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    Island Lake via Ice Lakes Trail

    This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
    This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
    This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
    12.4 km
    This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
    817 m
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    Directions to Trailhead
    Island Lake via Ice Lakes Trail

    Hiking to Island Lake via Ice Lakes Trail is a popular outdoor activity in the San Juan Mountains that will allow you to experience truly stunning alpine scenery. While out on the trail, you will climb up the mountainside through serene forests and tranquil meadows, before taking in the beautiful mountain views from beside Island Lake. The parking area next to the trailhead does fill up extremely quickly, especially during peak hiking season, so be sure to arrive early enough to secure a space.

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    Route Description for Island Lake via Ice Lakes Trail

    Featuring some rugged mountain terrain and a good amount of elevation gain, the Island Lake via Ice Lakes Trail is a challenging, yet extremely popular, hiking route that will require some experience and fitness to traverse. Be sure to wear proper hiking boots to better navigate the trail. Additionally, you should observe leave no trace practices in order to protect the fragile landscape and ecosystem of this alpine area.

    Although there will certainly be plenty of other hikers along the trail, this is a wonderfully scenic trail that you won’t want to miss out on. The dramatic peaks of the San Juan Mountains and the turquoise waters of the various lakes in the Upper Ice Lakes Basin offer plenty of stunning scenery to look at, and the route itself features the perfect amount of difficulty to make it all feel like a supremely rewarding adventure.

    Setting out from the trailhead across the road from the South Mineral Campground, you will make your way to the northwest and enter into the dense cover of the forest. Here, you will work your way through the woodland landscape for 1.2 km, crossing over Clear Creek and traversing a series of switchbacks along the trail in order to arrive at Clear Creek Falls. Take some time here to experience the majesty of the waterfall, before continuing along the trail to the west.

    Here, you will arrive at a junction in the trail after 1.7 km of hiking through tree cover and scenic meadows, at which point, you will take the path on the right. Keeping left along the trail over the next 2.3 km, you will continue to climb uphill into the San Juan Mountains, taking in the beautiful alpine scenery as you work your way through the Lower Ice Lake Basin on the way to another junction in the trail.

    Taking the path on the right, you will pass by the shores of Ice Lake and continue gaining elevation through some rugged mountain terrain, eventually arriving at the wonderfully scenic shores of Island Lake. Take some time here to enjoy the breathtaking alpine views of the surrounding peaks and the turquoise waters of the lake with its small island in the center, before turning back along the trail for the return back into the trailhead where you began your adventure on the Island Lake via Ice Lakes Trail.

    Trail Highlights

    Ice Lakes Upper Basin

    Situated in an alpine setting close to the town of Silverton, Colorado, the Ice Lakes Upper Basin contains a series of stunning alpine lakes with strikingly blue water. The Ice, Fuller, Island, and Clear lakes are surrounded by several rugged peaks within the San Juan Mountains, making them an extremely popular outdoor destination thanks to the great hiking trail to reach them and the beautiful views. Due to this popularity, it is critical that hikers follow leave no trace practices to help maintain the natural beauty and integrity of the ecosystem.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Is swimming in Ice Lake allowed?

    While the water will be cold, hikers can take a refreshing swim in the waters of Ice Lake.

    Are there fish in Ice Lake?

    The crystal clear waters of Ice Lake make it one of the most beautiful in all of Colorado, and it is so clear that you can see the fish swimming several meters below the chilly surface of the water.

    Insider Hints for Island Lake via Ice Lakes Trail

    • This is a popular trail, so make sure to arrive early to secure parking.
    • Wear sturdy hiking boots with good support for this journey.
    • This hike is great when paired with a fun weekend of camping at the nearby South Mineral Campground.

    Getting to the Island Lake via Ice Lakes Trail Trailhead

    The starting point for the Island Lake via Ice Lakes Trail can be found at the Ice Lakes Trailhead, just next to the South Mineral Campground along Forest Service Road 585.

    Route Information

    • Backcountry Campground

      South Mineral Campground

    • When to do


    • Pets allowed


    • Family friendly


    • Route Signage


    • Crowd Levels


    • Route Type

      Out and back

    Island Lake via Ice Lakes Trail Elevation Graph

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    Island Lake via Ice Lakes Trail Reviews

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