hiking

views

nature trips

forest

wildlife

wild flowers

birding

walking

dog friendly

trail running

dogs on leash

lake

mountain biking

kid friendly

camping

horseback riding

river

snowshoeing

backpacking

waterfall

off road driving

rock climbing

fishing

scenic driving

wheelchair friendly

The San Juan National Forest spans more than 1.8 million acres of puclic lands near Durango in the southwestern corner of Colorado. The forest encompasses three wilderness areas: Weminuche Wilderness, South San Juan Wilderness, and Lizard Head Wilderness, two of which are alpine wilderness areas. San Juan National Forest was declared by president Theodore Roosevelt in 1905 and is now also part of the Chimney Rock National Monument. The park's terrain ranges from high-desert to alpine peaks of the San Juan Mountains. Popular highlights within the park include the San Juan Skyway, a scenic drive with excellent views, and numerous hiking trails including Ice Lake Basin Trail. Activities in the park include hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and skiing. The National Forest also offers many campsites for use, including Cayton Campground. If you want some history, take a ride on the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, a historic landmark that passes through the national forest.

Very nice hike, I made it to the 3rd bridge. Few trees down blocking path.

off road driving
17 hours ago

Nice trail. Beautiful views and easy drive. Bring a camera.

Easy little hike and the fissures are really neat! Fun for all ages and abilities!

Drove 2 1/2 hours to hike this trail a few days ago at 8 months pregnant. It was challenging but so worth it. We had some rain on the way up, but it passed and the view of Ice Lake and the majestic blue water did not disappoint. My husband and I had lunch at the lake and did not want to leave! If you can make it to the top, the hike back down is significantly faster and easier. It’s a must do!

This hike is absolutely fabulous. It is incredibly steep getting up to mile 2 - by far the toughest stretch of trail we hiked on our visit to the area. But once you get past mile 2 and the short distance through the saddle, the trail is flat and the views are raw beauty - the Rockies at their best. The lake color is spectacular. We enjoyed this more than the Ice Lake trail (which was also great).

A tip that we figured out the hard way: The road to the trailhead is a narrow “4x4 only” road. If you dare drive up the road anyhow, there is only room for 2 cars along the side - and if those spots are taken, there is not a good place to turn around. The easiest thing to do is park at the bottom of 679 after you cross the one lane bridge (by the camp sites), then hike up the road to the trail. The trail itself is 6.4 miles - adding the hike up the road made the total trip ~8.7 miles.

I had so much fun on this 3 day trip.. very good trail, rolling hills and climb.. both ways are good exercise but still easy/moderate. We had a lot of visitors like deer, birds, chipmunks, etc. I highly recommend this trail for a day hike, or backpack, or even to get someone hooked to the outdoors, because the views are breathtaking and the rewards are high.

2 days ago

This is a great Family Day Hike! My little 3 year old boy loved it, plus we caught some Brookies.

We only went 3 miles up and back down, but it was so beautiful!!! Lots of wildflowers and beautiful views of the mountains !

I love taking photos of my experiences and this was the hike of all hike to do just that. Note 1: when you get to the first water crossing don’t head up the river and bear crawl your way forward. Cross the river at the bottom. The obvious trail switch backs nicely to the top of the waterfall. From here it’s switch backs all the way to a beautiful meadow that leads to the final push of switchbacks. Once you get to the top and see Ice Lake, don’t stop there. Keep on the trail that continues to wind up. There’s another beautiful lake a bit higher that will offer amazing viewpoints down on Ice. There’s an old structure up there too along with a picnic table to have lunch. And since most hikers just stop at Ice to rest you’ll have this area all to yourself. After lunch and as you make your way back down to enjoy Ice Lake your eyes will be amazed all the way down to it. From here head to Island Lake. The emerald contrast to the blue you just experienced won’t be disappointing. Note 2: Keep heading around the Island Lake and keep an eye out for a faint trail that will loop back down to the trail you hiked up making your journey a loop. It’s a bit steeper going down this way but well worth the views and perspective of what your accent to Ice was like is very cool. See photos @jeanpaul574

Did this loop on the 4th of July took the left on the Continental Divide Trail and set up a tent in the meadows about 1.5 miles up. Woke up and took Whitehead Trail back onto the Highland Mary Lakes trail.
It’s a beautiful hike featuring a waterfall and lots of gorgeous wildflowers

Such a beautiful hike!! We went up to Island Lake on the wildlife trail on the right side when you first get to the base- glad we did it that way because of the elevation drop into Ice Lakes. Dog was fine and there were plenty of places for him to get some mountain stream water

Not a hike by any means, just a nice area with some beautiful views. Love taking my dog off leash here because it’s close to where I live

backpacking
3 days ago

Beautiful. Hike up to ice lake basin is steep but manageable. Camping in the lower basin is gorgeous- bring the bug spray!! Lots of mosquitos! Was there 8-10 July 2018. Lots of day hikers- not the place to go for solitude, but the crowd does thin out quite a bit if you venture on past Ice Lake to Fuller Lake/Island Lake. Coming back to attack the basin 13ers next year- didn’t see or hear of one person attempting while we were there. A CO must hike!

Saw lots of mule deer and a bear with two cubs. Open trail and not real woody but some great views.

Unreal hike! The bit of the hike past the meadows is tough, but once you reach the lake you won't regret a thing. I continued upward to Island Lake - definitely worth the additional trek once you're there.

This was a wonderful trail that is easy to hike. We took our dogs and a huge group of all ages and there is plenty of places to get down to the river. Beautiful rock cliffs on both sides. We only went 2 miles in but again it was perfect.

Great hike! Beautiful lake! Take lots of water and snacks so you can enjoy the day there.

hiking
5 days ago

I LOVE this hike! Gorgeous wildflowers, lovely views and great hike. It is well traveled and popular.

hiking
6 days ago

Just did (7/6-7/8) Williams Creek Trail (587) to Williams Lake Trail (664) ending at Williams Lake (returned same way total 24 mi). Lots of deadfall trees (125 trees and i did count them) on trail, but crew clearing trail should be done by now. Crew said they cut and move 50 trees/d. Hats off and thanks. Heading up you pass a nice campsite on left with large meadow and creek access at about 3.5mi. Trail crosses Williams creek twice on way up. Can rock hop across this year with relatively low flow (years past you get wet feet). I camped at last large meadow on right before the steeps at about 6.2mi. This site has good terrain for camping and the creek is close, but lots and lots of black flies. Trail surface is good to excellent all the way to the lake. Intersect Williams lake trail at 8.2 mi. Lots of fair camping locations in this area. Lake at 10.6 mi and is above tree line. This year lake is green with high temps and low flows. Monsoon season has begun with high probability of afternoon and evening rain, hail, and lightning. If you can get beyond the abundant dead blue spruce trees, this is a very nice hike with excellent exposures of varied volcanic geology. Trail offers possibility of connection to Continental divide trail (beyond Williams lake about .8 mi) and a return hike via Squaw Pass and Cimarrona Creek Trail.

Enjoyed this trail! Beautiful and felt comfortable the entire time!

One of the most beautiful hikes I’ve ever done.

What an amazing hike! Wildflowers at every turn, two lakes, waterfalls, and some amazing views. I would also suggest to hike the small trail up to island Lake after you get to Ice Lake. I am from Texas and this hike kicked my butt, but it was so worth it. There was quite a bit of smoke also due to the fire out side of Durango. I can not recommend this trail enough!

hiking
6 days ago

Hiked up July 8, 2018. Easy trail, Beautiful views. The road to the Trail head is a little rocky. Cars will have a bit of a problem. We have an SUV and we made it no problem. Wife and I hiked up, enjoyed the views, circled the lake, and came back. Nice.

6 days ago

Just a great little hike. Perfect when you don't have a lot of time. The scenery is amazing

6 days ago

Just a great little hike. Perfect when you don't have a lot of time. The scenery is amazing

I hked this trail on 6-30-2018. It was challenging, but oh-so-worth it. Wildflowers were in bloom in late June. Here are a few tips and observations: We started early, when it was still cool. The trail was getting hot when we came down that afternoon. I'm 57, weigh 170 lbs and don't work out. I made it to the top, but the headwall is a tough, rocky slog. The lake was blindingly blue. It was cold and windy at the top, but we only stayed about 30 minutes and didn't need a windbreaker. Some landmarks: there is actually a small forest and small meadow (together about 1.5 miles). Then comes the big (Steep) forest and the amazing meadow, also about 1.5 miles. The final mile or so consists of switchbacks up the headwall. Consider taking a small O2 bottle of Boost if not in really good shape (like me).

7 days ago

We connected to this trail from the Cascade Village townhomes, where we are staying. This was a quiet trail - didn’t come across any other people. But be on the lookout and prepared- we did see a mama bear and a cub. The creek was beautiful and I loved all the flowers and butterflies on the hike. The route we took had great views of Engineer Mountain!

hiking
8 days ago

I did this with a friend on July 2nd. It was AMAZING! It was very challenging for us in places but so worth it when you reach the lake. We are both 54 and from Missouri. We have done some hard rated trails in Arkansas but this was hard. It took us about 8 hours to complete. Just take plenty of water and snacks. I would also highly recommend trekking poles. Hope to do this one again.

on Haviland Lake Trail

hiking
8 days ago

Shady trail. The first part is great because you hike near a creek and come across an old mine. Trail isn’t marked well so it was a bit hard to navigate. Bring your lunch and enjoy it overlooking the lake!

on Animas Mountain Trail

hiking
8 days ago

Trailhead is right in town so very easy to get to. The city view side is a little loud but a good workout. Saw only about 6 people on this hike during the holiday weekend.

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