Ice Lakes Trail

San Juan National Forest, Colorado

Distance4.0mi
Elevation Gain3,689ft
Trailhead Elevation9,841ft
Top12,597ft
Elevation Min/Max9841/12597ft
Elevation Start/End9841/9841ft

Ice Lakes Trail

Ice Lakes Trail is a hiking trail in San Juan County, Colorado. It is within San Juan National Forest. It is 4.1 miles long and begins at 9,841 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 8.3 miles with a total elevation gain of 3,689 feet. Near the trailhead there is parking. Along the trail there are waterfalls.

Ice Lakes Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"Overshadowed by some rather impressive peaks and replete with wildflowers in the summertime, Ice Lake Basin is a popular destination for hikers visiting the Silverton region of the San Juan Mountains.

There are actually two Ice Lake Basins, Lower and Upper. This description passes through the lower basin before climbing to the upper one."

"As the name suggests, Ice Lake Basin lies high above timberline in a corner of the San Juan Mountains known for its long winters and short summers. Ice Lake and its neighboring lakes are frozen for at least eight months of the year, and the valley they occupy is bordered by several snowfields that never completely melt.

There are four named lakes within the basin and five or six unnamed ones, all remnants of the glaciers that long ago created the bowl-shaped valley. The basin is a textbook example of an alpine depression that was gouged out of the mountains by a long succession of glaciers that have periodically resided here over the past 900,000 years."

"Upper Ice Lake and Fuller Lake are situated in a magnificent alpine basin deep in the San Juan Mountains. A steep climb to the turquoise waters of upper Ice Lake takes you past remarkable fields of wildflowers."

"Azure, alpine pools and lavender-hued peaks offer an otherworldly vision at Ice Lake Basin, attracting hikers, photographers, and mountain climbers from around the state. Nine waterfalls are sprinkled along the route, for a hike with something for everyone."

"The Ice Lake Trail is a deceptively challenging walk to a decidedly mag- nificent destination. Engineered with shallow switchbacks to minimize steepness, the trail leads to two Ice Lake basins, lower and upper. Both are rewarding destinations for eager day hikers or overnight campers. This is a popular trail throughout the summer."

Ice Lakes Trail Reviews

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Great hike. Please be aware the parking is limited. Arrive early to get a parking spot. If you arrive and there are not parking spots, please do not park in meadows or along the road. Wait for a parking spot to open or choose to hike another trail in the Silverton Area. Parking tickets are expensive
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7/6/2018
I am an 81 year young hiker. The hike was difficult but splendid. The last part of the trail below IceLake was a challenge due to the altitude What a beautiful place
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6/4/2018
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8/14/2008
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8/11/2008
This is indeed a quintessential Colorado trail that no one should miss. When people think of Colorado they don't think of the red canyons of the west or the vast plains of the east, they think of the mountains and all that entails-waterfalls, wildflowers, trout filled lakes, and beautiful mountains. If you're willing to hike a steep trail up, this one has it all!!
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8/2/2006
The trail to Ice Lake Basin is steep, but the scenery is worth the tired legs. Half way to Ice Lake, after a good climb, you enter Lower Ice Lake Basin. We were surrounded by waist high wildflowers and at least 4 waterfalls coming down from the sheer cliff walls surrounding the basin. The trail from lower Ice Lake Basin to Ice Lake Basin climbs it's way up the side of one of these waterfalls. Ice Lake is a beautiful auqa lake situated in a cirque surronded by 13,000 foot peaks and beautiful flowers. The trail continues up to Fuller Lake at the base of Fuller Peak. It's a pretty off shoot that isn't difficult. We could not find the trail from Ice Lake to Island Lake at the base of Grant Peak. We were dissapointed that we missed this off-shoot. It would be worth another trip up the trail to find Island Lake. Do this trail in late July or early August to take advantage of the wildflowers. Definatley a hike worth repeating.
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7/27/2002
We hiked this during an extremely dry summer, and there were still waterfalls aplenty on the way up to the lakes. After you pass the last of the waterfalls, you're confronted by the 6 or seven Ice Lakes backed by sheer cliffs and lots of rugged looking terrain. This is a spectacular hike and offers lots of exploratory potential once the lake basin is reached. If you've got a morning or afternoon available in SW Colorado I would strongly recommend this hike!
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9/1/1998
4-5 waterfalls on lower part, mines on the ridges to the north, moderate views, steep intermediate through forest, beautiful upper basin, scree and scrub into above timberline with superg upper tundra basin and high altitude vista. very superior with excellent backpack potential.
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Ice Lakes Trail Photos

Trail Information

San Juan National Forest
Nearby City
San Juan National Forest
Parks
Dog-friendly, Kid-friendly
Accessibility
Difficult
Skill Level
Waterfalls
Features
San Juan National Forest, 15 Burnett Court, Durango, CO 81301, (970) 247-4874, www.fs.usda.gov/activity/sanjuan/recreation/hiking
Local Contacts
Ophir; #141, Telluride, Silverton, Ouray, Lake City
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Oct 2018