Ice Lakes Trail
Ice Lakes Trail
5
About
This breathtaking hike can be done in a day: 3.5 miles one way that takes hikers from 9,900 feet to over 12,200 feet, with many steep switchbacks, waterfalls and sweeping views along the way.
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing

Top ways to experience nearby attractions

The area
Best nearby
We rank these restaurants and attractions by balancing reviews from our members with how close they are to this location.
Attractions
3 within 6 miles
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

5.0
98 reviews
Excellent
86
Very good
10
Average
0
Poor
0
Terrible
2

Shane H
Arlington, TX51 contributions
Aug 2020
You probably need to get there early, not only for parking, but to have time to make it up to Island Lake. We had sun, rain, sleet, hail, wind, and calm all in the same 5 hours on the trail. I cannot wait to do it again.
Written September 9, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

julie d
Dallas, TX23 contributions
Jul 2023 • Couples
These two 69 year old Texans accepted the challenge! Hiked through streams and snow fields to reach Ice Lake. The mosquitoes swarmed us so insect repellent recommended! Waterfalls galore! Ashamed to admit it took us 8 hours round trip. But we took our time intentionally. The views are panoramic! Our dog loved it!
Written July 12, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

cwood
9 contributions
Jun 2022 • Family
The hike was totally worth it. I had to stop and take breaks cause of the altitude. This hike is hard if your not in some kind of shape. Total round trip 7 miles. My family and I did this hike in 5 1/2 hours. Take water and snacks.
Written June 28, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

DarkLark15
Austin, TX195 contributions
Aug 2019 • Couples
We are mostly sedentary, 45-50 years old, relatively unhealthy, and live at about 700 ft elevation. It took us 11 hours to ice lake, island lake, and back. We struggled to breathe a lot but found the inclines and the hikes to be pretty easy. The entire hike had always rewarded us with amazing views, and we got two lakes for the price of one. It took us only 20 minutes to island lake from ice lake (go right and cross a stream). There was a constant threat of storms, but we weren’t turning around. There were campers at ice lake and island lake. I’m afraid of heights, and I was scared once on the ice lake trail and twice on the island lake trail...nothing too bad though. We saw many wildflowers going to ice lake and many marmots going to island lake. There were places to use the bathroom along the trail, at ice lake (behind boulders), and island lake (boulders). The park and trails are well maintained. Trekking poles were helpful.
Finding the trail head from the parking lot was easy. There was plenty of parking at 9:30 am. People parked around the perimeter of the parking lot and the side of the road. There was a restroom in the parking lot. The trail is obvious, although not always marked. There are tons of people that hike it at all hours. Side trails are 2 ft wide. The main trail is 4 ft wide. Tips: bring water, snacks, rain gear, trekking poles, a light. Also, travel light. In conclusion, we handled ice lakes well probably due to having adjusted to the altitude, using oxygen canisters, inhalers, and traveling with light day packs. We weren’t that sore afterward either. We were just tired. Also, There are no pages in the trail register. We saw people hiking even around dark though. We are from Texas and we’re hot the entire time. The creek crossings weren’t bad enough to need water shoes unless it’s raining. The water is ice cold. You must do island lake. If you can't camp at South Mineral then stay in Silverton.
Written August 9, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Dana S
Rockford, MI35 contributions
Jul 2016 • Couples
My husband and I did this hike in July 2016. This was our first legitimate mountain hike, and I have to say that I cannot imagine a better hike! It was challenging for us as we don't normally do this rigorous of hiking and we are flatlanders, but with lots of breaks, we made it to the top...and then on to Island Lake. The trailhead is several miles down a dirt road, but there was a decent size parking area and lots of places you could park along the road if need be. The trail started off at what I'd consider a nice, moderate hike. There's a waterfall near the beginning that you have to cross over on logs, followed by a hike through the woods ending at the top of said waterfall (great photo op if you take the little trail that goes straight to the falls!). The trail alternated between some meadows and woods and at one point opened up into this beautiful expanse of the San Juan mountains and gave me that first awestruck experience of literally being in/on the mountain range surrounded by the grandeur of the mountain peaks. About 1/3 of the way through, the trail goes back into the woods for some very steep switchbacks which seemed to last forever (bring your trekking poles!). We took lots of short pauses on this part to catch our breaths and give our legs a break. After the switchbacks, the trail leads into the lower basin, which was beautiful and mostly flat. It made a great stop for lunch. A good number of wildflowers scattered the area -- lots of Columbine! There are waterfalls EVERYWHERE it seems in this area, with lots of streams flowing down the peaks. The water is crystal clear. There were a couple of larger streams that had to be crossed -- one was particularly challenging with a pretty fast current and not too many rocks to hop. But, we made it without getting wet. After that, the steep climbing starts again and continues until you reach Ice Lake. There was still snow on the ground in July as we approached the lake. Ice Lake was absolutely stunning and photos cannot do it justice. It was Caribbean blue and sparkling in the sunlight. Being fresh snowmelt, it's also freezing and the breeze sweeping over the lake made it a bit chilly up there. We decided to make the final ascent to Island Lake. While the lake itself is not as pretty, the hike there and back was incredible for its sweeping views of both Ice Lake and the Lower Basin. There was some real traversing the mountainside without much of a trail on a couple parts of the path to Island Lake, but not too scary. The entire hike was so incredible and surreal. I highly recommend this hike to anyone who's up for a bit of a challenge. You will be greatly rewarded! This ended up being a full day hike for us -- probably about 6 hours in total.
Written September 13, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Happy camper
12 contributions
Aug 2020
So thankful the trail has been closed. It is over ran with rude people and their pets. The trail has turned into a glorified dog run, poop every where . Not just dog waste, people move off the trail or at least bury you toilet paper. A beautiful place that has been ruined my bloggers and magazines saying go to Ice Lake. Hope with it being shut down and going to permit use only it will once again be a beautiful hike.
Written February 1, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

EricR75
Minneapolis, MN10 contributions
Sep 2018
This is a high elevation hike (ends at around 12,500 feet) and it climbs fast. Take lots of water if you haven't acclimated to the elevation. We are experienced hikers and there were numerous water breaks along the way. However if you make it to the lake, the payoff is amazing! Brilliant blue water which reminds you of the Caribbean. Absolutely loved this hike.
Written October 8, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

RaoKarnad
Bengaluru, India67 contributions
Sep 2018 • Family
After our first visit to San Juan National Forest region last year when we hiked to Hope Lake, we were mesmerized by the scenic beauty & here we were exactly a year later on our way to Ice Lake. Given it was a long weekend, we knew it would be crowded & started early. We took the Clear Lake road & parked at a point (37.810494, -107.776552) which gets to closer to the trail up compared to starting at trail head near South Mineral Campground. The hike way up goes though the pine forest before you reach the meadow where we also have the lower Ice Lake [~1.1 mile from our starting point]. It's a great place you can camp with the stream & mountains providing the wind cover. The way up from the meadow goes through rocks. Ice Lake was amazing turquoise blue water. After some snacks & rest at the Ice Lake, hike up to Island Lake didn't feel strenuous. You can hike down from Island Lake itself instead of going back the trail which you used to hike up from Ice Lake. The trail down is to the east of the lake (37.819326, -107.800900) & in my view is much quicker & shorter way down compared to the other one.
Written September 8, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Rene D
Austin, TX41 contributions
Aug 2017
I have never done a real hike like this. It was difficult but absolutely beautiful. I read the best time of year to go is early August because that's when the wild flowers are best. And that did not disappoint. The colors of the water and windflowers was unforgettable. The hike was difficult. So be prepared. The last quarter of the hike was definitely the hardest part. However without a doubt I would go back.
Written August 6, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ohtheplacesyoullgo5
St. Catharines, Canada93 contributions
Jul 2019
Started this hike around 8am and took about 5 hours including relax time. This hike is still the most challenging hike I've ever done and it was the first one on my 2018 summer road trip. Parking is accessible. Pack only what you need, about 3L of water. The switch backs are the hardest part and can get quite daunting as there are a lot. Once you get past those you'll enter a wonderful filed of wild flowers and see mountains higher up and below what you have hiked. Once in the filed it will be about another 20 minutes before getting to the top of Ice Lake but it is TOTALLY worth the view. We went in July 2018 and the water was freezing but still had to go in just to say we did. To hike Island Lake from there is another 30ish minutes and you need to scale a bit of a mountain. BE CAREFUL! One of the rocks I was on gave out and I almost fell but pulled it together. There are just so many places to stop and admire and take pictures. Ice Lake is the better view compared to Island Lake (imo). Take lots of snacks and a lunch with you, possibly a beer if that's your style. You can also camp on this trail in certain spots. I will definitely come back here again!
Written August 18, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Showing results 1-10 of 95
Is this your Tripadvisor listing?
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.
Claim your listing

Ice Lakes Trail - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

Frequently Asked Questions about Ice Lakes Trail



Ice Lakes Trail Information

Excellent Reviews

86

Very Good Reviews

10

Ice Lakes Trail Photos

159