Explore the most popular birding 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
4 days ago

The best hike I’ve ever done after years of admiring this mountain from the ground in Pagosa Springs. Not for the faint of heart - not the off road drive to find the unmarked trail nor the strenuous back half of the hike when you’re hiking a steep narrow path flanked by precipitous drips. But it’s SO worth it. Incredible 360 panoramic views once you break the tree line and a rewarding bottle of names for those who reach the true Pagosa summit. (Beware the 2-3 false summit sighting before the real one). Difficult several hours hike but definitely doable if you’re in pretty decent shape.

Great little hike with plenty of Aspen and Pine views.

Had a great hike! Some steep parts, over all it was easy. Watch the weather, as we left there was hail, no problem for us, but some people were hiking in t-shirts and sneakers.

hiking
9 days ago

Most beautiful hike I've even been on. The reward at the top is unbelieveable. I've never seen anything like it. The wildflowers were blooming like crazy when we went in the end of August. It was very difficult for us being from Nebraska due to the elevation but I would do it again!

hiking
10 days ago

Great little hike. Well marked. Saw horseback riders and a group with a couple dogs. Beautiful views of the mountains!

Love this hike! Soooooo gorgeous with the gold & red & green leaves falling! Beautiful year round!

off road driving
13 days ago

Fun trail. Different look than the rest of the others in the area.

Did with baby and dog - challenging but doable.

This hike was truly incredible. Went on 9/28/18. Amazing views, so much to do, waterfalls to climb while on you’re way up, etc. Weather was perfect!!Getting to see that beautiful blue water was so worth all the effort to get up there. Pictures can’t show how clear and blue it really is. I highly recommend hiking the summit peak directly behind Ice Lakes. You will have a great birds eye view of the lake, you can see the other side of the mountain, and I got LTE up there to make a FaceTime call!

Take plenty of water and snacks. The hardest part is the very end of the hike as it becomes really steep before you hit the ice lake. I will definitely be back!

As beautiful as this lake was, I say Columbine Lake was even more beautiful and there was more to explore and do. We went on back to back days and I highly recommend both!

Beautiful trail and awesome weather

hiking
17 days ago

The best hike I have ever done - and I've been on many hikes throughout the US. The bluest blue I have ever seen in a lake - rivals Crater Lake in Oregon. Definitely worth the lack of oxygen... Took us around five and a half hours round trip with many many stops to catch our breath and take in the scenery. We are in our early 30's, pretty good physical shape, but we're flat landers from below sea level so the elevation change really tired us out... bring plenty of water (we ran out of 2L before the end of the hike) and snacks.. best to come early so that you can take your time and stop as often as needed. Listen to your body especially if you are from below sea level. Saw many dogs and a few kids doing the trail as well. The first lake is within 2.25 miles of the start and the 2nd lake (Ice lake) is another mile after that at around 3.5. My app calculated 7.20 miles round trip. There is another lake after Ice lake but we didn't have time nor energy to get there.

hiking
17 days ago

Absolutely beautiful hike. The end makes the long drive worth it. We'll marked and easy to find.

hiking
18 days ago

Steep, challenging hike! Not for the faint of heart climbing up the ridgeline, poles were essential. Very steep trail as described with lots of loose rock and trees/logs to climb over. We made it halfway up the 4WD road and had to park along side as the terrain is ROUGH. Not many places to bail out along the road. Hiked up the rest of the road (-1 hr from car to trailhead). We made it to the summit in 2 hrs and back to trailhead 1 hr 15 min. Great views if you’re not too focused on not falling off the mountain! Good luck, make sure you have a lot of clearance in your vehicle/someone who has driven up to trailhead if you opt for that route.

hiking
18 days ago

Amazing! Recommend to anyone. Be prepared and start early, met many hikers that did not bring enough water and food.

backpacking
18 days ago

One of the most beautiful hikes that I’ve ever gone! Prime color season so it was amazing.

Went in late September. The weather was perfect and the fall colors were at peak season. The hike is not long, but the first half is straight uphill, so be prepared for a workout. The lake is amazing and well worth the work it takes to get there.

Short hike, beautiful falls.

hiking
23 days ago

I LOVE THIS HIKE! The first time I did it was a few years ago for 4th of July, and unfortunately the lake was iced over, but the plants were in full bloom and so pretty! The second time was this year for labor day and The lake was amazing and there was no snow, however all the plants were dying. I would recommend doing this hike early August to mid August. This hike literally has all four seasons. It was sunny to start and then rained and snowed all in one hike lol. The hike isn't too bad as far as toughness but it will have your heart going. We also hiked to island lake and it was a lot closer than expected, it isn't too far from ice lake. I highly recommend just pushing a little further. There is just so much to see on this hike.
As far a the road getting there it isn't bad, you don't need a 4WD unlike other hikes in this area.

hiking
23 days ago

Enjoyable trail , pretty views. Took us about an hour and a half.

on Ice Lake Basin Trail

scenic driving
23 days ago

Ice Lake Basin and Island Lake are the most beautiful trail in Colorado IMHO.

24 days ago

Loved it.

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.

Amazing

The trail is 3 miles from the parking lot to the top. The last .8 miles from the fork is really steep. Beautiful views when you get there.

hiking
1 month 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.

Short, easy, steep hike to a beautiful lake and mountain view

1 month ago

It was a challenge but it was worth it. Wow it view tho!

hiking
1 month ago

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

Steady climb up but the view at the top is more than worth the effort. Great short hike with lots of brilliant yellow Aspens. RT was ~3.5 hours with plenty of time at the top for lunch and water for hiking companion, Daisy the Wonder Dog. Trail is shaded ~75% of the hike. Recommended hike near Durango.

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.

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