Ice Lake Basin Trail

HARD 165 reviews
#1 of 70 trails in

Ice Lake Basin Trail is a 8.1 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Silverton, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
8.1 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2998 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

rock climbing

snowshoeing

trail running

walking

forest

lake

views

waterfall

wild flowers

snow

off trail

Ice Lakes trail has two common destinations, lower and upper. The upper basin is surrounded by awesome peaks. Vermillion, Fuller, Pilot knob and Golden Horn are climbed from this basin. Amazing blue/green lakes, late season wildflowers, moderately strenuous hike to creekfalls and waterfalls too.

hiking
2 hours ago

This was a beautiful tail, very safe. Just may be difficult for some younger. There is a lot of change throughout the terrain so be prepared for that. Also a few harder river crossings. Definitely worth the hike. Absolutely beautiful the entire time. (It took two athletic teens 2.5 hours to reach the top & others 5.5 hours. Just depends on your pace)

2 days ago

Beautiful. Someone said the road to trailhead was questionable, but it is a well maintained dirt road good for all 2wd vehicles. They must have been on the wrong road.

hiking
6 days ago

hiking
6 days ago

camping
7 days ago

A wonderful trail! We left at 7 am and enjoyed lunch at the ice lake.

hiking
7 days ago

hiking
7 days ago

Just hiked this with my family. My wife and I backpacked and camped at the lower basin almost 20 years ago and wanted to show our daughters. When we camped it, we saw one other camper over three days. In our most recent visit on July 11, I counted seven, yes seven, multi-person parties camping in the lower basin, and passed two other groups packing in. ugh. And those were just the parties we could see from the trail...there may have been others. If you are seeking Colorado backcountry solitude, this is no longer the place for it. That said, Ice Lake is as striking a vista as you will find in Colorado. Still a great, but challenging, day hike. I recommend going elsewhere if you plan on backpacking.....

hiking
8 days ago

A beautiful hike with my Wife and dog. The first few miles out of the trailhead are a steady uphill with many switchbacks. The lower lake is now free of ice (7/11/2017) and gorgeous

8 days ago

I haven't seen anything on here about actually getting to the trailhead, but I tried going yesterday and driving on Red Mountain Pass is truly terrifying. I'm a good mountain driver but I was white knuckling it the whole time. The 2WD rental car I had probably didn't help but that Pass is no joke, so just keep that mind. I ended up turning around coz it was raining and the roads were slippery

hiking
8 days ago

hiking
9 days ago

Amazing views. Great hike with some technical areas. Beautiful lakes. Would hike this trail again for sure

backpacking
10 days ago

What a fabulous backpack! Did this last weekend (July 8-9). Hike up took 3 hrs including a lunch break and carrying a 25lb pack. I'd say I'm in average shape for CO standards.

Lower Ice Lake is where there is a lull in climbing... it's a brown pond in the trees. Then Upper Ice Lake is at the top of the last 0.5 - 1 mile steep climb.

There was moderate traffic throughout the day. We set up camp early (on upper ice) and by sunset there were three campers total... relatively private. We lucked out with weather (pretty exposed if you have a fear) and took a very quick and breathless dip in the lake. Ice has melted.

Island lake was a further 20min steep climb which we saved til the next morning, leaving our packs. Worth it.

I would go back and do this as a day hike and stay in Ouray (45min from trailhead) if I didn't want to camp. Very doable.

Happy hiking!!

PS - neither Sprint nor Verizon had coverage once on the dirt road to trailhead, Ty :)

backpacking
10 days ago

Hello everyone! I did this hike over the Fourth of July weekend and there was definitely still a firm ice covering over Ice Lake. I'm hoping to go back in September when I know that they lake will be completely melted and its crystal blue color. Unfortunately there is no AT&T service along the trail. In fact, when I was there a couple weekends ago there was hardly any AT&T service at all in Silverton. There was a forest fire in Durango, CO that damaged one of the AT&T towers in the area, and therefore your cell coverage will suffer greatly. I'm not sure if they have that issue fixed yet. As far as backpacking goes, there were about 5 tents in the Lower Basin/ Ice Lake area. If I was you, I would definitely backpack up into the basin and camp there. Although it will be more cold, it is absolutely gorgeous and super close to Ice Lake, Island lake, and Fuller Lake. I hope this helps! Happy hiking!

backpacking
11 days ago

Did this as a backpacking trip 6 years ago and going again in 2 weeks. For those of you that have done this more recently, are there a lot of folks camping at the Lower Basin, or are they mostly at the trailhead campgrounds? Last time I was there I did the trip in mid June and there wasn't a lot of campers or traffic at the Lower Basin; so that is where I was planning on camping this time. Any suggested alternatives if it is crowded?

hiking
13 days ago

Is there still ice on the lake ? I did this last year in mid-August most of the flowers were gone but lake was beautiful. I wanted to go earlier to see wildflowers but want lake unfrozen too! I know 1st world problems! :)

14 days ago

Great hike! It was beautiful. From the meadow to the lake was a bit steep with some snow.

Amazing hike and worth the elevation change, the trail climbs steadily upward for almost its entirety. Ice Lake has one small piece of ice but is otherwise thawed. Island Lake is fully thawed. Trekking poles are still helpful as there are several snowfields to trek through on the way and they become very slick as it warms up.

hiking
15 days ago

16 days ago

No 4x4 needed to get to trailhead...wait until lakes are not frozen, they are beautiful!

hiking
16 days ago