Ice Lake Basin Trail [CLOSED]

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San Juan National Forest

Ice Lake Basin Trail [CLOSED] is a 8.1 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Ophir, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, snowshoeing, and backpacking and is best used from April until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 8.1 miles Elevation Gain: 3,093 feet Route Type: Loop

dog friendly

backpacking

camping

hiking

snowshoeing

lake

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

snow

closed

off trail

As of May 2020, the trail is closed due to COVID 19 concerns. Please check with the park for more details before visiting. 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 creek falls and waterfalls too.

hiking
17 days ago

Yes it's closed, all of San Juan county is closed to people not living in Silverton and folks were given tickets for breaking thru the barriers last week

hiking
17 days ago

Can someone please post if this trail is still closed? Getting different information from two different sources. Thanks!

hiking
1 month ago

Road to This trail is CLOSED as of yesterday. Also within five minutes of parking near the road closed sign the sheriff was quick to drive up and tell us that all campgrounds in the area are closed due to COVID -19

hiking
icy
muddy
rocky
snow
6 months ago

Completed Nov 12th 2019 by two amateurs. The conditions were beautiful but some of the sunnier portions were hot while some of the shaded trail had ice. Most of the trail was a complete incline or decline so it can be hard to catch your breath. We went right around the loop to island lake from a previous reviews advice and would recommend listening. Most of the lakes we saw were frozen over this time of year but the views were still stunning. If you have a full day, plenty of snacks and water it’s a fun hike. Then head into town at the avalanche for pizza and beer.

hiking
6 months ago

Blue like you've never seen! Pretty steep incline for about 4 miles, which takes you to Ice Lake. Use the All Trails map to keep you on course. There was a little snow on the trail, but nothing to stop you. Island lake was frozen, so you couldn't see the pretty green water. Wear hiking shoes, boots not necessary. We left at 10:30 and it took us just under four hours. We stopped a few times for pics and snacks. It's probably easier to go up to Island Lake first (loop right), but either way you still are climbing. Temperature at ice lake is a good bit cooler than the base. It's a hard hike, but totally worth it.

hiking
muddy
rocky
scramble
snow
7 months ago

7 months ago

done today, some snow on the track, especially around upper ice lake and fullers lake - be prepared for that!

hiking
7 months ago

Loved the hike up to Ice Lake! it took me 5,5 hours incl a lunch break. my fitness level is reasonable, but I don't do sports on a regular basis. the biggest challenge was the altitude. i took it very slowly and stopped a lot to catch my breath and drink some water. It is absolutely doable, even if you are not suoer sporty, just take your time and bring plenty of water and snacks. :) It's totally worth it!

hiking
rocky
7 months ago

A butt buster for sure. Hiked to lower lake 10.19.19. The reward was worth the pain. Couple tricky water crossings. One of the most beautiful hikes in the state. Poles were helpful. Caught an idiot smoking a cigarette and I nearly lost my shit. Please don’t be a meathead. Fire danger is extreme. If you need a cig that bad then don’t hike.

hiking
rocky
7 months ago

tough near the top, first 2.5 miles isn't as tough has the last 2.5 miles. Beautiful blue lake like I have never seen before. Not worth the extra mile one way to go to the upper lake.

hiking
7 months ago

This is a hard trail but totally worth the effort. Pictures do not do justice the the beauty of Ice Lake and Island Lake.

hiking
7 months ago

Very beautiful trail all the way to the top. A variety of different views and terrain. Photo opportunities everywhere. Lakes at the top are worth the hike. Start early, you will need the time. Unfortunately the parking area is so limited.

hiking
7 months ago

Hiked on October 7th. Started the day @ 8:30 AM in a sweater and jacket, but started taking layers off as the day warmed up and I got out of tree cover. The parking lot only had 3 other cars. Round trip took me about 7 hours. I'm from sea level, and much like my trip to Peru, I started having slight issues catching my breath at around 3400 metres, but didn't experience any headaches or other symptoms of altitude sickness. The incline is steady all the way up, but nothing difficult. The views the entire way up are incredible, and the lakes are amazing. This hike is in my top 5 for sure and I'd highly recommend it.

hiking
rocky
snow
7 months ago

hiking
7 months ago

soooooo loooong

hiking
7 months ago

Gradual elevation gain all the way up! Beautiful views and stunning lake.

hiking
7 months ago

Easily one of the most beautiful hikes I’ve ever completed. The views every which way are stunning. It is very challenging because of the altitude.

hiking
washed out
7 months ago

I absolutely loved this trail! It’s got a pretty steady elevation gain but nothing too crazy. But this is one trail where I was in awe every step of the hike, the trail was honestly not long enough for me. HIGHLY recommend this trail, trekking poles helped on some of the washed out spots and I came from lower elevations so lots of water was a must for me as well as warm layers for the top but if you leave early enough on a weekday, you may have the chance to have the entire lake to yourself! I was at the trail head by 8:30 on a Thursday morning and parking wasn’t an issue but I can see it being a problem on the weekends.

hiking
8 months ago

We are mostly sedentary, 45-50 years old, relatively unhealthy, and live at about 700 ft elevation. It took us 11 hours to ice lake, island lake, and back. We struggled to breathe a lot but found the inclines and the hikes to be pretty easy. The entire hike had always rewarded us with amazing views, and we got two lakes for the price of one. It took us only 20 minutes to island lake from ice lake (go right and cross a stream). There was a constant threat of storms, but we weren’t turning around. There were campers at ice lake and island lake. I’m afraid of heights, and I was scared once on the ice lake trail and twice on the island lake trail...nothing too bad though. We saw many wildflowers going to ice lake and many marmots going to island lake. There were places to use the bathroom along the trail, at ice lake (behind boulders), and island lake (boulders). The park and trails are well maintained. Trekking poles were helpful. Finding the trail head from the parking lot was easy. There was plenty of parking at 9:30 am. People parked around the perimeter of the parking lot and the side of the road. There was a restroom in the parking lot. The trail is obvious, although not always marked. There are tons of people that hike it at all hours. Side trails are 2 ft wide. The main trail is 4 ft wide. Tips: bring water, snacks, rain gear, trekking poles, a light. Also, travel light. In conclusion, we handled ice lakes well probably due to having adjusted to the altitude, using oxygen canisters, inhalers, and traveling with light day packs. We weren’t that sore afterward either. We were just tired. Also, There are no pages in the trail register. We saw people hiking even around dark though. We are from Texas and we’re hot the entire time. The creek crossings weren’t bad enough to need water shoes unless it’s raining. The water is ice cold. You must do island lake. If you can’t camp at South Mineral then stay in Silverton.

hiking
8 months ago

This was a tough one for us. two women 40 years old each. Our initial plan was to camp the night before and head up for an overnight. We opted to do an up and back. It took us 10 hours and many times we wanted to turn around. But everyone said it would be worth it. We traveled through sunshine, rain, hail, thunder and lightening and it was raining at the top. The last half mile or so was really brutal. lots of pretty views, landscape was beautiful. The lake was beautiful. We did it, we may never do it again.

hiking
8 months ago

Reaching the lake is a very rewarding experience. It’s a beautiful blue and the back drop is stunning. Definitely a lake I spent more time at than usual. The hike itself can be broken into three parts. Uphill through the forest, flat through the tree line, and uphill again to the summit. Technically, the trail (on average) rises about 700ft per mile — which is pretty good. Bring a good amount of water and take your time. It would be a good idea to bring a down jacket and a beanie. It can be cold at the top, if the wind is blowing. After you rest at the lake for a while (and you will because it’s stunning), consider taking the trail to Island Lake. It’s not much more work after a good rest.

Amazing trail and even more amazing views. Some damage from avalanche to trail but broken trees made a bridge crossing part of a stream easy. Lots of friendly dogs along the way. My dog enjoyed it as much as I did.

hiking
8 months ago

most beautiful hike we have ever done! it was a little difficult, but take as many breaks as needed as it is steep. Make sure to have good shoes, water, & sunscreen!

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