Ice Lake Professional Reviews and Guides
"A rare loop route—a day hike or an overnighter—to a large mountain lake and waterfall. The trail to Ice Lake gets fairly heavy traffi c, but most hikers go out and back to the lake. Few hikers turn this into one of the few easy loop trips in the park, as described here. In addition to making a nice day hike, Ice Lake provides a pleasant destination for an easy overnighter. Ice Lake is fairly large and deep, and the lodgepole forest grows tight against the lakeshore. The fires of 1988 burned much of the landscape around the lake."
--Bill Schneider, Hiking Yellowstone National Park (Falcon Guides).
"The Ice Lake Loop is an easy, incredibly diverse and lightly used hiking trail. The trail leads to a large and deep lake, a stunning 25-foot waterfall, a canyon with a cascading river, several river crossings and a pastoral meadow along the meandering Gibbon River. Part of the trail leads through a burn area from the 1988 fires. This area is blanketed with a new forest of small pine trees."
--Robert Stone, Day Hikes in Yellowstone National Park (Day Hike Books).
We hiked the Little Gibbon Falls section of the hike from the unmarked trailhead to the falls. The trail gets a little marshy through the Virginia Meadows, but wear good boots and don't turn back. We saw fresh bear and buffalo scat on the trail, but no wildlife. There are two very short hills to climb. After viewing the falls from the top of the hill, continue down to the brink, where there is a large rock a few feet into the river which is great for photographs. Because the trailhead is unmarked, the trail was empty even during a busy July day. This is an easy hike which is well worth an hour of your trip.
A great hike to get the feel of the 1988 fires. The trail is flat and easy to follow (make sure you have a map though...there's a couple spots that can goof you up without a map!) You cross the Gibbon via logs in two places including the VERY nice Little Gibbon Falls. Rainbows abound above the falls. Brook Trout and Rainbows below.
This is a great family hike. Be a little "bear-a-phobic" and make some noise. I have found lots of scat in the area. (but don't be overly concerned).
The falls alone are worth the hike. You can do the trail "backwards" starting at the parking lot east (downhill so to speak)of Ice Lake. It's the lot overlooking the Gibbon. It's a very short (1 mi or so) hike to the falls.
This hike gets a 4 because of the burn area....but maybe that's why you want to do it.
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