Explore the most popular snowshoeing 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.

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)

backpacking
18 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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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!

hiking
Saturday, September 09, 2017

Really tough hike. Amazing views at the top

backpacking
Saturday, August 26, 2017

Great Hike and totally beautiful. Make sure when you come to the first creek crossing towards the beginning you follow the sign to ice lake trail. The trail continues just to the left of the creek once you cross. The map in alltrails seemed to lead a different way that is now blocked off by some fallen trees.

hiking
Sunday, August 20, 2017

This is confusing to me. Maybe I missed a part where you are supposed to cut over trails to just Island Lake, but we made it up to Ice Lake first (which was amazing), and then got on a steep path up to Island Lake from there (which only took about 15 mins), so I don't know where this 7 mile timeframe comes from or where the base for that would begin. Besides that it was absolutely incredible! Didn't stay for long because the wind picked up a lot and it begin to lightly snow/drizzle. Very green water compared to Ice Lake. Super cool!

hiking
Thursday, August 10, 2017

My favorite hike so far! I took the faint trail up to Island lake first before cutting over to Ice lake. Much less crowded and didn't see a single person until I reached the lake. Also I found a really nice knife sitting on a rock above Island lake if anyone is missing it! Would be happy to send to you if you can identify it. (Found August 10th)
Take plenty of water and snacks for this hike as it is tough with lots of elevation gain. Worth every second!! Start early. Parking lot was about half full at 7:45am on a Thursday in early August.

hiking
Saturday, August 05, 2017

This is a beautiful, strenuous hike. There's plenty of shade and tree cover for the first half of the hike as well as streams for your dog to have a drink. Once above tree line you spend a decent stretch of trail walking through fields of wildflowers which grow more magnificent once you take the fork to Island Lake. The elevation gain makes for a great workout. Keep an eye out for marmots (I counted almost a dozen) and consider hiking poles for the steep descent and multiple stream crossings.

hiking
Thursday, July 20, 2017

The views are terrific, but this hike is not for the faint of heart. It is VERY poorly marked. The first ascent from Ames to the cliff tops is well marked, and the path on the ridge is fine, but in between there is a dense woods and the trail completely vanishes. I got lost both on the way up and the way down and had to forage and follow deer paths for almost an hour each time. GPS would help.
For a day trip, park at the electric power plant in Ames (very historical) and follow the road up along the creek until you get to a foot bridge over the creek. The trail begins at an unmarked gate on the other side of the bridge.
Dense brush waist high that you have to push through, for most of the low-altitude trail.

hiking
Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Moderately difficult, but incredibly beautiful hike and seeing Ice and Island lakes makes the trip well worth the effort. Went in early July and did experience a sudden, but short rain/hail storm that dropped the temperature dramatically. Thankfully that passed quickly and the rest of trip was fantastic.

Amazing! Ice is melted, still a few snowy patches, but easy to find the trail again.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Stunning view. Steep and challenging. Trail is clearly marked and easy to follow

Possibly one of the most beautiful, but challenging hikes I have done in Colorado! 7.3 miles seems like an underestimate as my fit bit read around 11 after going from ice lake to island lake and back down. Right now the flowers are all out and there are only a few snow patches that require crossing, but note there are a few large stream crossings that may get your feet soaked! Overall, it was totally worth it!!

backpacking
Tuesday, July 04, 2017

One of my favorite places to hike to. The lakes are gorgeous!

hiking
Monday, June 12, 2017

Gorgeous views and a fantastic hike. Just make sure to get a good weather report before heading out. When we went in early June, we could not reach the top due to snow completely blocking one of the tighter portions of the trail.

hiking
Sunday, June 11, 2017

This description and reviews and trail map are confusing as the map shows doing the whole loop including the Cross Mountain Trail. There are two trailheads right on the highway - the southern one is for the Cross Mountain Trail and the northern one (right at the pass) is the Lizard Head Trail. We hiked up the latter on June 8th, and were stopped by complete snow coverage just after the point where the Mt Wilson Meadow Trail takes off - slightly less than 3 miles in. Did have to cross a number of snow piles before that, but no issues there. Trail is wonderful - with good shade but gorgeous views and pretty little snow melt creeks to skip across. We turned around and came back down to the large talus field where the views are really open to eat our lunch - views of Vermilion Peak, Pilot Knob, and Fuller Peak. Loved all the false hellebore that has sprouted since the snow has melted.

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