Hike to one of the most beautiful lakes in all of Colorado -- and pass several waterfalls en route. For the adventurous, being able to swim in a stunning blue alpine lake makes for a great afternoon. During the summer the wildflower show is amazing!!

From the Ice Lakes trailhead begin hiking through a meadow that quickly enters the forest and begins to climb. The trail will climb ~1,600 feet in the next two miles. As the trail climbs there is a scenic waterfall just over .5 miles, it is worth it to scamper up for a closer look (at ~1.0 miles there you can get a nice vantage point from the top of the same falls). After the waterfall, the trail continues its steady-steep climb as it alternates between wildflower-filled meadows and forest.

After~2.3 miles the trail will begin to flatten as you enter lower ice lake basin. The basin has a wonderful wildflower display, a beautiful lake, and is a popular hiking and camping destination. However, you still have about a mile and just under 1,000 feet of elevation to go to reach the upper lake. As you walk through the basin you will see the final climb to the upper lake in front of you. A creek crossing and some steep switchbacks are now all that is left to upper basin.

As the trail begins to level out you will be entering an alpine wonderland!! The colors and shapes of the mountains, the color of the upper lake, and the wildflowers are all amazing on their own right. However, together they create one of the most beautiful and amazing destinations in all of Colorado. Be careful around the upper lake, as it is a fragile environment that needs to be treated with care.

Pack List

  • Water
  • Map/compass
  • Snacks
  • Appropriate clothing/footwear
  • Sunscreen
  • Camera
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RT Distance 7.5 Miles
Elevation Gain 2430 Feet
Activities Photography, Running, Hiking, Fitness
Skill Level Beginner
Season Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Lake
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Beautiful hike!

This was a somewhat difficult trail but it has beautiful views the entire way. We immediately started laughing when we saw both lakes because they looked fake due to the water color. Unbelievable scenery. Highly recommend!

Most Beautiful Hike Ever!

I have packed and hiked thousands of miles in the Rockies and sierra mountains. With that being said, this hike was probably the most beautiful all around Hike I have ever trekked! From the start it is somewhat challenging incline. The July show of wildflowers, waterfalls, rock formations and ultimately the high mountain aqua blue lake was an amazing climax. Take a suit with you and dive into a take your breath away crystal clear lake. Ice is right! I will definitely repeat this one. Not for the weak at heart. Take your time and enjoy the climb!

Beautiful CO

This is by far one of my favorite hikes in the southwest. Ice Lake and Island Lake range from a deep blue to a crystal turquoise. Have gone up here a few times and plan to return!


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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