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

San Juan Mountains, CO Map
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hiking
1 day ago

Scenic, saw lots of small wildlife. A hiker we passed saw a moose.

One of my favorites. This trail is increasingly popular so getting an early start is key if you’re interested in a quieter experience. Catching the sunset from the upper basin is incredible and completely worth it — be bear aware if you are going up ahead of the crowds, and definitely push for Island Lake if you’ve got the time!

You won’t hold the consistent (and, at times a bit brutal, haha) elevation gain against this trail when you see the payoff at the end. The lakes are unbelievably beautiful and the views are insane.

This trail is an unassuming adventure, with challenging elevation gains that are well spread apart. In addition to amazing views of Ourey and the surrounding peaks, this trail features many variations of terrain. Definitely worthwhile, but try to plan hiking this on a cooler day.

What a trail! If you are slightly scared of heights avoid the very beginning of the trail and get on at the parking lot at the falls... it will definitely get your attention! Views were unbelievable- especially at the High Point- overlooking 550. Pack a sandwich and be ready to have a seat and just take in the view. Great trail- and don’t miss the waterfall in Box Canyon. And yes, the distances are off- it’s longer but worth it!

Amazing

Now one of my favorite 14ers!
If you have 4 wheel drive and high clearance try to go as far up this road as you can! It will help eliminate you hiking up the whole road to get to the trail head! If you can make it far up that road, you will thank yourself on the way back down

hiking
5 days ago

As stated by others the distance seems off, we went close to 7 miles. Many off and on spots, we did the full trail. The beginning right out of the parking lot is no joke! No warming up given. I would say the first part of the trail is hard to strenuous depending on skill. There are some narrow parts walking alongside the cliff, thus if scared of heights might want to think twice. The views of Ouray were amazing and the different terrain you experience was cool to experience. Not a lot of traffic at all.

Loved it. First time off road with a Jeep and wasn’t to bad.

hiking
7 days ago

The bluest blue water that blew my mind! Most of the hike was not too bad until the last 45min. Completed the loop rather than out and back.

This is one of the prettiest areas in Colorado. Getting all the way to the lake is only possible for a few months during the summer, but still worth the hike even if you get stopped by snow near the top (as I did in May). Be prepared to encounter some gorgeous waterfalls and mountain panoramic views on your way up.

Great walk. If doing in the morning start at Visitor Center and go clockwise as will make most of the shade. Great views of the town throughout the walk. Took us a little over 3 hours with plenty of stops to admire the views. Last section across the canyon was brilliant. Don't be tempted to take short cut back to town after the canyon. Follow trail back up for dramatic gorge walk and overlook.

Challenging but so beautiful! The scenery was incredible - glad I made it to the Colbert blue lake!!

A must if you are in the area! The lake was unbelievably blue and beautiful! Felt like a straight up and straight down hike with only a very small portion that was flat. Seeing ice lake at the end makes every step you have taken worth it though!

Great views the entire time and will do this hike again when I'm back in Silverton.

hiking
9 days ago

Great trail walking distance from wherever you are staying in Ouray. Surprisingly, it offers a diversity of sights - waterfalls, small slot canyon, Box Canon Falls, and vistas of the town and surrounding mountains - while offering a decent amount of exercise. Uniquely offers multiple points to jump on and off the trail about town. Very enjoyable.

backpacking
10 days ago

Extremely difficult but equally rewarding

backpacking
11 days ago

I never been hiking before but, this trail changed me. Greatest trail I’ve done within my two weeks of being in Colorado. It was difficult but, worth it.

Beautiful Hike - every turn you take you either have an awesome viewpoint or eyes on a waterfall. Hiked this in last August while a storm was rolling in. It was overcast, but I imagine on a clear day you will be hot and in the sun for most of the hike.
Any 4x4 car will make it to the top of Bridal Veil Falls (no need for high clearance). The first fork in the trail: Right will take you to Silver Lake. Second fork in the trial: Left will take you to Blue Lake, Right will take you to Lewis Lake

hiking
12 days ago

My favorite hike ever! I hiked to Ice Lake for the 3rd time on 7/19/18. The wildflowers were in full bloom and absolutely stunning. We hit the trail at 6am and it took us 2 hours and 45 minutes to reach Ice Lake, including many stops to take photos and catch our breath. The hike is very strenuous but worth every step Don't layer too much because the incline will have you sweating 10 minutes in. Absolutely make time to continue to Island Lake as well.

I hiked this trail on 7/21/18 and it’s probably one of the prettiest hike I’ve been on.
The weather was perfect at this time of the year but I would suggest to go as early as possible in the morning cause it usually thunderstorms in the afternoon. We got to the lake around 11, and the storm was already brewing so we didn’t get to stay as long as we wanted to. There are also different trails to lakes around the ice lake you could visit. There’s one particular one called island lake I wanted to visit but didn’t get to. Next time, though!

The lake was so so so beautiful. It was so blue. One of the guys jumped in the lake and said it was freezing.

The whole trail was pretty tough with the elevation gain but you don’t notice the difficulty cause every second of the trail had such an amazing view.
I would definitely do this trail again.
On the way up fresh wildflowers were blooming right and left. It felt like one of this magical Ireland hikes.
20/10 would recommend! :)

Great views nearly the entire time. Friendly hikers and good footing. Less strenuous than Columbine Lake but still a good workout.

If you have time for only one hike in the area and are in good shape, this or Columbine are it.

off road driving
17 days ago

This was our first trail on our visit to Ouray. The trail starts off pretty easy and gets rockier the father you go up. We got to the top portion where the sign states short wheel base, high clearance only past this point. We are driving a lifted Tacoma and a lifted 4 Runner, so we figured we would attempt it. We made it up a couple of the switch backs, but then decided to not push any further as it was raining and sleeting and traction was not great on the rocks. We turned around and headed back down. It was a beautiful trip, even if we didn't make it all the way to the top.

Favorite 14er so far

on Ice Lake Basin Trail

hiking
17 days ago

Great hike with a few areas I consider difficult. A beautiful reward awaits you at the top!

off road driving
18 days ago

Absolutely beautiful views and such a fun drive up the mountain. Saw some wildlife and experienced spectacular views. Would 100% do it again and maybe go camping.

hiking
18 days ago

The views are worth the climb! Beautiful! The trail keeps a consistent incline the whole way. The section from the lower to upper basin is definitely the most strenuous, but you're rewarded with the most amazing blue water once you get to the top. We started our hike around 7 am and reached the lake around 10 am. It took us about 5 hours round trip including stopping for pictures along the way and a snack break at the lake. I would definitely recommend starting before 8 am to beat the crowds - we passed a lot of people on our way down.

hiking
19 days ago

This is definitely my favorite hike ever. The trail is varied: it goes through a forest before getting above the tree line and opening up into tundra, and the lake is the most amazing alpine lake I've seen. It's easy to access (our Mazda did fine on the dirt road), and we got an early enough start (8am) that we had the lake to ourselves for a bit. We got caught in a hail storm that forced us back down the mountain, but it passed within 20 minutes.

Amazing! Lots of people, but never felt crowded. 9 and 11 year old did great, but was a challenge for us all. It's worth taking a dive, the water is even more brilliant while wading. Just be sure to rest before you jump in, as it is aptly named and one wouldn't want to cramp up or induce a heart attack after a strenuous hike. A must do hike, we'll be back again!

The hike is great but the lake at the top is a little disappointing. The views were better along the trail than at the top. The crew I was with said they wished the did blue Lake instead.

trail running
20 days ago

Well...if you have read any of the posts then you are already aware that the distance and elevation gain they claim on their map is WAAAYYY off. Its about 6.5 to 7 miles with 1385 ft gain (garmin gps watch) if you start at the visitor center and head clockwise (cascade falls to baby bathtubs to highpoint) and end after Ice Park. We were starving by that point (even after eating breakfast then granola bars on the trail

Worth every step. Steep inclines but once you make it to the top you can see why so many people recommend this hike. My 9 year old had a blast! Beautiful country from start to finish.

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