Explore the most popular trails near Ophir with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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Ophir, Colorado Map
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My husband, dog, and I hiked this trail today. First things first, this trail is wayyyyyy more than advertised. We clocked it at almost 9 miles with our GPS watch. Besides that, Ice Lake was absolutely beautiful - blue and full of water. The scramble further to island lake had some sketchy spots that I would have loved to use trekking poles on. Island Lake itself wasn’t as pretty as Ice Lake but still cool I guess. The water was kind of green and not nearly as striking as the ice blue water.
As far as the trail goes, it starts out in a nice pine forest that goes in and out of sunny aspen meadows (some of the leaves already started turning yellow which was beautiful!). Finally you get to a clearing where it flattens out a little followed by a pretty long and difficult climb to Ice Lake. The scramble to Island lake was less than a mile.

Waterfalls everywhere on the way up, ice lake was gorgeous...I’ve never seen water so blue. Island Lake is a quick scramble over. We took the loop down...it was steep! I’m glad we took the trail to lower basin, ice lake, island lake...because there is a spot where the trail cuts and you can hike to island first. I would not recommend. We saw a bobcat on our way out. Can’t wait to explore more in the area. There is a camp ground at the base and a few places to camp if backpacking by the lower basin. (Hiked mid August)

off road driving
16 days ago

Great trail. We did it East to West which meant that we went downhill on the West side of the summit and the rocky road. Had our 4x4 Tacoma in 4Lo and 1st gear crawling down the rocky slopes - no problem. Very nice views and spots for photos.

off road driving
23 days ago

The views are incredible here. I did west to east.

On my way up 2 people had popped tires going east to west so I suggest driving slow! The first few miles were steep and knuckle clenching on the shelf. Basically climbing over large rocks. I have a 4x4 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo and we bottomed a few times and had to almost gun it to get out in a spot. I’ll post pics once back.

Once you pass the top you’re out of the rock scrambling, and as another user mentioned is minivan worthy.

backpacking
23 days ago

A hidden gem in my opinion. Packed in and camped at the top of the lower valley. Had the Canyon to ourselves. As others have said, the trail is not well marked.
For day hike, we scrambled up the drainage and eventually met up with another trail that follows the perimeter. Learned that this trail can be found if you take a right turn on to a single-trek trail off the main road you come in on. The trail was a saving grace after scrambling through the scree field. Be prepared for quick weather changes at this time of the year.
Eventually scrambled to the saddle for a view of Island Lake. All in all, a beautiful Labor Day adventure.

off road driving
29 days ago

Such an amazing drive over the San Juan mountains. I recommend going from Ophir to the Million Dollar Highway because climbing the rocks is much easier than braking down the whole pass.

off road driving
1 month ago

easy. beautiful.

Excellent hike. Upper Ice Lake Basin is just stunning. Wildflowers are past their peak, but still very pretty. Went on from Ice Lake to Island Lake, which was worth the extra effort, though not quite as beautiful as Ice Lake.

hiking
1 month ago

Awesome hike. Scramble up the saddle and drop into island and ice lakes.

Well worth the trip from ice lake, a little challenging but worth it and fun!!

I may not be socially acceptable with the hikers and mtn bikers but I also ride a trail bike, legal in July and August, on this trail. Huge aspens, views wildlife and a few streams and few miles of road in the middle to cool off. I had a 650 dr dualsport with loaded saddlebags (not recommended) but still made the ride through and really enjoyed it. I checked surfing for the category in hopes they will put a trail bike category in someday.

hiking
1 month ago

This is one of my most favorite hikes, ever. Once you get to Ice Lake (amazing), Island Lake is a short but very steep journey over the ridge. The trail to Ice Lake is pretty straightforward (and steep) but to Island Lake there is some scrambling. It was extremely windy and quite cold in the basin around both lakes, even though the rest of the trail was warm.

AllTrails says "moderate" but I would rate this as difficult, ESPECIALLY if you are from lower elevations.

I started at 8am on Wednesday in August and had the trail almost to myself. While I enjoyed the view from the top, hordes of people were on their way up. This trail is popular for good reason.

off road driving
1 month ago

Went west to east. There's a bit of climbing early on then it gets extremely narrow, steep, and you're bouncing over relatively large rocks. I was carrying a lot of extra weight with camping gear in my 4runner so that climb was a slow, steady pace. After you get over the pass you're quickly on an easy minivan road.

off road driving
1 month ago

off road driving
2 months ago

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

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

off road driving
2 months ago

Drove this pass 4th of July, went over to Silverton from Telluride and back. Great trip! There are very large and pointy rocks on the shelf in several spots, so I was pretty concerned about my tires. My rig handled it fine though. I drive an all wheel drive Yukon. Beautiful photo ops.

on Swamp Canyon Trail

hiking
2 months ago

The start of the trail is accurate, and we drove (high clearance 4x4) up to a gate prior to the true trailhead.

Followed what seems to be an old mining/now USFS road all the way up past marshlands (past cairn-designated trail off to the right that shows on this app but is not named) into the basin before realizing we were actually on a local single track trail. Could not find the shown Swamp Canyon trail past this point - The single track turns back toward Ophir Pass and we wanted to go further up the basin to summit the pass and look over to Island Lake. So we bushwhacked up to the point where we ran across the previous cairn-designated trail we’d decided against.

Following this up to the pass, the last mile is loose scree. The scramble up and over the pass is exactly that - take a hard look at it! We spent over an hour getting up and down this short section and while the views are beautiful, it wasn’t exactly safe or designated route. There’s a reason the highlighted Swamp Canyon trail ends well before the summit of the pass!

Overall, beautiful adventure of a morning. Tons of wildflowers, columbine everywhere in the lower meadows, lots of waterfalls and creeks flowing.

Beautiful views. I recommend doing an out and back from the Lizard Head trailhead to the first summit- it is 7.5 miles round-trip.

off road driving
3 months ago

Trail open for the season. As others mentioned not to technical but driving a skinny rocky trail and meeting oncoming traffic can be intimidating for novice drivers and passengers

hiking
3 months ago

Possibly one of my most favorite hikes. There was snow right near the top but with crampons it wasnt that bad. Snow shoes are def not needed right now. I would recommend using a GPS as there were not enough tracks going to Island Lake to figure it out without the GPS. Both lower Ice and Island lake were still ice covered but you could see where it was trying to melt on the sides. Upper Ice Lake looked too hard to reach still. Really challenging but an incredible experience.

off road driving
6 months ago

I have done this trail several times, I live near Chicago and drive to CA every year for business. Every year I do some trails in route and Ophir, usually my first of the season. It is a good road for me to get my off road juices flowing for the rest of the trip, it is easy, scenic & fun.

It was a bit tiring but me and my girlfriend rocked that hike like champs, the first lake was amazing and the views are beautiful, you don’t need much gear to get to this point but we ll definitely recommend hiking shoes and not be afraid of heights if you wanna continue the short trip to island lake, there are parts that are a bit scary for first timers.

We ll definitely go back

off road driving
9 months ago

Fun jeep trail. Not technical but the drop offs can be intimidating for people who aren't used it.

Beautiful Hike! Definitely worth it

backpacking
11 months ago

Incredible hike, stunning views... can't wait to do this again!!!

11 months ago

Great trail with huge views! Agree with Tom and Alison's review, below, that the description and map are confusing. Out and back distance of 16 miles from Lizard Head Pass to junction with Cross Mountain Trail (below Lizard Head Peak), then back, sounds about right. But although there's plenty of uphill, elevation gain is nothing close to 5900 feet - map shows it's about half that, and that's what it felt like to me.
Saw nice flock of White-winged Ptarmigans - rather than taking flight at my approach, they "hid" from me, just a few feet away, some of them hunkered down right in the trail. Cool!

hiking
Saturday, September 16, 2017

After seeing the blue water of ice lake this water was a disappointing green..,still it was pretty cool with the backdrop of the snow on the mountains. If you hike to ice lake...make the extra distance to this lake as well. Part of the trail is close to the edge of drop off...a little scary!

hiking
Sunday, September 10, 2017

We hiked to Island Lake over Labor Day weekend. The scenery was great, but we liked Ice and Fuller Lakes better out of the 3 lakes. Giving this hike only 3 stars because of the condition of the trail to Island Lake. The trail was sketchy in a few places. I am afraid of heights and exposure, and there were 2 sections that really scared me. One was rocky, which required some scrambling, and the other one was a steep gravel slide path. We had forgotten to bring daypacks, so we had to maneuver around with our backpacking packs (although they were mostly empty, it was quite awkward). Very glad we had trekking poles!
There weren't as many flowers around this lake as there were around Ice and Fuller Lakes. You have to get creative going to the bathroom since it's above treeline. The water is much greener, and the island is neat. One guy swam across to the island, and his dog followed him. Brrrrrrr!

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