Explore the most popular backpacking trails in San Juan National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

hiking
15 hours ago

My all time favorite hike

Awesome trail!! We were unable to get to the upper lakes because of deep snow and the lower lake still had a small amount of ice on it. The waterfalls throughout the hike are amazing. We ate lunch near a huge waterfall right beside the split to go to the upper lakes. A hard hike but definitely worth it. It look my husband and I 3hrs to make it to the lower lake (we stopped frequently for lots of photo opportunities) and 1.5hrs back down.

Great trail! We didn't make it to the lakes. There was still snow on the trail.

hiking
26 days ago

We decided to see how far we could get on this trail in April knowing that we would probably hit snow at some point. There was less snow this year than usual in Colorado (2018) but we were not able to get to the top in regular hiking shoes (snowshoes definitely would help). We kept falling through the top layer of snow/ice up to our knees/thighs which made trudging on very difficult. We got about 1.5 miles in / 1300 ft up before turning around. The trail was lost to the snow eventually too (used phone GPS and looked for cut logs where the trail would be cleared). It was still very pretty and worthwhile but we'll have to return once the snow is gone. The temperature at the end of April was quite pleasant: just had a hat, some long-sleeve layers on top, and shorts (even in the snow it wasn't that cold).

Very beautiful hike! Intense at times walking in ice and snow at mid day, but well worth it to see the view at the top from the waterfall as well as the lower basin! Was not able to make it to the main ice lake basin due to snow and lack of snow shoes, but we went a little early in the season! We will be coming back in July to see the lakes thawed!

hiking
1 month ago

One word: SPECTACULAR!!!

An excellent hike and or an overnight x2

Very pretty hike but be prepared to hike in snow knee high at times.

This is probably one of my all time favorite hikes! I suggest getting there early in the morning to avoid crowds and to make sure you give yourself enough time. This is so scenic, everywhere you look is picture perfect! Wear layers, goes from hot to cold quickly. Bring snacks and plenty of water

Beautiful but busy! I left about 7 and made it back by 2. It's a bit of a burner but honestly the water is breathtaking and well worth the work. There were Llamas just chillin by Ice Lake which was random and amazing. I did continue up to Island lake which was awesome as well. People were fishing there and I sat for a good 10 minutes admiring the view. on the way there were quite a few people headed up. A few early morningers met me on the way up.

Good hike but well traveled at times.

Purely amazing

hiking
2 months ago

Absolutely amazing!!

Beautiful trail with great views.

hiking
2 months ago

My first real hike in the San Juans. Gorgeous.

walking
3 months ago

This was a beautiful hike however be aware that the road (county road 7 I believe) is closed. The last 4.4 miles of driving become walking. Also the snow was very deep (up to my waist at points) so bring snowshoes. It was still beautiful but be warned that this 8 mike hike is a 17 mike hike in the winter!

One of my favorite hikes.

snowshoeing
4 months ago

Very difficult with snowshoes, but worth the effort. I didn't see a single person out and back, just a lot of wildlife tracks. Including big kitty. Navigating is very tricky because of the snow, so I brought my GPS watch + compass and it worked out fine. Bring an Ice axe, as some of the switchbacks can be deadly if you take a fall.

4 months ago

A must!

probably the most beautiful hike we've done. the time of year may have helped as the change from 50° at the bottom to about 20 up top with almost a foot of snow made it feel like a fairy tale. will be back. not an easy one but may be one of the easier "hard" labeled hikes we've done in CO. I feel like there should be more ratings on here than easy, moderate, hard. If this is hard, there are hikes that are definitely VERY HARD.

One of the most beautiful hikes in the state. Hands down will be hiking it this winter.

hiking
5 months ago

My favorite hike!

hiking
5 months ago

Did ice lake and island lake on Nov. 24th. The lakes were almost complete frozen, but the view was still astounding! Bits of snow in the woods, a lot of packed snow on top. Brought microspikes which were really helpful, wouldn’t need snow shoes though. Will definitely come back in summer!

backpacking
5 months ago

Very epic trail. I just loved going in on the train. Make sure to get up early if you are wanting to summit the mtns. We did windom and we should have got up earlier. i try to get some film while i was there - it is beyond gorgeous! https://youtu.be/2iDmEsqbobA

I started on the trail at 7:45 AM, and it took me a total of 5.5 hours to complete: 3 hours up, 2 hours down, with 30 minutes in the middle to rest at the lake. In early November I was the only person on the trail, making for a slightly nerve-wracking experience on the way up but a very serene one at the top. There was a decent amount of snow and ice at higher altitude, but with my YaxTrax I was fine. I recommend this hike as a way to push yourself out of your comfort zone - it's a very difficult climb but well worth it!

on Ice Lake Basin Trail

6 months ago

Amazing!

Great trail, especially if you’re trying to squeeze a trip in late October into early November. Also, a good trip for novices or 55+’s who are fairly new to backpacking. Lower elevation, not much elevation change . . . at least for most of the trail coming in from Vallecito Reservoir. Ours was a three day trip, in and out with a day in between. Wanted to try to go to Emerald Lake for a day trip on the second day, but weather prevented us from going. Anyway, great places to camp leading up to the Emerald Lake trail or at the the junction.

on Ice Lake Basin Trail

7 months ago

Hard hike. Beautiful hike. 65 years old and took me almost 8 hrs up and down. Ice lake was still not frozen but island lake was mostly frozen over. Trail was icy in spots.

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