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

hiking
8 days ago

Most beautiful hike I've even been on. The reward at the top is unbelieveable. I've never seen anything like it. The wildflowers were blooming like crazy when we went in the end of August. It was very difficult for us being from Nebraska due to the elevation but I would do it again!

I went last week. Weather was perfect. If you don’t have 4WD, turnoff the highway and go down the hill. Park after the bridge and hike up to the trail (~1 mike).

Trail is steep for the first 2 - 2.5 miles once you get to the trail head. First 2 miles are a series of switch backs and then you climb uphill after that. Once you reach the top of the hill, you descend a bit and it flattens off until you reach the lake where there is a slight uphill.

The lake is gorgeous! It’s much bigger and less populated than Ice Lake.

Careful going down. The trail is steep and covered in loose rock. I had hiking poles and went slow but still managed to totally wipe out a couple of times.

The hike was great but the scenery leading up to the lake was okay (Ice Lake was better). The lake is surrounded by mountains so you also don’t get a view of the mountains like Ice Lake.

10 miles if you park after the bridge and 8 if you start at the trail head.

EPIC!!!! There is really nothing I can say, nor are there pictures I can show that will accurately describe this hike. You just have to go and see it for yourself. Such an amazing lake, even more beautiful than Ice Lakes. There are plenty of peaks all around Columbine Lake to summit and you will see other lakes as well as gorgeous mountain ranges that seem to go on forever.

As others have mentioned, be prepared for a grueling first 2 miles. The switchbacks are steep and feel like they keep going, and then when you get out of the trees you will see how steep and high of a mountain you have to climb, basically straight up. After that, it’s nice and easy hills with spectacular views before you hit the last little incline that takes you to the lake. Get through those 2 miles and you will be rewarded with an experience that is unrivaled.

Went on 9/29/18 and the weather was gorgeous. Bring layers. Gets hot on the hike up and can get a little windy at times. Never needed a jacket, just one long sleeve to go over my short sleeve when it was windy up top. Mostly just had hiking pants and a short sleeve tee on.

This hike was truly incredible. Went on 9/28/18. Amazing views, so much to do, waterfalls to climb while on you’re way up, etc. Weather was perfect!!Getting to see that beautiful blue water was so worth all the effort to get up there. Pictures can’t show how clear and blue it really is. I highly recommend hiking the summit peak directly behind Ice Lakes. You will have a great birds eye view of the lake, you can see the other side of the mountain, and I got LTE up there to make a FaceTime call!

Take plenty of water and snacks. The hardest part is the very end of the hike as it becomes really steep before you hit the ice lake. I will definitely be back!

As beautiful as this lake was, I say Columbine Lake was even more beautiful and there was more to explore and do. We went on back to back days and I highly recommend both!

hiking
16 days ago

The best hike I have ever done - and I've been on many hikes throughout the US. The bluest blue I have ever seen in a lake - rivals Crater Lake in Oregon. Definitely worth the lack of oxygen... Took us around five and a half hours round trip with many many stops to catch our breath and take in the scenery. We are in our early 30's, pretty good physical shape, but we're flat landers from below sea level so the elevation change really tired us out... bring plenty of water (we ran out of 2L before the end of the hike) and snacks.. best to come early so that you can take your time and stop as often as needed. Listen to your body especially if you are from below sea level. Saw many dogs and a few kids doing the trail as well. The first lake is within 2.25 miles of the start and the 2nd lake (Ice lake) is another mile after that at around 3.5. My app calculated 7.20 miles round trip. There is another lake after Ice lake but we didn't have time nor energy to get there.

hiking
17 days ago

Amazing! Recommend to anyone. Be prepared and start early, met many hikers that did not bring enough water and food.

backpacking
18 days ago

One of the most beautiful hikes that I’ve ever gone! Prime color season so it was amazing.

Went in late September. The weather was perfect and the fall colors were at peak season. The hike is not long, but the first half is straight uphill, so be prepared for a workout. The lake is amazing and well worth the work it takes to get there.

hiking
22 days ago

I LOVE THIS HIKE! The first time I did it was a few years ago for 4th of July, and unfortunately the lake was iced over, but the plants were in full bloom and so pretty! The second time was this year for labor day and The lake was amazing and there was no snow, however all the plants were dying. I would recommend doing this hike early August to mid August. This hike literally has all four seasons. It was sunny to start and then rained and snowed all in one hike lol. The hike isn't too bad as far as toughness but it will have your heart going. We also hiked to island lake and it was a lot closer than expected, it isn't too far from ice lake. I highly recommend just pushing a little further. There is just so much to see on this hike.
As far a the road getting there it isn't bad, you don't need a 4WD unlike other hikes in this area.

on Ice Lake Basin Trail

scenic driving
23 days ago

Ice Lake Basin and Island Lake are the most beautiful trail in Colorado IMHO.

One of my favorites. This trail is increasingly popular so getting an early start is key if you’re interested in a quieter experience. Catching the sunset from the upper basin is incredible and completely worth it — be bear aware if you are going up ahead of the crowds, and definitely push for Island Lake if you’ve got the time!

You won’t hold the consistent (and, at times a bit brutal, haha) elevation gain against this trail when you see the payoff at the end. The lakes are unbelievably beautiful and the views are insane.

Amazing

hiking
1 month ago

The bluest blue water that blew my mind! Most of the hike was not too bad until the last 45min. Completed the loop rather than out and back.

hiking
1 month ago

This is one of the prettiest areas in Colorado. Getting all the way to the lake is only possible for a few months during the summer, but still worth the hike even if you get stopped by snow near the top (as I did in May). Be prepared to encounter some gorgeous waterfalls and mountain panoramic views on your way up.

hiking
1 month ago

Challenging but so beautiful! The scenery was incredible - glad I made it to the Colbert blue lake!!

A must if you are in the area! The lake was unbelievably blue and beautiful! Felt like a straight up and straight down hike with only a very small portion that was flat. Seeing ice lake at the end makes every step you have taken worth it though!

Great views the entire time and will do this hike again when I'm back in Silverton.

Amazing hike, well worth the trek up. It is hard as people have mentioned, but the lake is amazing.
I took another person's suggestion and parked at the bottom after the one lane bridge because I dont have 4wd. One note about that you have to turn right at the very first road after the bridge and the trail head is .7 miles up that road. I ended up walking up the main road and added another 2 miles to my trip.
A couple people have compared this lake to ice lake. They are both great hikes and unique. Personally I thought that ice lake had better panoramic mountain views going up but Columbine lake was way cooler. I would say that they are equally hard because ice lake is steep the whole way up. Columbine lake is steeper for the first two miles and then you have another mile or so of flat, and of course have to go uphill another quarter of a mile before you get all the way there.
Overall great hike!

backpacking
1 month ago

Extremely difficult but equally rewarding

backpacking
1 month ago

I never been hiking before but, this trail changed me. Greatest trail I’ve done within my two weeks of being in Colorado. It was difficult but, worth it.

VERY difficult hike!! But like with all of these alpine lakes, it’s 1000% worth it. But seriously, it’s extremely difficult and I highly recommend bringing a walking stick or trekking poles to help with the decent as some areas (especially the switchbacks) are pretty steep with loads of loose gravel. We saw a couple of very friendly folks along the way. Note that the trail head (509) is marked by a pole on the left of the road.

hiking
1 month ago

My favorite hike ever! I hiked to Ice Lake for the 3rd time on 7/19/18. The wildflowers were in full bloom and absolutely stunning. We hit the trail at 6am and it took us 2 hours and 45 minutes to reach Ice Lake, including many stops to take photos and catch our breath. The hike is very strenuous but worth every step Don't layer too much because the incline will have you sweating 10 minutes in. Absolutely make time to continue to Island Lake as well.

I hiked this trail on 7/21/18 and it’s probably one of the prettiest hike I’ve been on.
The weather was perfect at this time of the year but I would suggest to go as early as possible in the morning cause it usually thunderstorms in the afternoon. We got to the lake around 11, and the storm was already brewing so we didn’t get to stay as long as we wanted to. There are also different trails to lakes around the ice lake you could visit. There’s one particular one called island lake I wanted to visit but didn’t get to. Next time, though!

The lake was so so so beautiful. It was so blue. One of the guys jumped in the lake and said it was freezing.

The whole trail was pretty tough with the elevation gain but you don’t notice the difficulty cause every second of the trail had such an amazing view.
I would definitely do this trail again.
On the way up fresh wildflowers were blooming right and left. It felt like one of this magical Ireland hikes.
20/10 would recommend! :)

Great views nearly the entire time. Friendly hikers and good footing. Less strenuous than Columbine Lake but still a good workout.

If you have time for only one hike in the area and are in good shape, this or Columbine are it.

The water and views from the top are amazing. We are on a six month road trip across the US and Canada, and this is the most beautiful water we have seen.

Definitely more strenuous than Ice Lake. The beginning is all steep switch backs and a green tunnel.

Parking may be an issue. We drive an RV and parked at a pullout about a mile before the trailhead. A good idea for those without AWD/4WD.

on Ice Lake Basin Trail

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike with a few areas I consider difficult. A beautiful reward awaits you at the top!

hiking
1 month ago

The views are worth the climb! Beautiful! The trail keeps a consistent incline the whole way. The section from the lower to upper basin is definitely the most strenuous, but you're rewarded with the most amazing blue water once you get to the top. We started our hike around 7 am and reached the lake around 10 am. It took us about 5 hours round trip including stopping for pictures along the way and a snack break at the lake. I would definitely recommend starting before 8 am to beat the crowds - we passed a lot of people on our way down.

hiking
1 month ago

This is definitely my favorite hike ever. The trail is varied: it goes through a forest before getting above the tree line and opening up into tundra, and the lake is the most amazing alpine lake I've seen. It's easy to access (our Mazda did fine on the dirt road), and we got an early enough start (8am) that we had the lake to ourselves for a bit. We got caught in a hail storm that forced us back down the mountain, but it passed within 20 minutes.

hiking
1 month ago

The lake at the top is breathtaking & water is as blue as photos show. Got caught in 2 hailstorms throughout the course of the hike - one on the way down but weather was only deteriorating. Start this hike early. Once you hit the notch the trail flattens but before that prepare for a lot of incline, it is a very strenuous hike.

Amazing! Lots of people, but never felt crowded. 9 and 11 year old did great, but was a challenge for us all. It's worth taking a dive, the water is even more brilliant while wading. Just be sure to rest before you jump in, as it is aptly named and one wouldn't want to cramp up or induce a heart attack after a strenuous hike. A must do hike, we'll be back again!

backpacking
1 month ago

Absolutely incredible! Started from the Purgatory Trail to the Animas River Trail to Needle Creek Trail. The trails were easy to follow and well marked all the way up to Twin Lakes and on to the top of N. Eolus. The catwalk is obvious trailwise, a little intimidating but shouldn't be something you stop you in your tracks, just take your time. Some route finding on the way to the top to Eolus. I wouldn't even be able to tell you the way my group and I went up.

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