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Flew in from Vegas just to complete this Mountian. Me and my fiance have done many high elevation hikes, Boundary Peak (Nevada high point), Mt. Whitney, Charleston Peak, and many many more. I have never got elevation sickness. On Saturday we attempted this summit from black cloud trail and 3 miles in, I was throwing up, light headed, etc. Had to come back down to camp to sleep and hydrate. I was very upset as we had to head back to Vegas the following day. I said: I am not going home without doing Summiting this. The following morning we had woke at 330 am and hit the trail at 425-430 am. We made it to the summit at 7:45 am, took quick picks of the hazy horizon (smoke) and departed after 10 min on the summit (had a flight to catch). We were the second group to the summit that day. We made it back to the trail head at 10:12 am. Ran the last 500 yards to get to the trailhead before 10:15 for a great accomplishment. We brought a bottle of the oxygen that they sell everywhere you go, and it WORKS. You get your breath back immediately. Get an early start, wear warm clothing. The hike is really easy the first 1.5 miles. At the top of the tree line we had an average pack of 2.6 MPH, which slowed down after the tree line. That's when the climbing starts. We had a blast! The hike is a challenge, when you're in a hurry. The 3 false summits suck. Bring trekking poles and start early. When we were heading back down and made it back to the tree line, there was soooooo much traffic. Too many people underestimate this hike and start around 8 am. Get to the trailhead at 4 am and give yourself time. Happytrails.

This was an amazing hike and the view was incredible! It helped to have the weather cooperate for 100 percent of the day.
I was hiking with a group of 12, ages from 14 to 58, and physical fitness levels ranging from sedentary to extremely fit. The fit people didn’t have a problem completing the hike, 2 sedentary people made it past tree level but ended up turning around, and a few people (me included) who hadn’t been very active in the months previous but had some physical fitness before, made it up but it took a long time and it was hard to say the least. It was definitely worth the effort! The elation of everyone at the top was thrilling to be a part of and it maxed out all my happy endorphins.
I was pretty sore for many days after the hike but so glad I was able to complete it.

Absolutely Incredible hike! Easily my favorite hike I’ve done in the 7 years I’ve lived in Colorado! Very challenging but worth every moment of struggle. The entire trail is filled with breathtaking views, each one better than the last!

Start early!! Limited parking if you don’t camp at the trailhead and a big majority of the hike is in the sun so it gets very hot very quickly. We started at 7:20am and were back at the car at 12:30pm (If doing it again I would start even earlier.) The 5 hours included water, snack, picture breaks and about a 25-30 min stop at Ice Lake soaking it all in. We went up to Ice Lake first and then over to Island Lake making the way back down a little more pleasant avoiding incredibly steep loose rock.

We saw a lot of overnight tents through the hike and a couple handfuls at Ice Lake itself. When we got up there just before 10am it was pretty busy and only getting busier by the minute. The hike to Island Lake is about 10 extra minutes and although not as blue still very pretty.

On our way back down we ran into packs and packs of people on their way up which got pretty obnoxious as part of the trail is single track and hard to step off and no one actually has their dogs on leash. So, again, start early and avoid the crowds.

Wonderful hike! We started in the dark at 5:03am, and summited right at 9 am. We were down and in our car just before noon. So, approximately 7 hrs round trip at a slow and steady pace.

Oh, also...
Those false summits are soul crushing by the second one. I knew going into the hike that there were 3-4. I was still disheartened, but ultimately pushed through that mental barrier.

Completed this hike on Sunday the 12th. It was one of the most strenuous hikes I have done but it paid off at the top. Got to the trail head at about 5:15am and the outer ring of the lot was already full. Found a spot off the "road" and was on the trail around 5:30am. The first 1.5-2 miles is a steady incline which isnt too bad. At the 2-2.5 mile mark, the incline sets in. The worst of all is at about 3.5-4.5 miles in which is the steepest part. About 1k feet per mile in gain. I reached the summit around 8:30am after 3 or 4 false summits(great resting points). Incredible views of Twin Lakes, Mt Massive, and the entire Collegiate Peaks range. There were times it was a bit windy but once the sun came up, the win was very refreshing and welcomed.

Start as early as you are comfortable. The lot will get full quick on the weekends so be mindful of parking. Speaking of, I saw a few cars boxed in that could not leave. Not sure if they were part of a group but I had just enough room to get my vehicle out of the area it was in due to double and triple parking. Please do not do this as the last thing you want to do when youre done with this is wait for someone else to complete it and get back to their car.

Camped for free along the road leading up to the trailhead. Got my car to the parking lot at 5:30am and set off at 6. I wore leggings, a long sleeve, trail runners, and a dollar jacket I got from a goodwill. Took a 2L camelback and that was plenty. There are some parts above the tree line that are steep with lots of loose rocks, I took quite a few short breaks. So worth the effort once at the top!! Made it down by 11:00am. I do wish I would have brought gloves with me. Also, don’t carry a bunch of stuff you don’t need. The hike was easier because I carried light.

Amazing and rewarding hike completed 08/12 with the wife. Steep most of the way especially after treeline, about 3 false summits but easy stretch to summit. Great weather.

hiking
3 days ago

We were told by the bus driver that Crater Lake was a lot more dried up this year, and that was completely obvious once we saw the lake. I’m sure it would have been a lot more attractive if the water were higher. But pretty views throughout the hike! Saw a ton of families, so should be doable for most kiddos. And if you have a dog, they’ll probably enjoy cooling off in the lake at the top.

I’m physically active so I thought the trail itself was mostly easy, but we flew in from GA ~18 hours before the hike and I definitely felt some negative affects of the altitude adjustment. If you’re not used to high altitudes, bring plenty of water and remember to take deep breaths.

Easily the best hike in all of Colorado - The lakes, the mountain views, the wildflowers. It's just tough enough to be challenging and is beautiful throughout the entire hike. I suggest camping near the trailhead, makes for an easy start and no parking issues (but seriously, if you get to a popular trailhead after 9am and are pissed it's full... you're an idiot). We started around 5am; about an hour in we heard a huge group of coyotes howling off in the distance, presumably about a recent kill, and it was very cool. We didn't see anyone until we were past halfway and started seeing backpackers coming down. When we got to Ice Lake, we were the only ones (on a holiday weekday!) and it was extremely special. Island Lake is definitely worth the additional short trek, but it's not as electric and jaw-dropping as Ice Lake.

Awesome hike today. I am kind of a rookie in hiking 14er (my 4th). My friend and I started 7:00 and we had a parking spot in the parking area. Hiking through the tree line was fairly moderate. Took a 20 mins at tree line. From tree line to nearly 14000 ft is steep and gravelly. There are couple false summits, however the summit stretch is very easy and rewarding. We summited a little before 11:00am. Enjoyed our top view for 45min. Going down was not easy, but took us shy 2 hour to get back to the trailhead (back in the car a little before 2:00 pm). Total hike 6 hours.
My recommendation:
1. One step at time (from a rookie prospective) and avoid sitting down, but try to slow pace yourself.
2. I recommend ibuprofen before/during hike. I am NOT a doctor nor a nurse but it helps me with altitude sickness. Please consult your doctor.
3. Good hiking shoes will be beneficial going down. It can get windy, so a windbreaker jacket will be great to carry.

Great hike yesterday. 4AM start. Two goats at the top. No clouds or wind. I think they should resurrect that pile of rocks on the top to make it higher than Elbert again!

Absolutely beautiful! A tremendous amount of work to get to Ice Lake (upper) but 100% worth it!

Maybe my new favorite 14er. Really gorgeous, especially for a 14er. Not as much traffic as a lot of popular peaks either. Highly recommend early start, if for no other reason so you can see the sun rise above the Mosquito Range to the East. Also recommend a camp at Elbert Creek Campground the night before. Top notch campsites and just around the corner. And folks, please: STOP starting 14er climbs too late in the morning. Lightning is a real threat with late starts so get on the trail early.

Nice work out with obviously great views from the top. Very popular trail, even on weekdays. Tons of great dispersed camping options on the way to the trailhead!

Strenuous hike- especially for those who aren’t used to the altitude, but highly worth it. Amazing views as soon as you leave the tree line. beautiful wildlife and vegetation throughout entire hike. Get an early start and remember that it is just as much mental as it is physical!

I hiked this trail with two friends and our dogs a couple weeks ago. We camped in the surrounding area so we could start early and I'm glad we did. We took many breaks on the way up as the elevation gain and climb in general was pretty tough. This hike was by far the hardest I've ever done but so worth it. I highly recommend poles for the journey down.

We hiked this se trail on our descent after hiking up the steeper sw trail.
This trail was a dream.

Yesterday was a perfect day with no wind at summit. Started in dark at 5:30 and summited at 9:30. Almost entirely uphill and very steep at times. First false summit is hard, but after second you see the summit. Poles highly recommended, and road is quite rugged in spots.

The hike is great, lake is underwhelming. Views along the hike are awesome.

For those of us not used to the altitude (we are from GA) this was a pretty difficult hike on the way to Crater Lake. Mostly uphill and very rocky. Took about an hour hike to get to Crater Lake but the view was gorgeous! Plan on packing a lunch or snacks and taking in the view—and a short rest! Definitely want to get there early as it gets very crowded on the narrow, rocky trail as the day progresses. We got to Highlands at about 8:15 to take the bus up to Maroon Bells. Go early—very popular destination! Bring lots of water too.

backpacking
7 days ago

I backpacked from the trailhead to Ice Lake (upper Ice Lake in this app’s description) and set up camp then visited Island Lake with just a day bag, returning to Ice Lake for the night. I then hiked back out via the same route to the trailhead the next morning. Most people on the trail were day hikers but on a Tuesday night in August, four other groups of backpackers stayed the night at Ice Lake. This hike has some of the most beautiful vistas I have seen in Colorado!

The trail starts with a moderately difficult section of well marked trail into the woods. It opens to a beautiful waterfall with a view back into the valley. The next small stretch of wooded area guides you past abandoned mining equipment and to a section of steep, sunny (hot!) meadow. Again, there a great mountain views.

The next big chunk is steep and wooded. This is where I really began to feel the work I was putting in. The switchbacks help but many sections are pretty strenuous, especially with my 30lb overnight pack. By the time we leveled off to the generally flat section I was more than ready for a break.

The view of lower ice lake basin is about 2/3 of the way through the hike both in elevation and distance. We stopped in the trees and took off our packs, sat about twenty minutes to rest and eat. This was necessary for our group with packs but many day hikers just kept moving through.

After Lower Basin Lake (or Lower Ice Lake Basin) there’s a stretch of flat area that is more exposed (total of about a mile of relatively flat hiking) and then you get another creek/waterfall view where the trail crosses the water and gains about 700ft in steep, rocky switchbacks. This stretch was difficult (we hit it in the afternoon heat do to delays getting on the trail in the morning) plus it’s steep and more loose compared to the beautifully padded trail for the first approx three miles. It is also the most incredible views of Lower Ice Lake and the meadow, valley, and mountains surrounding. I loved this stretch of the trail.

Then finally! The top! Ice Lake was both our end point for setting up camp as well as most day hikers’ final destination. The lake is STUNNING. The rock deposits give it the most incredible blue color. It is well worth the climb! There is running water if you bring a filter to purify more drinking water. There is a faint trail around the lake. There are multiple places to sit or set up camp without smashing the wildflowers. You’re above the tree line at this point so you’ve got open views in all directions.

It’s a quick little hike up to Island lake although one short stretch is loose and near the edge making it a little intense if you’re scared of heights! Island lake is worth seeing but mostly it’s the view along the hike that makes the journey up worth it, even after a long hike to Ice Lake.

We did not journey to Fuller Lake and no one we talked to along the way mentioned plans to head that direction.

We each drank about 3L of water on the way up and at least one more liter on the way back down. If you’re doing a day hike you may not go through as much water but I’d say most people should carry 3L or bring a purifier to get more water along the way.

This is a beautiful hike and although it is challenging it is more than worth it. The sites are incredible. If you’re in the area and feel up for a good workout, this hike is unmissable. Enjoy!!

A hike to Ice Lake is a great way to spend a day while in the Silverton area. While it attracts many hikers, there is a reason! Go!

Started later than I planned (7:30am) and the parking lot was full as already stated. One thing I’d disagree with would be the post-treeline portion was definitely not easier than the forested parts. Started off at 44° with long johns and a Patagonia, after the tree line switched to a dry fit and just pants, coming down at 11:30am switched to shorts and a t shirt. No wind weirdly or rain but lots of pre-noon smoke haze from California. A grueling hike but definitely worth it. Poles all the way if you have them!

Loved it. First fourteener and I liked the long approach, seemed a steady incline. With beautiful alpine meadow views. Brought the dogs and they did great, water on the ct section. Only at the scramble portion at the very top did I feel the need to keep them out of people’s way for safety.

hiking
8 days ago

The road to the trailhead is very rough, you definitely need high clearance and 4WD to get all the way. There were no cars parked at the trail head. Cars could probably make it a bit past the Mt Massive trailhead, to within about 1 mile of the trailhead, where there are some campsites to park at. But depending on your vehicle, it may be safest to not try.

The hike itself offered beautiful views of many surrounding mountains and was generally easy to follow. It is very steep at times, and you definitely want to be fully acclimated before attempting. Before you reach the first lake, the trail forks, and could be easy to miss. To the right is a path up to a waterfall, and to the left is the lake(s). The AllTrails map doesn't include hiking up to the second lake, though there's definitely a faint trail going there and it's not a bad quick addition if you still have the energy at the top. We only saw one other set of hikers the whole time we were on the trail.

on Crater Lake Trail

hiking
9 days ago

I found the low level of the lake and the dirty water to be a little underwhelming. The view of the surrounding mountains is very nice, as is the aspen forest on the way in.

A beautiful hike with stellar views. The color of the lake is like nothing I’ve ever seen and I’ve been all over the west and Hawaii.. You should be warned that the elevation gain is real, this is not an easy hike. The grade is steep almost the whole way up and doesn’t ever level out. There is an exposed rocky scramble for the last leg leading up to ice lake that took us a long time with lots of breaks. Expect a difficult but rewarding hike!

Amazing hike. Worth the early start. Bring good socks and lots of water. Lake can be windy so something to break the wind at the top is recommended. Don’t let the parking deter you. Hiked last Saturday and arrived at 7:45am. Things were getting packed but there were still spots.

This was the best hike I’ve done to date, and I’ve hiked all over Colorado for over 20 years. We stayed in Ouray and got up early to make the drive and get a get a spot. My 12 and 14 year old girls killed this hike. It’s hard but not too hard. The hardest part is not stopping every 5 feet to take another picture! Anyone who gives this less than 5 stars because they didn’t plan ahead is only thinking of themselves. Treat yourself to the hot springs in Ouray afterwards, you’re gonna need it!

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