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

colorado Map
VIEW FULL MAP

Great trail for a half-full day adventure the view at the top is so worth the trek. It may be a tough little hike for small kids, out of shape adults or those tourists coming from sea level so plan accordingly. I will do this one once a year now that I know its there.

This remains one of the most beautiful and rewarding hikes I’ve completed in Colorado. The incline to Ice Lakes is strenuous and steep but with plenty of shade. The wildflowers and lakes at the top are utterly stunning. Island Lake glows turquoise in sun or shade and is unfailingly photogenic. I can’t wait to go back.

hiking
22 days ago

One of my favorite trails that I've hiked. Weather was perfect when we started our hike and turned into sleet and snow when we made it to the lake. Prepare of all conditions in the spring and fall. We saw moose, deer and lots of little critters. There was very few people one the trail when we went and very peaceful.

Be sure to go to the third lake lakes two and three are above tree line. Camp near lake one. Lake one to top of my snedfles is 8.5 mile and can take 8-10 hour if you go over the ridge and down.

hiking
2 months ago

Hiked up to the lower lake this past weekend. Microspikes were helpful. I wore gaiters, but my partner was fine with just waterproof pants. We continued on to the second lake with the goal of making it up the pass and encountered pretty deep snow. The trail was snowed over completely and there was a good amount of post-holing and route-navigation. A snowstorm began mid-way through our hike and continued for hours so I'd expect a lot more of the trail might be covered by now. Didn't see any other parties though.

I think the "Hard" rating is a bit generous unless you don't normally hike at this altitude and grade.

This is a beautiful very busy trail after a long ride on Dallas Creek Road parking can be extremely difficult.

hiking
2 months ago

Hiked today, 10/29/18. Take county road 7 (Dallas creek) literally until it ends. Its a bit further than the directions tell you-- but no worries you get there. I started my hike at 9:45am and reached the second lake in 3 hours. Just about 2 miles in (around the Mt. Sneffels wilderness sign) I stopped and put on my micro spikes and gaiters. Gaiters weren't needed until the VERY end and spikes were hit or miss but it definitely made it much easier to maneuver.

I made it easily to the lower lake and it was GORGEOUS. I continued on upwards to the second lake and the views of the lower lake were incredible. The snow drift was quite strong and foot prints started to get scarce and it also felt like I was being pelted with small ice from the winds on the back side of the mountain. I looked at the second lake and it was 70% frozen over so I decided to turn back as I was hiking alone. It is definitely worth traveling up there for the views of the lower lake though! If you go that high definitely spikes and gaiters this time of year!

Definitely beautiful. I only saw 2 other hikers all day which was amazing =)

Hiked on 10/27. Doable for sure but lots of snow— wish I would have had spikes but can be carefully done without. If you have gaiters use them. My feet were soaked.

I was plenty warm with a long sleeve and puffy vest.

The directions lead you to trailhead accurately.

I went on past ice lake but could not make it to island lake as the tracks stop right now due to snow.

I’m 34 and in good shape and it took me about 2:45 to get to ice lake. I also drank near 5L of water. Totally epic views if you follow tracks up about another 500-800 feet of vert— about 1/2 mile distance.

hiking
2 months ago

Breath-taking in more ways than one and our favorite hike on our honeymoon. The 'difficult' rating is no joke for low-elevation folk like we are, but it was worth the sweat. Above the treeline it's like Tolkien county, a different world than our Minnesota. We hiked on a Sunday in late September; we started early - around 7:30 - and only ran into a few other hikers. It was much busier on the descent.

hiking
2 months ago

A couple of inches of soft/slushy snow for the first 1/2 mile and then increasing to 4-6" of snow until you hit tree line. Once at tree line I couldn't locate trail at all and quickly got into snow a foot or more deep. Snowshoes or skis recommended above tree line.

Very well traveled with magnificent views

hiking
3 months ago

so rediculous that you must pay to hike. way better nature for free elsewhere.

hiking
3 months ago

Most beautiful hike I've even been on. The reward at the top is unbelieveable. I've never seen anything like it. The wildflowers were blooming like crazy when we went in the end of August. It was very difficult for us being from Nebraska due to the elevation but I would do it again!

Moderately difficult and strenuous trail with beautiful views. Upper Ice Lake was spectacularly blue and purple and well worth the hike. It took us 5.5 hours round trip with frequent photo op stops and about 40 minutes at Upper Ice Lake.

Recommend starting with island lake, then going to ice lake. Adds some mileage to the hike, but from island lake you're going mostly downhill to ice lake then to the trailhead, which was a relief after the tough climb. Couldn't get over the views!

I went last week. Weather was perfect. If you don’t have 4WD, turnoff the highway and go down the hill. Park after the bridge and hike up to the trail (~1 mike).

Trail is steep for the first 2 - 2.5 miles once you get to the trail head. First 2 miles are a series of switch backs and then you climb uphill after that. Once you reach the top of the hill, you descend a bit and it flattens off until you reach the lake where there is a slight uphill.

The lake is gorgeous! It’s much bigger and less populated than Ice Lake.

Careful going down. The trail is steep and covered in loose rock. I had hiking poles and went slow but still managed to totally wipe out a couple of times.

The hike was great but the scenery leading up to the lake was okay (Ice Lake was better). The lake is surrounded by mountains so you also don’t get a view of the mountains like Ice Lake.

10 miles if you park after the bridge and 8 if you start at the trail head.

Beautiful with options to go farther by taking the connected ouray perimeter trail.

hiking
3 months ago

Great hike, not too steep. Pretty short. Amazing fall color views, though the trail doesn't take you through aspen groves. Big lake which unfortunately is down at least 10 feet in these dry conditions, but totally worth hiking this trail. For more info and fall color pics visit https://etbtravelphotography.com/2018/09/30/roadtrip-to-the-rockies-from-telluride-to-durango/

hiking
3 months ago

Lots of variety. Spectacular lake.

hiking
3 months ago

EPIC!!!! There is really nothing I can say, nor are there pictures I can show that will accurately describe this hike. You just have to go and see it for yourself. Such an amazing lake, even more beautiful than Ice Lakes. There are plenty of peaks all around Columbine Lake to summit and you will see other lakes as well as gorgeous mountain ranges that seem to go on forever.

As others have mentioned, be prepared for a grueling first 2 miles. The switchbacks are steep and feel like they keep going, and then when you get out of the trees you will see how steep and high of a mountain you have to climb, basically straight up. After that, it’s nice and easy hills with spectacular views before you hit the last little incline that takes you to the lake. Get through those 2 miles and you will be rewarded with an experience that is unrivaled.

Went on 9/29/18 and the weather was gorgeous. Bring layers. Gets hot on the hike up and can get a little windy at times. Never needed a jacket, just one long sleeve to go over my short sleeve when it was windy up top. Mostly just had hiking pants and a short sleeve tee on.

hiking
3 months ago

This hike was truly incredible. Went on 9/28/18. Amazing views, so much to do, waterfalls to climb while on you’re way up, etc. Weather was perfect!!Getting to see that beautiful blue water was so worth all the effort to get up there. Pictures can’t show how clear and blue it really is. I highly recommend hiking the summit peak directly behind Ice Lakes. You will have a great birds eye view of the lake, you can see the other side of the mountain, and I got LTE up there to make a FaceTime call!

Take plenty of water and snacks. The hardest part is the very end of the hike as it becomes really steep before you hit the ice lake. I will definitely be back!

As beautiful as this lake was, I say Columbine Lake was even more beautiful and there was more to explore and do. We went on back to back days and I highly recommend both!

Great hike. The views are incredible and we saw the lake in clouds, sunshine, and snow—all within about 10 minutes. It’s well worth the effort. We saw it listed as “moderate” but viewed it as tougher than that.

hiking
3 months ago

The best hike I have ever done - and I've been on many hikes throughout the US. The bluest blue I have ever seen in a lake - rivals Crater Lake in Oregon. Definitely worth the lack of oxygen... Took us around five and a half hours round trip with many many stops to catch our breath and take in the scenery. We are in our early 30's, pretty good physical shape, but we're flat landers from below sea level so the elevation change really tired us out... bring plenty of water (we ran out of 2L before the end of the hike) and snacks.. best to come early so that you can take your time and stop as often as needed. Listen to your body especially if you are from below sea level. Saw many dogs and a few kids doing the trail as well. The first lake is within 2.25 miles of the start and the 2nd lake (Ice lake) is another mile after that at around 3.5. My app calculated 7.20 miles round trip. There is another lake after Ice lake but we didn't have time nor energy to get there.

hiking
3 months ago

My fiancée and I took on this trail. I did it a couple years ago in September and loved it so I wanted to share it with her. She had never really hiked before, so with a lot of perseverance we made it to the lower lake. She said the trail was challenging but satisfying, the lake was worth the hike and the people were exceedingly friendly. She was glad we got her some high quality hiking boots and socks. Being from Missouri, we sucked a lot of air, but we used a neat little portable oxygen tank we found at the store and made it without too much trouble. I would highly recommend these to those without experience hiking at altitude. It made a big difference. The aspens were beautiful. The vistas were outstanding. We saw marmots, a couple cow elk, a grouse, a trout in the lake and countless songbirds.

Beautiful hike with color around every turn. The only reason to go past the first lake is to see it from above, absolutely awesome, the other two lakes are major waste of your time and energy

hiking
3 months ago

Amazing! Recommend to anyone. Be prepared and start early, met many hikers that did not bring enough water and food.

backpacking
3 months ago

One of the most beautiful hikes that I’ve ever gone! Prime color season so it was amazing.

Disappointing trail, gorgeous lake destination. Did this hike September 26. 90 per cent of this trail is through dense forest with no vistas - you could be in an evergreen forest anywhere in Colorado. Extremely overused trail, not well maintained and poorly designed, employing steep straight up gradients where switchbacks should have been built. No fall color here and in late September obviously no wildflowers. Blue Lakes are in a beautiful setting, especially Lower - with cinnamon orange slopes framing the lake to the east, sharp snowy peak and talus slope to the south. Try Ice Lake Basin nearby for a far superior trail, though harder.

Went in late September. The weather was perfect and the fall colors were at peak season. The hike is not long, but the first half is straight uphill, so be prepared for a workout. The lake is amazing and well worth the work it takes to get there.

Load More