The upper half of the trail switchbacks up a cliff and then levels out when it reaches the basin. Switchbacks, wildflowers, meadows, and more, read more about this absolutely essential trail and all it has to offer. Ice Lake Trail is a portal to an enchanting alpine basin in Colorado’s southwestern San Juan Mountains, about six hours from Colorado Springs. 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. I would be backpacking up there shortly. Ice Lake Basin offered a number of 13ers to climb and Blue Lakes Basin would give us a shot at Mount Sneffels. After hiking Mt. 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. Swimming in the lakes, bird watching, photographing the spectacular views are just some of the activities to enjoy. Matching unparalleled scenery with relative easy access make this 3-day backpacking excursion a perfect trip for families, or those new to wilderness travel. Distance: 8.5 miles. 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. Maude. Falling by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr While continuing the drive down, I spotted this interesting scene on the mountain across the valley. Hikers in avalanche slide area, Ice Lakes Basin Trail, Colorado Follow switchbacks up the avalanche area, keeping to the main trail. 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. It is a not too strenuous hike through high alpine meadows, pine forests and with waterfalls at every turn. The first part is the easy section that takes you about 1 mile through the forest on relatively non-steep switchbacks. Lower Ice Lake is slightly below timberline, at the base of a towering ridgeline. Before reaching the trailhead below, I stopped to photograph another waterfall on Clear Creek. Falling by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr. 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. Other Alpine Lakes Near Ice Lake Basin. The hike at times was a little daunting, but the reward of seeing Ice Lake made it worth it. Ice Lake Basin by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr Before reaching the trailhead below, I stopped to photograph another waterfall on Clear Creek. The water is such a deep blue and when the wind blows the water changes to show more shades of blue. Nearest … Island Lake is phenomenal. The waterfall is typically flowing fairly strong, but the crossing is safe on a log bridge. 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. Cascading waterfalls, brilliant wildflower displays and turquoise lakes permeate the landscape of Ice Lakes Basin. South Colony Lakes and Crestone Group. A great choice is crossing the outflow stream from Ice Lake - there are several places to cross and an obvious trail heading back out of the basin to the left of where you entered - follow this path up another 250' and .5 mile to a smaller basin and the beautiful Island Lake at 12,400'. Upon reaching the lower basin great views open to Fuller, Vermillion Peak, Golden Horn and … 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. Stay on the main trail. 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. I had read a bunch of articles about hiking and backpacking Ice Lakes Basin outside of Silverton, Colorado. It is breathtaking. After 2.3 miles, the trail enters Lower Ice Lake Basin and continues west. 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 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. I did this hike on July 25, 2017 as a backup plan due to inclement weather. Cross a creek, then follow the rocky trail up and out of the lower basin to the grassy banks of Ice Lake. The hike begins from the first switchback and almost immediately brings you to a waterfall crossing. The faint trail etched into the mountainside to the right leads to Island Lake. The Ice Lakes Basin trail is currently listed as temporarily closed. 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. It is Earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.” Days Required: 1 – 2 days. See below for more on nearby lakes. It's very challenging but the views are 100% worth the hiking. 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. I would be backpacking up there shortly. Photo: Ice Lake, San Juan Mountains, Colorado. Ice Lake Basin is a very popular hike in the San Juan Mountains, and for good reason. Ice Lake Basin by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr. Most people go to Ice Lakes…I don’t know why. Opportunities for exploration include side trips to Island and Fuller lakes. Located near the towns of Ouray and Silverton in Colorado, hiking to Island Lake and Ice Lake Basin is a must do for anyone looking for spectacular colored lakes, gorgeous peaks, and thousands of wildflowers. 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 second part of the trail is when the going gets tough. This is about 1 mile of steep switchbacks on red dirt. Dramatic peaks punctuate the ridge forming the backdrop for upper Ice Lake, nestled in an alpine wonderland. Typically the basin is covered by wildflowers in late July and August. The trail leading to Ice Lake Basin, Colorado can be split into four parts. 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. Mountain biking can be enjoyed in the area, but the trails are rated for the expert rider. The first part is hiking amongst the trees to the lower basin, which is where you’ll find the split that takes you to Island Lake or Ice Lakes Basin proper. There are a few smaller social trails that will lead you in the wrong direction. Ice Lake Trail. While continuing the drive down, I spotted this interesting scene on the mountain across the valley. From late July through August, the wildflowers are spectacular, with sub-alpine species in … It is an absolutely amazing sight! Seriously, if you love waterfalls this is the hike for you. To get to the trailhead, drive up Clear Lake Road and park at the first switchback. The most visible trail heading left from Ice Lake leads to Fuller Lake and Fuller Peak. You’ll spend a day or two hiking through ponderosa pines until you reach an alpine basin dreamscape made of pumice. 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. 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. June 2012. The distance to Fuller Lake from Ice Lake is … From there it is a steady uphill climb to the Lower Ice Lake Basin and then to the Upper Ice Lake Basin. Ice Lake is located in the San Juan National Forest near Silverton, Colorado. Ice Lakes Basin is located near Silverton, CO, a mecca of hiking, backpacking, and camping! Five years ago, Botsford said, a busy day on the Ice … Cascading waterfalls, brilliant wildflower displays and turquoise lakes permeate the landscape of Ice Lakes Basin. Without a doubt the most beautiful and rewarding hike we've had the pleasure of trekking! Ice Lakes Highlights: Activities to enjoy in the area include hiking, trail running, backpacking, mountaineering, photography, fishing, and wildlife, wildflower and scenery viewing. For a reference, this photo shows the pristine condition of the Ice Lakes Basin before COVID-19 … You’ll pass through aspen, conifers, and into two distinct basins above the … From here, I went to Island Lake first. While there is little reprieve from the steady uphill nature of this hike, both the journey and destination make every step worthwhile. Backpacking Ice Lakes Basin Outside Silverton Silverton, Colorado. Sunset on the San Juans from the Ouray Brewery. Grab a bite to eat here on a massive trailside boulder with views of the surrounding peaks. This wonderful hike visits two gorgeous lake basins, traverses wildflower-filled meadows and passes numerous waterfalls along the way. 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