 3 miles, gaining 2,600 feet. Use the wag bags available at the trail head or buy some prior to visiting and pack your toilet paper and waste out. Vermillion, Fuller, Pilot Knob and Golden Horn are climbed from this basin. Unfortunately this trail is grossly over used and abused. if you aren’t an experienced hiker, or you like to really take your time, you need to start EARLY because this one is going to take you a few hours. this is kind of an in-between time, not quite green, not quite snow. Please protect our trails though. The first half is below timberline and passes through aspen and conifer vegetative zones. We did not go to Fuller - next time! Five years ago, Botsford said, a busy day on the Ice Lakes trail might see 250 hikers. I had no issues with the drive. We then hiked on to Ice Lake and continued on to the last lake on the trail, which was an additional climb but well worth it. I think they are all amazing, but the lack of crowds at Fuller lake compared to Ice lake pushed it to the top for me. Vermillion, Fuller, Pilot Knob and Golden Horn are climbed from this basin. The Lower Ice Lake Basin. Much of the green is gone but we enjoyed the fall colors along with the weather which was a bit cold and breezy at the lake. Best to download the map and follow it at splits. https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/sanjuan/alerts-notices/?cid=fseprd719782. The trail now climbs steep switchbacks up a headwall to the Lower Ice Lake basin. A side trip to Fuller Lake to the south adds about 1.75 miles round trip and 335′ elevation gain. At roughly 2.2 miles in and an elevation of 11,400 feet, you’ll reach Lower Ice Lake Basin. The trail: The trail switchbacks for a few miles up toward Ice Lake Basin where it eventually levels out. Ice Lake has to be one of the most spectacular destinations for the hiker that wants an experience to remember. Unburied feces everywhere. The first half is below timberline and passes through aspen and conifer vegetative zones. Featured Routes. But it is worth it. You should see a faint trail angling up the slope near the bottom of an old mine tailing. A fire sparked Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, near Ice Lake Basin. If you walk down the drainage for a few hundred feet below Ice Lake you will Physically difficult but well worth the work. From Ouray: Follow Highway 550 south from Ouray for about 20 miles to the turn off to South Mineral Campground. You break treeline right around where the loop starts. 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. Most important learn how to poop and pee in the woods. The view looking back on Ice Lake with U.S. Grant Peak (13,767 ft.) in the background is gorgeous, but Fuller Lake itself is not as pretty as Ice Lake. Trekking poles are a MUST. Upon reaching the lower basin great views open to Fuller, Vermillion Peak, Golden Horn and Pilot Knob rising above the … The trail to Fuller Lake can be quite wet and muddy, but staying on the trail will help preserve the fragile alpine tundra. I also strongly advise trekking poles! We will be hiking this trail in the near future once again. After gaining 1,600-ft. in 2 miles the trail crests the ridge into the beautiful Lower Ice Lake basin. 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. This is a beautiful trail with awesome views all the way up. The trail to Ice Lakes basin traverses through pine forest and treks through lush meadows filled with Columbine flowers and stalks of corn lilies. Get Here. The large waterfall is from Fueller Lake. Trail on Ice Lake, Clear Creek, and South Fork Mineral Creek in San Juan National Forest. First of all, thanks for watching and supporting the channel. At 2.2 miles, the secondary trail to Island Lake takes off to the right at 11,460 feet. It is Earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.” The Ice Lakes trailhead is located about six miles west of Silverton. This juncture is intermittently marked with a cairn and is easy to miss. The trail to Ice Lakes basin traverses through pine forest and treks through lush meadows filled with Columbine flowers and stalks of corn lilies. The Ice Lakes Trail offers a lot of variety. Follow the main trail the entire way, but look for a small cairn on the right upon reaching the basin—this unmaintained trail climbs to the magnificent Island Lake, and is a great option for runners looking to get off the beaten path. To reach the trailhead from the intersection of Highway 550 and the turnoff to Silverton (Highway 110), drive 2 miles north on Highway 550 to County Road 7, located between mile markers 72 and 73. Total Length 3¾mi; Elevation Range The trek up to Ice Lake Basin is short, steep, but not technical. The upper basin is surrounded by awesome peaks. The Ice Lake Basin and aquamarine Ice Lake at 12,300 feet is ringed by 13,000-foot peaks. The perpetual beauty that permeated the journey was bested only by the destination. 13er's surround the lake - Fuller, Vermillion, Golden Horn and Pilot Knob. It is located at the very beginning of Lower Ice Lake Basin. Ice Lake Basin Trail Details. Ice Lake, Ontario, a lake and a community in Canada; Ice Lake, New Zealand, in the list of lakes of New Zealand; United States. The upper basin is surrounded by awesome peaks. This isn't an amusement park, it is wilderness. Dogs are also able to use this trail. Kiddies can totally do out and back to Ice Lake and Fuller Lake. The Ice Lakes Basin Trail is located near Silverton, Colorado, within the Columbine Ranger District of San Juan National Forest. To get there you must return to Ice Lake and look up the slope above the northeast corner of the lake. On recommendation, we went up to Island first and then to Ice Lake. Places. This is due to the obscene amount of human waste left around the lake and trail. Expect a lot of stops and rests. Five years ago, Botsford said, a busy day on the Ice Lakes trail might see 250 hikers. Maude. The last stretch of the hike is pretty extreme. Weather. There is a trail that leads around the lake for the 360 deg view. Just shy of 9 miles in exactly 5 hours and it was stunning! Please use caution and travel at your own risk. Ice Lake Trail is a portal to an enchanting alpine basin in Colorado’s southwestern San Juan Mountains, about six hours from Colorado Springs. Dec 21, 2013 - Beautiful Alpine basin in the San Juan Mountains of southwest Colorado, with three pretty lakes - Ice, Fuller and Island. The Ice Lake Basin and aquamarine Ice Lake at 12,300 feet is ringed by 13,000-foot peaks. Like. Follow the trail from Upper Ice Lakes Basin over a rise and across a plateau. The Ice Lake Basin and aquamarine Ice Lake at 12,300 feet is ringed by 13,000-foot peaks. probably the toughest but most beautiful and rewarding hike i’ve ever done. The Ice Lake Basin Trail is NOT under a permit system. Be very cautious when hiking the trail where it transitions from the lower basin to the upper basin and vice versa. 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. 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, … The fire started near the parking lot for the ice lake basin trail, and now 600 acres have burned. Trail Attributes. Pro Tips; If you have the legs and the weather is good, continue another half-mile north from the Ice Lakes to Island Lake, a stunning alpine pool with, you guessed it, a large island. The Ice Lakes Basin trailhead begins from the dirt parking lot across the road from South Mineral Campground. A seasoned explorer in … Amazing blue/green lakes, late season wildflowers, moderately strenuous hike to creek falls and waterfalls too. Cascade Creek Trail (510) Cave Basin Trail (530) City Reservoir Trail (542) Clear Creek Trail (550) Coal Creek Trail (677) Columbine Lake Trail (509) Continental Divide NST Trail (813) Corral Draw Trail (521) Crater Lake Trail (623) Deer Creek Trail (678) Divide Lakes Trail (539) Dry Fork Trail (616) Dutch Creek Trail (516) East Creek Trail (535) Picture of Ice Lakes Basin Trailhead parking lot taken July 20th at 7 AM. Length 8.2 miElevation gain 2798 ftRoute type Out & back The Ice Lakes trailhead is located about six miles west of Silverton. The reviews were stellar, the photos spectacular, it was the perfect length at about 8.5 miles, and according to Google Maps, … Like. You will see 5 lakes if you follow the trail all the way, and there are several more lakes if you explore around the basin. the trail is almost entirely inclined up to ice lake and the hills only get steeper as you get closer. It was challenging. 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