Explore Durango trails - 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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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.

Fantastic hike. The first half of the trail is easy going and the second half contains most of the vertical. Fantastic scenery all along the way. I stopped to fish at the top for an hour with no luck. The view on the way back down was incredible. Make sure your vehicle has good ground clearance as the road has plenty of holes and ditches along the way

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.

Have you ever heard of the boy who cried wolf getting eaten?
Don't try to take your 2wd low clearance rental car up this one, you may have to back up 50ft straight.
Class 3 scrambling? It actually exists and you can learn what it is on this trail. Some very exposed maneuvers, try to stay on the shale going up and don't trust any rock regardless of size.
Remember the dirt roads you took up to the actual trailhead sign, you'll see many options going downward.

As for my hike, it took me 3.5 hours to summit from where I parked, 6 miles down. Coming down was a lot faster, but I spent a lot of time enjoying the area so no accurate time. Somehow the waterfalls were ignored by everyone but me. They made the area way more than just a crowded 14er for me.
It was an unending stairclimber until it became a climb instead of a hike.
Start early to avoid the crowds renting Jeeps. 8:30am summit, a few other people. 9am, a dozen with more on their way up.

Side rant: A jerk on a dirtbike thought he had the right of way going up on my side of the road because his side had jagged rocks. He saw me from plenty far enough away to stop, instead he sped up and yelled "get out of the way." If only I had a rock to fill that small piece of road... Keep in mind, I was getting off to the side of the road for Jeeps going down.
Don't be a duche, vehicles and exhausted hikers going down have the right of way, especially on their side of the road!

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

backpacking
5 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!!

Amazing birthday hike. At the beginning parked in parking lot across river so had to wade to get to the trailhead. Not a moderate hike due to technical area thru boulders.. Invigorating swim at the lake!

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!

This was definitely a tough hike! If you don’t have a high-clearance vehicle be prepared to hike about 7-8 miles in & out. Once you finally get to the actual trail, there’s a deceiving sign that says 1.2 miles to the summit—it’s pretty much a straight incline up the full 1.2 miles and there are rocks/boulders that fall while you’re hiking up. Since the hike is so steep, the rocks slip constantly so we recommend a helmet, like some people had, and possibly hiking poles for the trip back down. Heading back down was honestly the hardest part because it puts a lot of stress on your knees. There are several false summits so be prepared! When you finally reach the top & are close to the summit, you’ll have to scramble through a tight notch to reach the actual summit. Get someone to help you because that part can be tricky—especially if you’re hiking alone. All in all, it’s a beautiful mountain & I promise you’ll remember the hike forever.

Good hike; still decent views despite some smoke. Start early - coming down the west trail doesn’t provide much shade.

7 days ago

Did this yesterday. Excellent hike. A relatively easy 14er, but a moderate hike. Past peak wildflowers.

Good hike. Probably a bit spoiled by other hikes in the area. Not as spectacular as Ice Lakes, for example, but still pretty scenic. Nice waterfalls & lakes.

Did an overnight hike with my friend and I to camp in the basin, and return to the trailhead the following morning. This trail was VERY difficult to backpack do to the strenuous ascent to West Fork Pass, but the beauty of the Basin is well worth the effort. We spent a good amount of time seeking cover in the tent due to scattered showers and thunderstorms. July is definitely the best time to see wildflowers, butterflies and lots of different types of bees. We spotted a coyote, lots of deer and marmots. The lightning can be very formidable when camping in the basin so make sure to watch the weather before doing this hike!

Challenging hike/ climb, but one of my favorite 14-ers ever. Beautiful views and totally worth it. Be prepared to climb/ scramble.

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!

Beautiful sweeping views. The lake is great for fishing and camping. I might rate this a bit harder than moderate especially if you are carrying an overnight backpack. The first lake looks like an infinity pool from heaven. BE WARNED: the road to the trailhead is very rocky and uneven, not for the faint of heart. 4WD and/or SUV is highly recommended although I saw a few sedans that made it up somehow.

8 days ago

Beautiful lake to camp out at. It’s a very easy hike to get to. BE WARNED: the road to get to the trailhead is extremely rocky and uneven. You will need 4WD and probably an SUV. Also the trailhead is not marked. Other than that it’s a easy hike and good spot to camp.

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!

Heads up, if there are no parking spots, wait for one to open up or find another trail to hike. Do not parking in the meadows across the road from the current parking area. The parking lot is small. Get an early start. Parking tickets are very expensive.

Ice lake was of the prettiest lakes I’ve ever hiked to! Fairly steep incline most of the way up, with some loose rock towards the end. Made the hike up to Island Lake which was also really pretty and definitely worth it, but not as impressive as Ice Lake. Camped at Ice Lake and had great weather! Clocked about 9mi total.

Advanced hiking trail with an incredible view.

hiking
8 days ago

Nice hike. Easy 14er, but a moderate hike. Past peak flowers, but nice views.

hiking
9 days ago

Beautiful all the way through.

hiking
9 days ago

Excellent hike, Upper Ice Lake Basin is just stunning. Wildflowers are past their peak, but still very pretty. Went on to Island Lake, which was worth the extra effort, though not quite as beautiful as Upper Ice Lake.

hiking
9 days ago

Stunning hike which I agree is moderate. The scenery constantly changes, wildflowers and microclimates, creeks, waterfalls and lakes. SO beautiful. The challenges for me were the altitude because we arrived in Telluride last night and hiking down a rocky trail. If you have knees or hips which cause you trouble, take your hiking sticks. Hiking downhill will be so much easier for you. By the time we sat down at Hope Lake I got my head back, dizziness went away and my heart settled down. Totally worth all of my effort, one of the most beautiful hikes I have ever been on. My husband had no trouble with the altitude but was very glad he packed his hiking sticks for the rocky trail down.

This is my second time doing this hike. It’s seriously the most beautiful hike I’ve done in Colorado, and I’ve done a lot. The entire trial is amazing and though it’s steep, it’s not dangerous or difficult as long as you take your time (if you’re not a seasoned hiker).

hard, but so Beautiful!!

Great hike! Definitely a challenge but well worth it. Recommend camping off the county road 585 past the trail head so you can make it to the trail head early. It was a absolutely beautiful hike the entire way and the lake was breathtaking!

hiking
11 days ago

Great hike! Amazing views! A little challenging for the inexperienced but worth it! Lake was amazing and the views are beautiful!

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