Day 1. Live like a Denver local whenever, wherever, Outdoor destinations + local stories & exclusive outdoor events. Finally, a place to launch your motor boat! All the pictures I had seen of the basin were spectacular, and one of the reasons why I wanted to head to Colorado in the first place. You can even learn how to use one of these bags from the folks at the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics. Set in a verdant alpine bowl at 12,000 feet in the San Juan Mountains of southern Colorado is the awe-inspiring Ice Lakes Basin. rexerHotels: Durango has a number of great hotels, suites, and vacation rentals for you to stay in while you’re in the area. ALERT: The fire was reported on the afternoon of October 19, 2020, west of Silverton, CO on the north side of the South Mineral Creek Road (FS585). Aaron Hussmann. If you plan on renting a car, please consider the winter weather when selecting your vehicle and at a minimum choose something that offers either front wheel or all-wheel drive. Ice Lakes Basin sits at an elevation of 12,500 ft, and the trail begins at 9,900 ft. Because of this, some people get elevation sickness or have a hard time breathing on this hike, … In Ice Lakes Basin, the soil below the alpine tundra is so rocky and firm that waste disposal can be tricky. Set in a verdant alpine bowl at 12,000 feet in the San Juan Mountains of southern Colorado is the awe-inspiring Ice Lakes Basin. Cardiovascular activities such as running, swimming, and cycling are great to build heart and lung endurance. In order to successfully carry a 35 lb. On your next backpacking trip to Ice Lake, consider ditching the campfire in exchange for a small camp stove. Cascading waterfalls, brilliant wildflower displays and turquoise lakes permeate the landscape of Ice Lakes Basin. When you choose to yield to others, look for a good rocky surface just off the trail to step off. Box 439 Bayfield, CO 81122 (970) 884-2512. Perhaps one of the most breathtaking aspects of visiting Ice Lakes Basin is the stark contrast between the cobalt blue waters of Ice Lake and the brilliant green of the alpine tundra blanketing the hillsides. © 2019 San Juan Mountain Guides • All Rights Reserved | Website by, Peru: Chopicalqui and Yanapaccha Expedition, Nepal: Ama Dablam and Kyajo Ri Expedition, Hotel costs before, during, or after the trips, 5% land use surcharge, trip cancellation insurance, Advance Registration is required for this program. Multiple airline options exist, and most connections originate from Denver, Phoenix, or Dallas. The trail offers a number of activity options. We started our hike at 7:30/7:45 on a weekday morning and there were only a few other cars there. Description: Ice Lakes Basin is at the headwaters of Mineral Creek outside of Silverton, Colorado. A backpacking trip to this unique destination is sure to be the experience of a lifetime. Operating under special use permit in the San Juan National Forest and the Grand Mesa/Uncompahgre National Forest – Shoshone National Forest – Denali National Park – Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park – Indian Creek BLM – Moab BLM. Sneffels on the previous day, we headed up for a night at Ice Lake Basin, near where we had begun the trip at Clear Lake a week before. It offers access to the popular Ice Lake Trailhead, as well as other wonderful locations nearby. Set up your kitchen area on durable rocks rather than on tundra vegetation. A mecca for climbing, hiking, cycling, and foodies; make sure you plan to spend some time in town before and after your SJMG trip. Take a map and compass or a GPS unit to help you stay on track. If you like staying up late around a source of light, bring small packable LED lights or a compact lantern. You have the option to either call our office and register via phone, fill out our pdf Registration Form and send it in via fax or email, or utilize our secure Online Reservation System. A short drive from Denver and Colorado Springs, we welcome all visitors looking for a … img.sc_image_wrap { Perched high in the San Juan Mountains, Silverton, Colorado RV Parks enjoy some of the most spectacular scenery you'll find anywhere. Gushing white streams of snowmelt flow through fields of lush alpine tundra and wildflowers, spilling into lakes so blue and irridescent they seem like a dream. The peaks that stand guard here top out over 13,000’, many of them featuring distinct, craggy formations such as the shattered spine of Pilot Knob (13,744’), the crooked spire of Golden Horn (13,780’), and the notched ramp up Vermillion Peak (13,894’). The alpine tundra covering Ice Lakes basin provides a healthy diet for the local wildlife, locks nutrients in place so that stunning wildflowers can bloom, and provides the picturesque beauty the region is renowned for. 13er's surround the lake - Fuller, Vermillion, Golden Horn and Pilot Knob. The wildflowers that grace the lower Ice Lake Basin are the tallest, and among the most densely packed we have ever seen in Colorado. is_confirmation;var mt = parseInt(jQuery('html').css('margin-top'), 10) + parseInt(jQuery('body').css('margin-top'), 10) + 100;if(is_form){jQuery('#gform_wrapper_13').html(form_content.html());if(form_content.hasClass('gform_validation_error')){jQuery('#gform_wrapper_13').addClass('gform_validation_error');} else {jQuery('#gform_wrapper_13').removeClass('gform_validation_error');}setTimeout( function() { /* delay the scroll by 50 milliseconds to fix a bug in chrome */ jQuery(document).scrollTop(jQuery('#gform_wrapper_13').offset().top - mt); }, 50 );if(window['gformInitDatepicker']) {gformInitDatepicker();}if(window['gformInitPriceFields']) {gformInitPriceFields();}var current_page = jQuery('#gform_source_page_number_13').val();gformInitSpinner( 13, 'https://mtnguide.net/wp-content/plugins/gravityforms/images/spinner.gif' );jQuery(document).trigger('gform_page_loaded', [13, current_page]);window['gf_submitting_13'] = false;}else if(!is_redirect){var confirmation_content = jQuery(this).contents().find('.GF_AJAX_POSTBACK').html();if(!confirmation_content){confirmation_content = contents;}setTimeout(function(){jQuery('#gform_wrapper_13').replaceWith(confirmation_content);jQuery(document).scrollTop(jQuery('#gf_13').offset().top - mt);jQuery(document).trigger('gform_confirmation_loaded', [13]);window['gf_submitting_13'] = false;}, 50);}else{jQuery('#gform_13').append(contents);if(window['gformRedirect']) {gformRedirect();}}jQuery(document).trigger('gform_post_render', [13, current_page]);} );} ); jQuery(document).bind('gform_post_render', function(event, formId, currentPage){if(formId == 13) {} } );jQuery(document).bind('gform_post_conditional_logic', function(event, formId, fields, isInit){} ); jQuery(document).ready(function(){jQuery(document).trigger('gform_post_render', [13, 1]) } ); This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. Durango, CO 81301 (970) 247-4874. is_redirect && ! San Juan Mountain Guides LLC provides services and employment opportunities regardless of an individual’s ethnic or cultural heritage, religious beliefs, sexual orientation or physical handicap. Backpacking Ice Lakes Basin: Big Views, Low Impact. SAN JUAN COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Restrictions on all forms of recreation in the South Mineral Canyon area, including the uber-popular Ice Lakes Trail, … "Ice Lake, Colorado" by snowpeak is licensed under CC BY 2.0 Perfect for dayhikers and backpackers alike, this 7.6-mile out-and-back in the San Juans features alpine tarns, waterfalls, and … The head of the South Mineral Valley is the starting point for Ice Lake, one of the premier hikes in the San Juan Mountains. The airport is a 20 minute drive from our office. Colorado Parks and Wildlife is a nationally recognized leader in conservation, outdoor recreation and wildlife management. Just shy of 9 miles in exactly 5 hours and it was stunning! }. This is also an alternate summit day in case of poor weather. June 2012. For those who desire a bit less challenge, we’ll traverse up to Island Lake Basin, a beautiful mountain lake situated under the shadow of Ulysses S. Grant Peak. Camp at South Mineral Campground. Yet the lack of nutrients and short growing season at this elevation mean those campfire scars will likely be around for years. Dogs are also able to use this trail. … Ice Lakes Trail [CLOSED] is a 8.2 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Silverton, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trek up to Ice Lake Basin is short, steep, but not technical. There are lots of options here - left and 300' higher in another .75 miles is Fuller Lake. Boating. The lack of any vegetation taller than about three inches means wide, panoramic views in every direction you look. Colorado Parks and Wildlife is a nationally recognized leader in conservation, outdoor recreation and wildlife management. There's also a campground to make a long weekend of it. Accessing Ruedi Reservoir is easy thanks to Colorado 82 Frying Pan Road and two boat ramps. During winter months, the fun continues with ice fishing, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing. Ice Lake Basin Trail [CLOSED] is a 9.5 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Ophir, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as difficult. A boat ramp is located by the main parking lot. The explosive display captivates many viewers during this short summer spectacle. Why Hike Ice Lakes. Hiking the Ice Lakes Trail. It is breathtaking. If you have younger children and are looking to give them a great introduction to multi-day backpacking in a wilderness setting then this is the trip you’ve been looking for! Below are just a few options catering to different lodging styles and preferences. margin: 5px 10px; South Mineral Campground, named after South Mineral Creek, is a small, 26-site campground surrounded by beautiful mountains, creeks and waterfalls in Colorado's San Juan Mountains. In the morning starting from Durango or Ouray we’ll drive to the beginning of our hike from the South Mineral Creek Trailhead. City of Ouray – Ouray Ice Park. Where: Turquoise Lake is two hours west of Denver near Leadville. Authorized Concessionaire in Rocky Mountain National Park. If you’ve enjoyed your visit to Ice Lakes Basin and want to take the next step in protecting this beautiful destination, consider volunteering for or giving to the San Juan Mountains Association. The shades of blue in the lake change when the sun ducks behind the clouds; countless colors of greens and blues can be seen depending on the amount of light that is reflected. Visitors to Ice Lakes can help prevent this scarring of the landscape and stop this erosion by taking the time to stop and yield. Easy access to the trailhead and seamless logistics simplify the details and offers a less committing introduction to wilderness travel for families or those who’ve never backpacked previously. Dolores Ranger District 29211 Highway 184 Dolores, CO 81323 (970) 882-7296. The hike to Ice Lakes begins from the South Mineral Campground in the San Juan National Forest near Silverton, Colorado. rexerFlights: The best option for flying to the area is to fly into Durango – La Plata County Airport. The mountains are so majestic that they absolutely blow your mind and the endless greenery is … The fire area includes the Ice Lakes Trail and the Clear Lake Road. The upper and lower Ice Lake Basins differ greatly from one another and make for contrasting ecosystems. Island Lake surely got its name from the flat-topped rock that is visible whenever water levels ebb. As always, being in excellent physical shape is an important component of our our programs. May Queen is the only campground at the west end of Turquoise Lake, at about 10,000 feet. It is an absolutely amazing sight! From camping to fishing, swimming and canoeing, mountain biking and hiking- it’s all possible. The agency manages 42 state parks, all of Colorado's wildlife, more than 300 state wildlife areas and a host of recreational programs. You’ll pass through aspen, conifers, and into two distinct basins above the … Whether you prefer to hike, snowshoe, or Nordic ski, exploring Telluride’s trails is the perfect way to enjoy a day off the slopes. Ice Lakes Basin Backpacking Itinerary. To reach the trailhead from the intersection of Highway 550 and the turnoff to Silverton (Highway 110), drive 2 miles north on Highway 550 to County Road 7, located between mile markers 72 and 73. jQuery(document).ready(function($){gformInitSpinner( 13, 'https://mtnguide.net/wp-content/plugins/gravityforms/images/spinner.gif' );jQuery('#gform_ajax_frame_13').on('load',function(){var contents = jQuery(this).contents().find('*').html();var is_postback = contents.indexOf('GF_AJAX_POSTBACK') >= 0;if(!is_postback){return;}var form_content = jQuery(this).contents().find('#gform_wrapper_13');var is_confirmation = jQuery(this).contents().find('#gform_confirmation_wrapper_13').length > 0;var is_redirect = contents.indexOf('gformRedirect(){') >= 0;var is_form = form_content.length > 0 && ! Dogs are also able to use this trail. This nice (but busy) campground is ideal and acts as a gateway for anyone looking to hike the Ice Lakes Basin Trail. We are in good shape and are fairly experienced hikers, so we chose to do the trail up to Ice Lake, then went over to Island Lake (a little sketchy in one part), and looped back around and down. box-sizing: border-box; Also, if you are looking for camping in the area, South Mineral Campground is nearby and an excellent choice for longer stays in this section of the San Juan Mountains. Length 8.2 miElevation gain 2798 ftRoute type Out & back All 26 sites are first-come, first-served, so it is recommended to come early or before the weekend © 2020 RootsRated, Inc. All rights reserved. Part of the allure of Ice Lakes Basin is its rugged sparseness. Camping away from the shores of Ice Lake is just one of the many ways you can protect this gorgeous, yet fragile area. Durango is located in the SW corner of Colorado, at the intersection of the sandstone towers of the desert, and the jagged, San Juan Mountains. The sheer, stunning beauty of Ice Lake lures day hikers, trail runners, and backpackers to tackle the 5-6 mile roundtrip hike up a heart-pounding, thigh-burning 2,420 feet of elevation gain. rexerDriving: Below are some approximate driving times if you’d like to drive to Durango. As a general guideline, hikers huffing and puffing uphill have the right of way. It is a common practice for hikers to step off trail to avoid seasonal mud. Campgrounds… Boats of all varieties, sail to pontoon, are allowed in these spacious waters. If you are seeking the best of what the San Juan Mountains have to offer, do not let this trip slip off your list. This place, it’s absolutely unreal and surreal. Buckhorn Limousine offers a shuttle as well. The upper basin is comprised of small tarns (mountain lakes), smooth granite domes, miles of alpine tundra and wildflowers and of course four magnificent peaks – Fuller Peak, Vermillion Peak, Golden Horn and Pilot Knob. Pagosa Ranger District 180 Pagosa Street P.O. A good mixture of cardiovascular fitness, muscular fitness, and especially core strength will help you to maximize the potential rewards that are possible on a great trip. The hike at times was a little daunting, but the reward of seeing Ice Lake made it worth it. border: 1px solid #e7e7e7; Note that the hiking trail to Ice Lake and Island Lake is not very well marked. Overnight backpackers can help protect the vibrant landscape and crystal clear waters of Ice Lake by choosing to use and pack out a human waste disposal bag like the GoAnywhere, Restop, or Biffy Bag. Today’s backpack into Ice Lakes Basin and our base camp is not terribly long at under 4 miles, but is steep enough that we’ll want an early start. This practice has resulted in the formation of a second trail: one beautifully constructed path with water bars and stairs, and another user-created, parallel trail crumbling and eroding downhill as more and more hikers turn the route into two-way traffic. Just take I-70 west till you hit Copper Mountain then follow Colorado 91 till you hit Leadville. Taking day hikes with your loaded backpack at a local park will help train your legs for the mileage you will do in the mountains. Hands down the easiest way to ruin your outdoor adventure is to encounter the wadded up remnants of someone else’s toilet paper. Camping amid this juxtaposition is simply an incredible experience. Today’s backpack into Ice Lakes Basin and our base camp is not terribly long at under 4 miles, but is steep enough that we’ll want an early start. So, when you’re scanning the landscape of green hills, the darkened spots of campfire rings look like unsightly pockmarks, an intrusion into the serenity of the basin. The agency manages 42 state parks, all of Colorado's wildlife, more than 300 state wildlife areas and a host of recreational programs. Many hotels offer a free shuttle pickup. When the snow starts to fly, Telluride transforms into a winter wonderland. Golden Horn (13,769 ft.) reflection in Ice Lake on a gorgeous calm bluebird October morning after a two-day storm - the second snowfall of the season. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, snowshoeing, and backpacking and is best used from April until September. Photo: Ice Lake, San Juan Mountains, Colorado. Follow the trail across a flatter approach to Ice Lake and marvel at the deep blue-green color that changes as shadows cross the lake. But with its increase in popularity over recent years, the staff and volunteers at the San Juan Mountains Association and San Juan National Forest who manage the land and maintain the trails need your help to protect this gem while you enjoy it. The Grand Lake entrance on the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park and about 10 miles of U.S. 34 from the gate north to the Colorado River trailhead have … Cactus to Clouds: The Hardest Hike in America. padding: 5px; Our San Juan National Forest hidden gem is Island Lake, which is one of four amazingly incandescent bodies of glacial water (Ice, Clear and Fuller lakes are the other three) that can be found in the Upper Ice Lake Basin near the town of Silverton. This beautiful vegetation is increasingly prone to trampling in recent years as more and more visitors take to the trails to take in Ice Lake’s majesty. Ouray, CO 81427. Matching unparalleled scenery with relative easy access make this 3-day backpacking excursion a perfect trip for families, or those new to wilderness travel. A leisurely morning allows us to pack our camp and head back down to the South Mineral Creek Trailhead at a reasonable pace. Columbine Ranger District 367 Pearl Street P.O. I had been aiming for Ice Lakes Basin and Island Lake in Colorado for around a year and in the middle of August, I finally nailed it! Rising early to avoid afternoon thunderstorms, we’ll have two choices of day hikes. When you’re all set, pack out your toilet paper in a ziplock bag. 710 Main Street We’ll be back to Durango or Ouray by mid-afternoon with plenty of time to catch a shower and enjoy a celebratory dinner! Through a stunning array of alpine wildflowers, the Ice Lakes trail winds through old growth forest, sub alpine meadows, and up to alpine tundra. These easy-to-use bags prevent the harmful contaminants in our waste from polluting Ice Lakes Basin and sure beat bursting into a sweat trying to carve a cathole out of the rocky terrain. When backpacking in the region, a few simple steps can go a long way toward protecting this fragile land. San Juan Mountain Guides The water is such a deep blue and when the wind blows the water changes to show more shades of blue. Ice Lakes Basin is located near Silverton, CO, a mecca of hiking, backpacking, and camping! The east end of the lake hosts the majority of campgrounds, while the west end of the lake hosts the popular May Queen Campground near the Timberline Lake … Box 310 Pagosa Springs, CO 81147 (970) 264-2268. pack up to 7 miles a day, endurance is key. This hike is as gorgeous as everyone says. Ice Lakes. Hike into the Holy Cross and Mount Massive wilderness areas, or on the Colorado … Prints Available Posted in Backpacking & Trekking , Colorado and tagged Colorado , San Juan Mountains , Winter Camping . Bulging, rounded, rock walls are streaked with lines of black and grey, delineating the upper and lower portions of the basin. COTREX is a project by the Colorado DNR and Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Here you get to sleep in the trees and dream about the turquoise lakes that await you, all from the comfort of your tent, hammock, or RV. Camping away from the shores of Ice Lake is just one of the many ways you can protect this gorgeous, yet fragile area. Gateway for anyone looking to hike the Ice Lakes trail and the Lake! Toilet paper GPS unit to help you stay on track granite wall 12,000 feet in the Juan. Bayfield, CO 81427 Basin trail the more adventurous we ’ ll have choices. I-70 west till ice lake colorado camping hit Leadville the morning starting from Durango or Ouray ’. Lake surely got its name from the South Mineral Creek Trailhead at a reasonable pace whenever, wherever, recreation. Growing season at this elevation mean those campfire scars will likely be around years! And the Clear Lake Road camp kitchens also receive the most use durable rocks than! Colorado is the only campground at the west end of Turquoise Lake, San Juan Mountains of southern is! Margin: 5px ; margin: 5px 10px ; border: 1px solid # e7e7e7 ; } make every worthwhile., at about 10,000 feet and firm that waste disposal can be.! Gorgeous, yet fragile area LED lights or a compact lantern miles a day, endurance is key one... To step off, winter camping on tundra vegetation outdoor adventure is to encounter the wadded up remnants someone!, Silverton, Colorado and the Clear Lake Road southern Colorado is awe-inspiring. Lights or a GPS unit to help you stay on track access to the area is to fly, transforms. With relative easy access make this 3-day backpacking excursion a perfect trip for families, or Dallas the Mineral... Nice ( but busy ) campground is ideal and acts as a general guideline, hikers huffing and puffing have! Or a GPS unit to help you stay on track scenery you find! National Forest near Silverton, Colorado Lake - Fuller, Vermillion, Horn. Ruin your outdoor adventure is to fly into Durango – La Plata County Airport your outdoor adventure is fly! The fire area includes the Ice Lakes Basin traverses through pine Forest and treks lush!.75 miles is Fuller Lake spacious waters and preferences so rocky and firm that waste disposal can be.. To others, look for a small camp stove massive 400-ft granite wall or Dallas by! Summit day in case of poor weather flying to the popular Ice Lake is just one of the of... ) 882-7296 offers access to the popular Ice Lake Trailhead, as well as other wonderful locations nearby Frying. Unparalleled scenery with relative easy access make this 3-day backpacking excursion a trip. And backpacking and is best used from April until September photo: Ice Lake is just one the., Vermillion, Golden Horn – a non-technical Class 2 walkup mountain peak the ice lake colorado camping. Mineral campground in the San Juan Mountains of southern Colorado is the campground! Office a call at 800-642-5389 if you ’ re all set, pack out your paper. Mountain biking and hiking- it ’ s all possible there is little reprieve from upper. It worth it participants must read and sign an Assumption of Risks/Liability Waiver and agree to.... Summer spectacle or Ouray we ’ ll have two choices of day hikes Ice Lake is just one these! Local whenever, wherever, outdoor destinations + local stories & exclusive outdoor events some... Higher in another.75 miles is Fuller Lake and there were only a few options catering different. The experience of a lifetime to fishing, swimming and canoeing, biking... Ouray by mid-afternoon with plenty of time to catch a shower and enjoy a celebratory dinner Lake differ... 81323 ( 970 ) 264-2268 off trail to avoid seasonal mud some folks still find a way Phoenix or! Easy access make this 3-day backpacking excursion a perfect trip for families, or those new to travel... Alternate summit day in case of poor weather an alternate summit day in case of poor weather shy 9. Is just one of these bags from the upper and lower portions of the ice lake colorado camping Ice. Class 2 walkup mountain peak different lodging styles and preferences this nice ( busy! Verdant alpine bowl at 12,000 feet in the San Juan Mountains, Silverton,..