Your email address will not be published. There was still snow by Island lake when we visited in August. Tucked away in the San Juan National Forest, Island Lake is one of four bright blue lakes that hikers trek to in the Upper Ice Lake Basin. The best views really do come after the hardest cl I‘M very new to hiking and backpacking and most of the pictures I’ve seen do make it look like the area near the lakes is very exposed. We camped on the top of the hill facing northwest at Island Lake and had one neighbor the first day, and only four other campers around the lake (but none next to us) the second night – that’s pretty amazing for a Saturday night on Labor Day weekend! The hike up to Ice Lake and Island Lake in Colorado's San Juan Mountains is truly an amazing one. Island Lake hosts two campgrounds (Island Lake & Little Bear) and is very close to the Grand Mesa Visitor Center so chances are, if you spend any time on Grand Mesa you will find yourself visiting Island Lake. Leading hikers to one of the most scenic lakes in the area the Lake Charles Trail follows East Brush Creek from the Fulford Cave parking area. Take the U.S. Forest Service Road 585 to South Mineral Campground. A side trip to Fuller Lake to the south adds about 1.75 miles round trip and 335′ elevation gain. Required fields are marked *, ✨New Blog Post: Hike Iron Mountain via Heaton Fl Turquoise blue Ice Lake sits in a magnificent cirque amid subalpine tundra dotted with wildflowers. The colors seem surreal, a beautiful turquoise lake, surrounded by high peaks. Island Lake is often hiked in combination with Ice Lake and Fuller Lake but due to its unique beauty it is also hiked by itself as a primary destination. Pay attention to whom your energy increases and de Island Lake sits in a small cirque directly beneath Ulysses S Grant Peak, and is made especially pretty by the small island right at the center. When the snow starts to fly, Telluride transforms into a winter wonderland. Enjoy either a … The Island Lake Trail is located in Lamoille Canyon in the Ruby Mountains of northeastern Nevada. Definitely recommend you check the weather updates as your trip gets closer though. Take a hike. But some volunteer rangers were talking about banning camping up there in the future because the area is a tundra being destroyed by camping footprints so try to camp in areas that have previously been camped on. The grade now abates as the trail traverse alpine tundra for the final quarter mile to Ice Lake (12,270-ft.). I’ve learned that two people can look at the exa The lake sits in a basin at the foot of Ulysses S. Grant Peak (13,767). Jackie, Juno and I hiked up to the Ice Lakes & Island Lake in late September 2018. Whether you prefer to hike, snowshoe, or Nordic ski, exploring Telluride’s trails is the perfect way to enjoy a day off the slopes. three island lake and north lake hiking trail guide, Mount Zirkel Wilderness Area guidebook Colorado information, hiking, backpacking, fishing, hunting, horse packing, horseback riding,and camping information for Mount Zirkel Wilderness, Routt National Forest, Steamboat Springs and Walden Colorado, hiking, backpacking, camping, horse packing, horseback riding trail maps and pictures in … The trail is 1.9 miles each way with a net elevation gain of 940 feet and terminates at Island Lake at just over 9,700 feet in elevation. [Day 3] After catching the sunrise, we packed up at 7:45 am [Sunday, Sept 1] and headed to Ice Lake before looping off the mountain. Dogs are also able to use this trail. Most people go to Ice Lakes…I don’t know why. Pack a bag. I kid you not, I’ve never taken so many breaks in my life. Words can not describe how gorgeous and pristine it DIFFICULTY RATING: Moderate below timberline; strenuous to alpine lakes. DIRECTIONS: Island Lake is located along Hwy 65 (Grand Mesa Scenic Byway), 23 miles south of the town of Mesa, CO or 16 miles north of Cedaredge, CO. Based on GPS measurements, the trail gains over 2,600-ft. and loses almost 1,600-ft. on its way to Island Lake. Island Lake Via Ice Lakes Trail [CLOSED] is a 7.2 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Ophir, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as difficult. Your email address will not be published. The lake has a boat ramp, wheelchair accessible fishing pier and fish cleaning station. We woke up to the heat of the sun but stepped outside to the chill mountain air, spent the entire day hanging out at camp, enjoying the lake from all sides, had a snowball fight, and even paddled to the island in the lake on my new packraft (definitely worth hauling up)! To reach Island Lake, head west from Silverton on Hwy. From the Ice Lakes basin Trailhead, this 8 mile round trip trail with 3000 feet of elevation gain will bring you to the Ice Lakes Basin with an abundance of beautiful lakes, especially Island Lake and Ice Lake. Alas, no midday espresso either, unless you pack it in: Island Lake is 4.2 miles from the nearest trailhead. Island Lake is a thirty minute hike from the trailhead and sits high and to the west of the Reservoir. If you’re new to Colorado hiking, know that this state presents some unique … Set up camp. To be honest though, I’m constantly on the go, always moving, and got very restless spending all day in one place. We somehow got lucky and saw less than a handful of tents for the holiday weekend, but when we hiked out of Ice Lake, there were a ton of campers. Trail time: 3:00 Highlights: Scenic Alpine Setting, East Brush Creek, Fishing, Camping, Spectacular Sunsets, Lake Charles, Mystic Island Lake. From there, a steep, four-mile hike with a 3,000-foot elevation gain leads you into the basin. The weather at night hit a low of 38 degrees but the day time got as warm as high 60s/ low 70s… it was just a super windy weekend. BLACK CANYON OF THE GUNNISON NATIONAL PARK, SAND CREEK MASSACRE NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE. Date Hiked: July 17, 2020Distance: Up to 2 mi (RT)Elevation Gain: MinimalElevation: 10,260 ftTrailhead Lat/Long: West TH = 39.03284, -108.00251Managing Agency: U.S. Forest Service​Fee: Yes, (Blue path indicates path actually hiked. Follow the trail around the lake to the right and find a rock for an Instagram-worthy photo. Follow on Instagram. The left trail climbs to Ice Lake Basin with up-and-down sections and a massive waterfall. Start at Brainard Lake and make your way up the valley to Lake Isabelle where you’ll have views of the Isabelle Glacier – a permanent snowfield. Thank you so much! The western Trailhead is located next … The trail is primarily used for hiking, rock climbing, and snowshoeing and is best used from April until September. Yes, you can camp at either lake for now and do not need a permit. Thank you, Cait! We started our hike at 7:30/7:45 on a weekday morning and there were only a few other cars there. 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. No storms while we were there, but so darn windy all weekend. It may be even one of the prettiest hikes in the entire state. Island Lake is a peaceful and pleasant place to pass a sunny afternoon with swimming, gazing into the tree tops of giant firs and lounging on the rocks watching wildlife. Thank you so so much for sharing all of this! Most people hike clockwise to Ice lake first and then Island lake after, but my friend recommended we go counter-clockwise first to Island Lake to get all the elevation over with which I’m glad we did. Island Lake is located just north of Ice Lake in the San Juan National Forest near Silverton, Colorado. Don’t forget to pack it out! The trail is fully exposed from the junction up to Island Lake since it … PS – it’s very exposed and hard to find a covered area to use the restroom… but where there’s a will, there’s a way. It’s so much that we even saw some tents pitched on them. ✨New Blog Post: Hike Iron Mountain via Heaton Fl, I’ve learned that two people can look at the exa, The best views really do come after the hardest cl, Pay attention to whom your energy increases and de, Sweet success☺️ I finally hiked Iron Mountain, Getting antsy for another Southwest adventure... b, Giveaway✨ because it’s the most wonderful time, Pack a bag. As you walk toward the lake note the faint trail climbing the grassy slope on your right (north). The right turn continues the steady incline for a 1,000-foot gain in a mile, bringing you to Island Lake. The trail over is short, only 30 minutes (shorter if you don’t stop for all the photos of the wildflowers) and all downhill from Island Lake to Ice Lake. If you prefer a densely treed campsite, just head for the lower Island Lake is located at 10,866 ft. elevation (336 ft. lower). Red path is an estimation of the remainder of the trail.). At Ice Lake you'll see some of the bluest water around, and at Island Lake, one of the most unique lake formations in Colorado. Ice Lake has to be one of the most spectacular destinations for the hiker that wants an experience to remember. One of the prettiest places in Southwestern Colorado was hiked by our friend Bebe, from The River Club. Or a map that you can get to help guide the way? A 19-mile loop veering north off the West Branch on the connecting Rawah Trail explores the many area lakes and returns on Camp Lake Trail. The volunteer ranger at the trailhead actually recommended we camp down at a lower basin such as Ice Lake to help preserve the tundra, but we wanted to camp away from the dozen-plus tents we knew would be here and I think where we camped was actually on less vegetation than many of the tents at Ice Lake. Located at the end of a remote valley in the Holy Cross Wilderness, this lake doesn’t easily give up its secrets. If so, what did you do for food storage? The more intrepid can try for Arthur Lake, another deep haunt of large cutthroats, by … Set up camp. 116. … I don’t think they’re known for bears there but you can call the ranger stations. 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. An exquisite sampler is the 14-mile out-and-back hike from West Branch trailhead to Island and Carey lakes. Trail Summary: Ice Lake & Island Lake are a pair of high alpine lakes located just outside of Silverton, Colorado. We didn’t stay at this lake very long since we wanted to jump on another trail for our last night in the San Juan Mountains, so we were on our way within half an hour after a quick snack, and got off the trail from Ice Lake to the parking lot in just under two hours. Getting antsy for another Southwest adventure... b Hi Kira, I don’t know how the bear situation is there right now, didn’t have any issues when I went. The Island Lakes trail (#1857) begins near Crescent and Mackinaw Lakes and climbs over a mountain pass offering great views of the three Island Lakes below. Thanks for sharing- this hiking trip looks awesome! The trail is fully exposed from the junction up to Island Lake since it climbs above the tree line. Check conditions (snowfields may persist through June, though unlikely this year) and head out on the Ice Lakes Trail past its namesake basin, which should be filled with an array of blooms in summer, near mile 2. Did you catch any afternoon storms while you were there? Ice Lake is one of the gems of Colorado with its bright blue, almost Carribean looking, water. It doesn’t help that I packed an extra 6 lb of packraft weight either… I was hurting. This lake with a unique island, is in its own cirque surrounded by U.S. Grant Peak and its ridges. There are two trailheads, the eastern is located just to the east of the road to Cobbett Lake. Most people hike clockwise to Ice lake first and then Island lake after, but my friend recommended we go counter-clockwise first to Island Lake to get all the elevation over with which I’m glad we did. Hello! Island has some truly large cutthroats in its depths and sits in a spectacular cirque right at treeline. Mosquitoes are … 10,640-ft. at High point above Island Lake 10,410-ft. at Island Lake Note: There is a lot of up and down along this trail. Just shy of 9 miles in exactly 5 hours and it was stunning! The 144-acre Island Lake is located 0.1 miles east of the campground on Forest Rt. It may be one of the prettiest lakes on the Grand Mesa. Once the trail starts to really flatten out, you know you’re about five minutes away from the beautiful turquoise lake. This hike is commonly hiked from June – October since snow will make this a much more challenging (and potentially less beautiful) hike. Island Lake is phenomenal. This blog is only for the highlight trail of the trip: Island Lake and Ice Lake in San Juan National Forest. It is also a very busy lake, don't hike this trail looking for solitude. You’ll reach a waterfall one mile in and have another mile to go before you reach the junction that splits off to Ice lake and Island lake. Ice Lake exceeded my expectations – the blue hue in the deep section of the lake and the aqua color of the shoreline were unreal… the morning reflection of the rainbow-colored mountain from all the wildflowers made it all more surreal. To give you an idea of how much this trail kicked my butt, my Garmin Fenix tracker recorded the total one way hike time to directly to Island Lake to be 2:42 hr, but only 1:09 hr of actual moving time. The hike to Island Lake via Ice Lake Trail is 3.23 miles directly from the parking lot near Silverton, CO. For Labor Day weekend, August 29 – Sept 2, 2019, I took a little road trip to finally hike in the San Juan Mountains. Colorado Hiking Tips. You touched upon it slightly but I’m really wondering how to go when nature calls without any tree cover or shade for some privacy. In addition to that, were there a lot of tents around ice lake when you went there? Vanessa was so patient and even offered to hold my hand… those are the type of friends I’m extremely grateful to have in the mountains <3. The first part is hiking amongst the trees to the lower basin, which is where you’ll find the split that takes you to Island Lake or Ice Lakes Basin proper. This hike is as gorgeous as everyone says. Hi Anila, I’m glad you find this blog post helpful 🙂 There was zero coverage to pop a squat near Island Lake, it’s a little hilly and some medium-sized boulders you can try to hide behind but you’re still very exposed and there’s no escaping that. The unmarked but clear junction is about 2.2 miles from the trailhead and quickly climbs on a narrow dirt path for awhile on the side of the mountain before heading in through the mountains more where you’ll get your first water source (around 4:06 pm for me). There was just one really sketchy section of the ridge that’s narrow with a lot of loose little rocks and my fear of heights, or more like my fear of slipping and falling, got the better of me and I crawled. 550 (also known as the Million Dollar Highway). The biggest lake of the upper basin is reached by a 0.6 mile side trail that forks north just before Ice Lake, crossing a sloping hillside, round a rocky point then descending slightly to the shore. Yes the trail is very straightforward for the whole loop! Ice Lake and Island Lake are gorgeous high-alpine mountain lakes located near our neighboring town of … When the sun was out, the temps were perfect, but when the clouds took over (which was often), the chill came. The two upper lakes are situated on thinly forested bench. Were there some spots that were covered? [Day 1] We arrived Friday [Aug 30] around noon, started hiking by 1:52 pm and arrived at the majestic Island Lake 4:32 pm. A side trip to Island Lake to the northeast adds about 1.12 miles round trip and 130′ elevation gain. After traveling for one full day and the strenuous hike up with my packraft… it seemed like the right choice. & Take a wal, Colorful canyons and sunset on the mountains make, Resource Guide for How to Plan An Epic Backpacking Trip, Short Hike to a Swimming Hole in Stoddard Canyon, 3 Hikes in Lake Arrowhead: Plan a Weekend Getaway, Hike to Bighorn Peak in Angeles National Forest. It was so informative reading your post!I’m planning to do this trip around the same time you did it , 8/28-8/29. Island Lake supports a small population of Brook trout. This is 1.7 miles from the TH and about a 1,600-foot elevation gain. It is moderately difficult, clocking in right at 8 miles with a total 3,000 feet of elevation gain, but the waterfalls, fantastic lakes, and wonderful views below and above the tree line are absolutely fantastic. But it was nice to learn to slow down a little and just enjoy my surroundings. We were expecting the trail to be very crowded because it’s a major holiday weekend which would have sucked after traveling from 850 miles away, but we were pleasantly surprised and had almost the entire place to ourselves in the evenings. Island Lake itself is truly spectacular and one of the best hikes in Colorado, in my humble opinion as a resident of 21 years. Island Lake is a magnificent sight. Few lakes have a more intriguing name than Mystic Island Lake. The trail starts at the South Mineral Campground and heads straight into the forest at a steady ascent. I want to do this hike/camping soon, do you know if bears are an issue to be worried about at all? Sweet success☺️ I finally hiked Iron Mountain The hike is a steady climb within a fairly narrow valley. One Colorado destination known for its jaw-dropping beauty is Island Lake in Southwest Colorado near Silverton. After setting up our campsite upon arrival, we had an early dinner, watched the sunset and early bedtime. This trail leads to Island Lake. From here, I went to Island Lake first. In the summer, this is one of the best and easiest lake hikes in Colorado. The return hike is fast as the first 3.25 miles are downhill, but don’t forget to save some energy for the 3.25 mile climb from the South Fork Smith back to the trailhead. An amazing 8.4 mile round trip hike will take you up the 2,552-ft. to Island Lake. The hike to Ice Lakes begins from the South Mineral Campground in the San Juan National Forest near Silverton, Colorado. The entire mountain was covered with wildflowers everywhere! Giveaway✨ because it’s the most wonderful time Take a hike. Lake Isabelle is one of the best winter hikes in Colorado (add about five miles round trip for the winter hike). Difficulty: strenuous; Basecamp: Elkhart Park / Big Sandy; Region: Wyoming's Wind River Range Is there a distinct path to hike to ice lake and island lake? [Day 2: Sat 8/31] For the second day, we were thinking about day hiking to Ice Lake, but it took so much effort and energy to make it to Island lake which I’ve been wanting to see for years that we decided to have my very first ever zero-day in the mountains at just enjoy Island Lake. It’s such a gem of a place 😀 Hope you’re able to make it out to see it for yourself. It’s definitely more open, flatter, and easier to find camping spots at ice vs island.