Hike to Upper Ice Lake

7.5 miles 2430 ft gain  - Out-and-Back Trail

Added by Eric Schuette

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.

Read More

Tags

Fitness
Photography
Running
Hiking
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Lake
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Summertime Snowball Fights!

Quite steep and hard to get a good breath of air at the top.Took it slow and enjoyed the flowers and waterfalls.Ice lake so cold but my dog went swimming and the colorado views were stunning!

Beautiful hike!

This was a somewhat difficult trail but it has beautiful views the entire way. We immediately started laughing when we saw both lakes because they looked fake due to the water color. Unbelievable scenery. Highly recommend!

Most Beautiful Hike Ever!

I have packed and hiked thousands of miles in the Rockies and sierra mountains. With that being said, this hike was probably the most beautiful all around Hike I have ever trekked! From the start it is somewhat challenging incline. The July show of wildflowers, waterfalls, rock formations and ultimately the high mountain aqua blue lake was an amazing climax. Take a suit with you and dive into a take your breath away crystal clear lake. Ice is right! I will definitely repeat this one. Not for the weak at heart. Take your time and enjoy the climb!

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.

Stay Nearby

San Miguel County, Colorado

Matterhorn

Overview Matterhorn Campground is located along the San Juan Skyway (Colorado Highway 145), near the quaint town of Telluride, at an elevation of 8,500 feet. Visitors enjoy the area for its beautif...

Rico, Colorado

Cayton Campground

Overview Cayton Campground is located along the San Juan Skyway (Colorado Highway 145) and the Dolores River. Visitors enjoy the area for its great fishing, hiking and scenic driving opportunities....

Durango, Colorado

Haviland Lake Campground

Overview Haviland Lake Campground is situated on its beautiful namesake within the San Juan National Forest, 18 miles north of Durango. Visitors enjoy the area for its canoeing, fishing and hiking ...

Ridgway, Colorado

Ouray KOA

Nearby Adventures

  • Backpack to Island Lake

    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. We camped on a little shelf above Is...

    8 miles 3000 ft gain

  • Climb Fuller Peak

    Begin by hiking the Ice Lakes Trail for 3.5 miles, which will take you to Ice Lake. From here, you can identify the obvious, delta-shaped mountain to climber's left, known as Fuller Peak (13,761ft). Hike cross country, directly toward the base of ...

  • Backpack the Ice Lakes Trail

    Just north of Silverton, CO, lies the South Mineral Valley which is reachable down a well maintained, and paved dirt road and ends in the South Mineral Campground.The hike starts out with a sweat generating 1500+ feet of gain over its first two mi...

    8.4 miles 3200 ft gain

  • Camp at South Mineral Campground

    Some general notes: South Mineral Campground does not take reservations - all sites are first come first served. There are an assortment of designated areas along South Mineral Road where dispersed camping is allowed so there is plenty of campin...

  • Summer, a season not to be missed in Aspen!

    "I came for the winter, and stayed for the summer," is a phrase you'll often hear around town. The weather is one of the highlights. During the day the temperature hovers in the 70's and 80's, and by evening the mercury will drop into the 60's. Aspen is a place to explore and a place to recharge. Breathe in the crisp mountain air while you discover our wide-open spaces by footbike, or horse. Restore your mind, body and spirit as you reconnect with nature and loved ones in Aspen’s great outdoors. Join us for a summer adventure that’s anything but ordinary.

    Learn More