Hike to Upper Ice Lake

Colorado Ice Lakes Basin Trailhead

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Hike to one of the most beautiful lakes in all of Colorado -- and pass several waterfalls en route. For the adventurous, being able to swim in a stunning blue alpine lake makes for a great afternoon. During the summer the wildflower show is amazing!!

From the Ice Lakes trailhead begin hiking through a meadow that quickly enters the forest and begins to climb. The trail will climb ~1,600 feet in the next two miles. As the trail climbs there is a scenic waterfall just over .5 miles, it is worth it to scamper up for a closer look (at ~1.0 miles there you can get a nice vantage point from the top of the same falls). After the waterfall, the trail continues its steady-steep climb as it alternates between wildflower-filled meadows and forest.

After~2.3 miles the trail will begin to flatten as you enter lower ice lake basin. The basin has a wonderful wildflower display, a beautiful lake, and is a popular hiking and camping destination. However, you still have about a mile and just under 1,000 feet of elevation to go to reach the upper lake. As you walk through the basin you will see the final climb to the upper lake in front of you. A creek crossing and some steep switchbacks are now all that is left to upper basin.

As the trail begins to level out you will be entering an alpine wonderland!! The colors and shapes of the mountains, the color of the upper lake, and the wildflowers are all amazing on their own right. However, together they create one of the most beautiful and amazing destinations in all of Colorado. Be careful around the upper lake, as it is a fragile environment that needs to be treated with care.

Pack List

  • Water
  • Map/compass
  • Snacks
  • Appropriate clothing/footwear
  • Sunscreen
  • Camera
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Activities:

Photography, Running, Hiking, Fitness

Skill Level:

Beginner

Season:

Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:

Out-and-Back

Distance:

7.5 Miles

Elev. Gain:

2430 Feet

Rating:

Features:

Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Lake
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers

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4 months ago

Beautiful CO

This is by far one of my favorite hikes in the southwest. Ice Lake and Island Lake range from a deep blue to a crystal turquoise. Have gone up here a few times and plan to return!

4 months ago

12 months ago

Beautiful In July

Wife, dog, and I hiked this stunning trail in mid-July. Seemed like the perfect time: no snow to cross, lots of water for the dog, wild flowers galore. We went on a Friday evening so trail traffic was non-existent. Based on the parking lot the next day - Sat/Sun is a different story. Make sure you push up the extra 1/2 mile to Island lake.

12 months ago

Added by Eric Schuette

I love adventure and exploring. Currently a school psychologist who tries to spend my free-time hiking, climbing, fishing, and celebrating with a good beer in Colorado. On Instagram @ericschuettephotography Cheers!!!

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