Explore backpacking - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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This was pretty strenuous for me compared to most non-14er Colorado hikes. The final stretch up the Fancy Pass side can take it out of you, but what a reward at the top. Definitely pair it with the Missouri Lakes trail to make the 8 mile loop. You get to walk along side beautiful lakes for 2 miles and it’s not harder at all on that side, just a bit longer.

Loved this hike. We had walked all the way from the bottom of the bridal veil falls which made for a long day but I would still do it again. From the top of the falls you are hiking right along the river that feeds the falls. This river is gorgeous the whole way with plenty of little waterfalls. I went mid July and the wildflowers were breathtaking. Every slope was covered with them and there were plenty of different varieties to look at. Walking up to the lake we didn’t even see it at first because the reflection was so vivid. The lake was pristine and was surrounded by jagged peaks. Also near the top was left over parts from the old mines making for some beautiful pictures.

We hit this trail on a very cloudy and wet day! It was a pretty peaceful hike with very little traffic. I am a 40 year old man who never hikes and we made the lake in just over 90min. No fish is what they say but I didnt break out the rod to test the waters. Here is a quick video. https://www.facebook.com/WPUNDERGROUND/videos/2115173798724641/

hiking
1 day ago

If you do one trail while you're in the San Juans, this should be it. 2WD accessible trailheads are hard to come by here! Wish we had known about the loop, but our guide book was old so it didn't include that option. Island Lake is breathtaking. The altitude and gain make this a difficult hike but there is only one small scramble section up to Island. Trail easy to navigate.

nature trips
2 days ago

A nice hike overall. I would recommend it for a day hike. It was pretty crowded by my standards. Lots of dogs on and off leash at the top. A guy smoking pot at the top too. But I managed to find a nice quiet rock to sit and each lunch and stick my feet in. The top of the hike is where you gain all of your elevation which not the best. At that point the trail is a bit eroded. It could use some basic maintenance, but manageable.

Busy but beatiful! A beautiful trail with lots of wild flowers. Well worth the hike. It is in no way lightly trafficked. During peak season on the weekend the parking lot will be full and over flowing onto the road by 9am.

Amazing hike! We went in mid July and wildflowers were in peak bloom. This hike has it all....wildflowers, Mountain View’s, and amazing alpine lakes. This hike is a must. I would recommend going early or going on a weekday to avoid crowds. Several great spots to camp of you wanted to turn it into an overnight trip. I would say this hike is moderate and not hard. Easy switchbacks the whole way up.

Hiked to the first three lakes. Gorgeous scenery. The weather was a little iffy on the hike because the monsoon season hit, thankful for it as the fire danger was high in the area. People were fishing. Camping along the trail. Every view was amazing.

hiking
4 days ago

This is a very easy, pleasurable hike. The incline is so gentle that you barely notice it. There are many little "Missouri Lakes" that are off trail. I used GPS and began with the first one directly West of the trail. I hit small 4 smaller lakes before finding the large main one and did not see another person. They were very peaceful and worth the effort in my opinion. But it will definitely add on time to your overall trek, so keep that in mind when planning your time to descend for storms. From what I can tell, there are 14 other small Misouri lakes outside of the main upper and lower Missouri Lakes. The trail was all clear with minimal mud in some spots. Lots of water flowing, so a filter works fine for this hike. Waterflowers abundant and marmots at play.

fishing
4 days ago

Beautiful hike, June 20-26th range. Moderate inclines at points but nothing too hard for a novice or moderate hiker. Fish bite almost anything at the lakes.

hiking
4 days ago

This trail really wasn’t worth the drive. The lakes and falls are pretty and the trail is well marked, but the trail was fairly crowded, and there were very few wildflowers (even in mid-July) .

horseback riding
4 days ago

Beautiful lake. Lots of hikers but they were very considerate. Lots of big rocks and up hill a long way. Should have shoes or boots. Water and mud crossings. Not for beginners. Need a conditioned horse. Beautiful scenery.

backpacking
5 days ago

Did the Fancy pass trail and finished the loop with Missouri lakes/pass. It is a fairly difficult hike with a pack but well worth it as the views and flowers are amazing. Also worth bringing a fishing rod as the brook trout up there are very beautiful. only thing is definitely bring bug spray as there are a good amount of mosquitoes around the lakes.

Drove 2 1/2 hours to hike this trail a few days ago at 8 months pregnant. It was challenging but so worth it. We had some rain on the way up, but it passed and the view of Ice Lake and the majestic blue water did not disappoint. My husband and I had lunch at the lake and did not want to leave! If you can make it to the top, the hike back down is significantly faster and easier. It’s a must do!

Beautiful hike, abundant wildflowers with some great incline near the top! Well worth the trek. Low traffic as trail nears top cuz folks bail. Lake is lovely, nestled in amid pines.

I love taking photos of my experiences and this was the hike of all hike to do just that. Note 1: when you get to the first water crossing don’t head up the river and bear crawl your way forward. Cross the river at the bottom. The obvious trail switch backs nicely to the top of the waterfall. From here it’s switch backs all the way to a beautiful meadow that leads to the final push of switchbacks. Once you get to the top and see Ice Lake, don’t stop there. Keep on the trail that continues to wind up. There’s another beautiful lake a bit higher that will offer amazing viewpoints down on Ice. There’s an old structure up there too along with a picnic table to have lunch. And since most hikers just stop at Ice to rest you’ll have this area all to yourself. After lunch and as you make your way back down to enjoy Ice Lake your eyes will be amazed all the way down to it. From here head to Island Lake. The emerald contrast to the blue you just experienced won’t be disappointing. Note 2: Keep heading around the Island Lake and keep an eye out for a faint trail that will loop back down to the trail you hiked up making your journey a loop. It’s a bit steeper going down this way but well worth the views and perspective of what your accent to Ice was like is very cool. See photos @jeanpaul574

Such a beautiful hike!! We went up to Island Lake on the wildlife trail on the right side when you first get to the base- glad we did it that way because of the elevation drop into Ice Lakes. Dog was fine and there were plenty of places for him to get some mountain stream water

This is a beautiful hike. I got elevation sickness so it may not be for everyone. It’s worth it though. Take lots of water or a water filter (lots of water everywhere) and sunscreen and make sure your battery on your camera is well charged because your going to use it!

backpacking
7 days ago

Beautiful. Hike up to ice lake basin is steep but manageable. Camping in the lower basin is gorgeous- bring the bug spray!! Lots of mosquitos! Was there 8-10 July 2018. Lots of day hikers- not the place to go for solitude, but the crowd does thin out quite a bit if you venture on past Ice Lake to Fuller Lake/Island Lake. Coming back to attack the basin 13ers next year- didn’t see or hear of one person attempting while we were there. A CO must hike!

backpacking
8 days ago

The lake is beautiful and a great place to camp!

Went all the way up to Suprise Lake (the second beaver dam at the end) beautiful views of Mt of the Holy Cross and the bridge over the creek and waterfall is stunning. It's pretty rocky and a few points require some minor scrambling but nothing me my friend and my German Sheppard couldn't do. Probably a hard moderate rating to be more accurate.

Unreal hike! The bit of the hike past the meadows is tough, but once you reach the lake you won't regret a thing. I continued upward to Island Lake - definitely worth the additional trek once you're there.

hiking
8 days ago

My wife and I headed to Buena Vista to hike Ptarmigan Lake Trail, only to see construction had closed the road. So we pulled out the AllTrails app, and found this nearby. What a great find! Water running by the trail, or you can hear it if you don't see it. It rained hard for awhile, so we found shelter in the trees. Rained off and on coming back, but a great hike! Walking thru all the trees was amazing! Yes, the smell of a dead animal is still present, but just a short area of the trail.

Great hike! Beautiful lake! Take lots of water and snacks so you can enjoy the day there.

Beautiful walk

Amazing hike. I bit more challenging than anticipated, especially coming from sea level. Started 7:00am at the campground trailhead. Made it to the lake by 11:20am. Back to campground by 3:00pm. Bring lots of water and sunscreen. The Sun is very strong. Also, thunderstorms started moving in around 1:00pm.

Beautiful views. Great hike!

One of the most beautiful hikes I’ve ever done.

hiking
10 days ago

What an amazing hike! Wildflowers at every turn, two lakes, waterfalls, and some amazing views. I would also suggest to hike the small trail up to island Lake after you get to Ice Lake. I am from Texas and this hike kicked my butt, but it was so worth it. There was quite a bit of smoke also due to the fire out side of Durango. I can not recommend this trail enough!

Absolutely phenomenal adventure. I went in June 26-28, and it was chock full of wildflowers, and gorgeous snow patterns. With some small detours, I hiked to the summit of the pass to Treasure Trove lake with no snow crossings. I'm a landscape plein air painter, and made this video of the adventure, don't worry, it's short, and fun.
https://youtu.be/Wf6S0Q_VTUo

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