The views along the hike are amazing. 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, … Switchbacks, wildflowers, meadows, and more, read more about this absolutely essential trail and all it has to offer. In heading left, we hiked our tired legs straight to Ice Lake, and completely missed Island Lake. Colorado Tourism Office, 1625 Broadway, Suite 1700 , Denver, CO, 80202 Follow the good gravel road for 4.4 miles to the trailhead parking area on the right (North) side of the road, just across from the South Mineral Campground. You’ll pass through aspen, conifers, and into two distinct basins above the … We parked in a large grassy lot near the… 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. See the official news release and closure information here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/sanjuan/alerts-notices/?aid=62986 Toilet paper is every where on the ground. In the Lower Basin, there is a shallow lake to the south of the trail. Vermillion, Fuller, Pilot knob and Golden Horn are climbed from this basin. this is kind of an in-between time, not quite green, not quite snow. Upon reaching the lower basin great views open to Fuller, Vermillion Peak, Golden Horn and Pilot Knob rising above the … We will be hiking this trail in the near future once again. Stony Pass, ATV Trail 821, and Cinnamon Pass OHV Route, https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/sanjuan/recarea/?recid=42984&actid=50, https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/sanjuan/alerts-notices/?cid=fseprd719782. Great views of a waterfall, pine forests, alpine lakes, and lots of mountain peaks. Five years ago, Botsford said, a busy day on the Ice Lakes trail might see 250 hikers. The large waterfall is from Fueller Lake. The trail starts at the South Mineral Campground, just a few miles down a good dirt road from U.S. Highway 550. Very challenging. From Ice Lake the trail turns south and climbs another 330 feet to Fuller Lake, the highest and southernmost lake in the basin. Like. As we found out, the Ice Basin Trail is a big lollipop loop with Island Lake sitting on one side of the loop and Ice Lake sitting on the other. The Ice Lakes Basin Trail is located near Silverton, Colorado, within the Columbine Ranger District of San Juan National Forest. Very upsetting. A seasoned explorer in … It is 3.5 miles to the Ice Lake, and 2,500 feet of elevation gain. The trail starts below treeline near the South Mineral Campground at an elevation of ~9,800 feet. 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. Lower Ice Lake is slightly below timberline, at the base of a towering ridgeline. probably the toughest but most beautiful and rewarding hike i’ve ever done. Don't ruin the silence with annoying drones just to take some photos and ruin it for everyone. Hiking down to the lake there are a couple sketchy places along the ridge but not too bad. 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. The Ice Lake Basin and aquamarine Ice Lake at 12,300 feet is ringed by 13,000-foot peaks. Highly recommend! trail is beautiful, but much of the foliage/grass is dead. 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 walk down the drainage for a few hundred feet below Ice Lake you will I, personally, wouldn’t take them to Island. The Ice Lake Trail was hands-down the best day-hike we took in our two and a half weeks in Colorado. Ice Lake Trail (505) Area Status: Open This trail is short and steep. The colorful trip to Ice Lake Basin also leads to Colorado's island in the sky. the trail is almost entirely inclined up to ice lake and the hills only get steeper as you get closer. 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. I hiked this trail in early October, and I started before sunrise. The trail splits to the upper basin and island lake around 2-2.5 miles (include in trail description). Weather. Ice Lakes Trailhead at South Mineral Campground Camping. Likely this fire due to the carelessness of a hiker or camper. The parking lot is at N 37 48.394, W … Featured Routes. Loving nature means respecting it. 13er's surround the lake - Fuller, Vermillion, Golden Horn and Pilot Knob. Amazing blue/green lakes, late season wildflowers, moderately strenuous hike to creekfalls and waterfalls too. Most important learn how to poop and pee in the woods. The trickiest part to navigate for me was the rocky washout area between the two lakes. The trail offers a number of activity options. The hike is beautiful. An old collapsed metal-sided mining cabin with an adjacent picnic table stands beside the lake. The perpetual beauty that permeated the journey was bested only by the destination. Physically difficult but well worth the work. The views of the mountains are gorgeous. Spend some time exploring the basin or return the way you came. Amazing blue/green lakes, late season wildflowers, moderately strenuous hike … Demanding trail, with walking stick and plenty of water ardently recommended. 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. Yes, the hike is strenuous but it is absolutely worth it. Great (tough) day of hiking but oh, so worth it! Trail to the Ice Lake and along the lake 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. The fire started near the parking lot for the ice lake basin trail, and now 600 acres have burned. You can see the trail on the right climbing up the end of the valley between the rocky cliffs. And, as we quickly realized, our crew wasn’t at Ice Lake. This hike is as gorgeous as everyone says. From the trailhead, the path ascends steeply uphill, gaining 1,600 feet in two miles as you burst into meadows that teem with wildflowers for much of the summer. This is a rocky section with a drop off that could be challenging for some. 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. Do everyone a favor and before you endeavor to hike, learn how to Leave No Trace. I've never experienced the shortness of breath I did on today's hike. Activities to enjoy in the area include hiking, trail running, backpacking, mountaineering, photography, fishing, and wildlife, wildflower and scenery viewing. Ice Lake has to be one of the most spectacular destinations for the hiker that wants an experience to remember. This section is fairly flat for the next two-thirds of a mile. Trash left by hikers. Trail Information : Trail descriptions, statistics, and more lots of tourists littering/talking too loud at the top. At this point, the trail emerges from the cover of the forest and opens up to a mellow meadow section. 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. A permit system is being considered by recreation managers but it is not underway. The trek up to Ice Lake Basin is short, steep, but not technical. 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. 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. pick up your trash. I'd reiterate what someone said previously: if you're coming from a sea-level residence, give yourself time to acclimate. Also, be aware that shortly after the campground the road becomes only 4WD accessible. Hardest part of the trail is the section between Ice Lake and Island Lake. We started our hike at 7:30/7:45 on a weekday morning and there were only a few other cars there. 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. Trail Attributes. 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. The Ice Lake Basin and aquamarine Ice Lake at 12,300 feet is ringed by 13,000-foot peaks. Switchbacks, wildflowers, meadows, and more, read more about this absolutely essential trail and all it has to offer. Total Length 3¾mi; Elevation Range The upper basin is surrounded by awesome peaks. On the way up to the first basin you will pass a Clear Creek waterfall on the right and an old mill off to the left. Forest: San Juan National Forest District: Columbine Ranger District Description: Ice Lakes Basin is at the headwaters of Mineral Creek outside of Silverton, Colorado. 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. The nicest lake is Ice Lake, the first lake you see in the upper basin. View 7 Day Forecast on weather.gov. 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. 550 to Mineral Creek Rd.,turn left and follow it to the Mineral Creek Campground, where the Trailhead is located. Learn More. The trail to Fuller Lake can be quite wet and muddy, but staying on the trail will help preserve the fragile alpine tundra. 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. Great hike overall. Ice Lake Basin Featured Route 7.3mi San Juan NF. It is Earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.” Waterfalls, creeks, colors galore, and the most insanely colored lake you will ever seen! Some of the trees were giant, and I hope that they survive. The Ice Lake Basin and aquamarine Ice Lake at 12,300 feet is ringed by 13,000-foot peaks. This section is fairly flat for the next two-thirds of a mile. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, snowshoeing, and backpacking and is best used from April until September. At 2.2 miles, the secondary trail to Island Lake takes off to the right at 11,460 feet. Trekking poles are a MUST. Lower Ice Lake Basin Lower Ice Lake Basin. To get there you must return to Ice Lake and look up the slope above the northeast corner of the lake. A side trip to Fuller Lake to the south adds about 1.75 miles round trip and 335′ elevation gain. Ice Lakes Basin is located near Silverton, CO, a mecca of hiking, backpacking, and camping! 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. You’ll pass through aspen, conifers, and into two distinct basins above the … Phone: 800-COLORADO The first half is below timberline and passes through aspen and conifer vegetative zones. There are also some cool ruins there that are a bit of an eyesore, but its cool. The Ice Lakes Basin trailhead begins from the dirt parking lot across the road from South Mineral Campground. Quite busy but people very spread out. This beautiful vegetation is increasingly prone to trampling in recent years as more and more visitors take to the trails to take in Ice Lake’s majesty. Things to note: heaps of side trails, so easy to get lost. I went clockwise, although either direction looks good. It is closed temporarily due to fire-related hazards. Enjoy! I had no issues with the drive. These are non-system trails that are not maintained by the San Juan National Forest. At roughly 2.2 miles in and an elevation of 11,400 feet, you’ll reach Lower Ice Lake Basin. The over the past few months we have witnessed up to 200 cars in the lot and lined up along the road. Dogs are also able to use this trail. 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 lake comes into view at the two-mile mark. Phenomenal trail. The Ice Lake Basin and aquamarine Ice Lake at 12,300 feet is ringed by 13,000-foot peaks. This turn off is located between mile markers 72 and 73. The trailhead has lots of parking, and this is a very popular trail. This is due to the obscene amount of human waste left around the lake and trail. 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. 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. Please use caution and travel at your own risk. I’ll still give it a 5 star and hope someday I can come back for it. 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. The Ice Lakes trailhead is located about six miles west of Silverton. It can make anyone feel like a … Ice Lake Basin Trail Details. Dec 21, 2013 - Beautiful Alpine basin in the San Juan Mountains of southwest Colorado, with three pretty lakes - Ice, Fuller and Island. 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. i’m an east coaster and i’m glad i adjusted to the altitude beforehand because i think i would have had a very difficult time if i did not. Expect a lot of stops and rests. It delivered nonstop, stunning scenery perfectly integrated with a healthy amount of rigor. The road leading to the trailhead is pretty smooth. You should see a faint trail angling up the slope near the bottom of an old mine tailing. We didn’t have any hiking poles but after today we are definitely going to get some. It seems much to our sadness most of these people have no clue about Leave NO Trace. There is a trail that leads around the lake for the 360 deg view. With amazing views along the way, this trail leads to … Ice Lakes. We did the loop counterclockwise, starting with Island Lake and loved galavanting through the lake basin - lakes, mountains, amazing views! 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 Just shy of 9 miles in exactly 5 hours and it was stunning! 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. 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. As we found out, the Ice Basin Trail is a big lollipop loop with Island Lake sitting on one side of the loop and Ice Lake sitting on the other. See more ideas about ice lake, san juan mountains, southwest colorado. for serious hikers I recommend early morning (like 6 or 7am) to avoid the crowds who lack hike etiquette. The trail is a dusty uphill climb for most of the way. Following the Ice Fire in fall of 2020, the Ice Lakes Basin Trail was closed. Ice Lake is a must! Ice Lake Trail . This juncture is intermittently marked with a cairn and is easy to miss. 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. We did not go to Fuller - next time! upper lake is still beautiful, even as it's surroundings are brown and barren. The trail concludes at Ice Lake, which is the bluest lake you will ever see. Total Length 3¾mi; Elevation Range The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, snowshoeing, and backpacking and is best used from April until September. 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. 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. The jagged 13,000+ peaks surrounding Upper Ice Lake Basin include (from north to south). From there it is a steady uphill climb to the Lower Ice Lake Basin and then to the Upper Ice Lake Basin. your voice travels on peaks. The trail is one of the most popular hikes in southwester Colorado. Bring plenty of food and water! Rewarding hike, moving counterclockwise on the loop to hit Island Lake prior to Ice Lake. Ice Lakes trail has two common destinations, lower and upper. We parked in a large grassy lot near the… Five years ago, Botsford said, a busy day on the Ice Lakes trail might see 250 hikers. It is located at the very beginning of Lower Ice Lake Basin. Gorgeous mountains, valley views, and of course the lakes. Picture of Ice Lakes Basin Trailhead parking lot taken July 20th at 7 AM. Ice Lake (microprocessor) Trail Attributes. A side trip to Island Lake to the northeast adds about 1.12 miles round trip and 130′ elevation gain. Trail on Ice Lake, Clear Creek, and South Fork Mineral Creek in San Juan National Forest. The upper basin is surrounded by awesome peaks. (Including a really annoying drone buzzing around ice lake). Amazing blue/green lakes, late season wildflowers, moderately strenuous hike to creekfalls and waterfalls too. Unfortunately this trail is grossly over used and abused. Be careful not to slip when coming down. Use the wag bags available at the trail head or buy some prior to visiting and pack your toilet paper and waste out. Ice Lake Basin Featured Route 7.3mi San Juan NF. So sad. It was beautiful. 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. And I feel like a complete champion for having completed it solo! Get Here. Awesome views and trail. … Dogs are also able to use this trail. my only complaint about this trail was the amount of off leash dogs that rushed up to mine and completely ignored their owners - i recognize that some parts of the trail are difficult to do with a dog that tugs on the lead, but please at least train a recall if you need to let them off, because not all dogs are friendly - i witnessed a fight break out between an off leash dog and a reactive leashed dog on this trail which was not fun to watch lol. The upper basin is surrounded by awesome peaks. Want to learn more about our current projects, ways to stay involved and news from the San Juan Mountains Association? After gaining 1,600-ft. in 2 miles the trail crests the ridge into the beautiful Lower Ice Lake basin. The Ice Lakes trailhead is located about six miles west of Silverton. Go north of Silverton on Hwy. Trail Description: The hike to Ice Lakes begins from the South Mineral Campground in the San Juan National Forest near Silverton, Colorado. Photo courtesy Colorado Department of Transportation. 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. Upon reaching the lower basin great views open to Fuller, Vermillion Peak, Golden Horn and Pilot Knob rising above the … From Ouray: Follow Highway 550 south from Ouray for about 20 miles to the turn off to South Mineral Campground. First of all, thanks for watching and supporting the channel. The first half is below timberline and passes through aspen and conifer vegetative zones. 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