Explore Southwest - 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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One of the most beautiful hikes in the area!

What an incredible hike. It’s strenuous with lots of elevation gain, but so beautiful. A few water crossings and amazing sights along the way. We took our time and stayed at the lake and Island lake for about 30-45 minutes each. Definitely a must see!

Difficult trail, but can be done in 5 hours if you hustle, steep for a good amount of the trail, but it’s worth it when you get to the lakes, very scenic

hiking
1 day ago

fun hike! we only made it as far as lower blue lake due to some issues with the altitude, but it was gorgeous nonetheless! the trail opens up to some beautiful meadows along the way and once you hit a space suitable for camping you have arrived at lower blue lake. would love to go back and make this a two day trip. the road out there is easy to maneuver and it definitely gets crowded pretty early. highly suggest this hike!

This trail is amazing! did it two days ago and it's so rewarding! It is tough in spots but it does give your legs a break in spots. It's not strictly uphill. Take lots of water and sunscreen because much of this trail is in the sun. Take your time and have fun

Very good trail. The view up there is worth it. Also, camping at the lake is a good idea (if you check the temperature first)

Pros: 70% shade
Cons: no signage, manure everywhere, no cave access— walked by 3 times, but never found, no good views.

We did this one today and it was absolutely gorgeous. The entire trail had so many different views and the lake itself was mesmerizing. We started at 6:30a (on a Friday) and there weren’t too many people. We thought the trail was confusing at a couple junctions as there aren’t any signs. There were a couple river crossings.

3 days ago

It was one of our favorite national Park hikes. The hike guide book provided at the museum near the trailhead was helpful to learn about things along the hike. Super fun with a few narrow squeezes through rocks along the trail, cool caves, great grippy sandstone, a juniper forest, thousands year old history, etc.

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.

hiking
7 days ago

Very cool hike! We did the day hike to Lower, Middle, Upper Blue Lakes and to the Sneffels pass. I recommend camping at the trailhead for an early start. The lower lake is beautiful (it's better than the other two) but pretty full of campers. The best view is from near the middle lake looking down on the lower lake. The path can be hard to find going from lower to middle. The trail from upper lake to the pass was narrow and steep and did get boring, so you could definitely skip this and you wouldn't be missing out. The hike is quite steep in beginning sections, so it gets real old on the way back down (we saw two people who appeared to have twisted ankles from sliding or falling in these sections... both of whom were hiking in tevas, so do with that what you will).

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.

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

backpacking
10 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!!

hiking
11 days ago

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!

Beautiful hike.

hiking
12 days ago

CRATER LAKE/ANDREWS LAKE/MOLAS PASS AREA. Guide books talk this one up and I feel they’re right!
What contributed to a good experience today is that it was a Wednesday afternoon start and we had realistic expectations we weren’t going to make the full out and back plus the weather was perfect—no chance of rain, nearly cloudless and 70 degrees even at 11,000 feet!

I made it to the Snowdon meadow though I found out from an overnight hiker on his way back (Ben) that I had picked an alternative path. The usual way to go to Crater Lake is the right fork of the “Y” that presents itself at the register box.

Memorable moments: Seeing a Western Osprey loop repeatedly over Andrews Lake both as I showed up and departed—then seeing a second one! Noticing the texture change underfoot as I went from sturdy dirt trail to mushy marsh then to crunchy dried pine needles littering the forest floor.

I will certainly be pleased to trek all the way to the lake. It’s a “definitely do it again” alpine hike with no-sweat trail access. Lovely!

hiking
12 days ago

This trail is a “must do” if you are in the Silverton area.! While it is rated difficult, you will not have any problem if you are a regular hiker in Colorado. The prize? The beautiful and stunning lake at the end of your journey! I have never seen a lake of such beauty anywhere in Colorado! This is a hike not to be missed!

hiking
12 days ago

OMG. This hike was TOUGH! The climb is steep until you get about a mile+ away from the lake. Plenty of tight ledges to cross. The switchbacks when you descend are loose so take care with your footing. That being said, it was the most beautiful lake I have ever seen. It’s a grueling climb but absolutely worth it. Bluest water ever! Take your time and allot a lot of time to complete this trail.

This trail was a bit challenging but very pretty. I was very happy we chose to do it.

Gorgeous views.

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!

12 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.

hiking
13 days ago

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!

Beautiful lake - the trail could use some better markings - it is easy to wander off but overall a good portion of shade and relatively flat.

Such a beautiful lake! The first 2 miles were tough with a lot of switchbacks and a steep incline up the saddle. Once you reach the top of the saddle it’s pretty flat the rest of the way to the lake. Awesome views towards the top, and the lake is so blue!

hiking
13 days ago

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.

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