In search of a hiking destination that is as beautiful as it is challenging? Try the Ice Lakes and Ice Lakes Basin hike. Located northwest of the town of Silverton, it is considered one of the most scenic tours through the Colorado mountains. It attracts as many hikers as it does photographers. The Ice Lakes trail hike begins on the west end where you can park and heads upward to the lower basin area. There are spectacular views of the area peaks located around the upper basin. Hiking past the lower lake brings you to fields of wildflowers and waterfalls.
It is a 3.5 mile hike up to the upper basin and the entire walk is highlighted with colors in red, orange, purple, and yellow, all due to the volcanic origins of the site. The rock is tough to climb in the area because of this origin, and the peaks are known for being some of the most challenging in the state. Most hikers agree this difficult hike is well worth the effort once you see the amazing views from your destination. The full hike is seven miles in distance and usually takes hikers about four hours if you do not stop for any length of time. The best hiking months are July through September. Top elevation is a little over 12,000 feet and the trailhead elevation is nearly 10,000 feet. The weather is very unpredictable during most seasons, so plan accordingly. You may need to do some research on the day of your hike to be best prepared for the weather you will be facing.
Most consider this hike one not to be missed for hiking enthusiasts in the Colorado area. The area is filled with trout filled lakes, steep trails, mountain peaks, and waterfalls. The trailhead is in the San Juan National Forest and located near the South Mineral Campground, right by the town of Silverton. The town is a great place to stay before or after your hike. There are numerous top-rated hotels including the Teller House, the Prospector Motel, the Grand Imperial Hotel, and the Canyon View Motel. If you prefer bed and breakfast stays, try The Inn of the Rockies at the Historic Alma House, the Villa Dallavalle, or The Animas B&B at the Wingate House.
In addition to hiking, there are a number of activities in the area. Visit the Silverton Stables, the Kendall Mountain, the Montanya Distillery, Island Lake, or Blue Lakes Trail. The area is nirvana for those who love outdoor sports and recreation all year round. If all of the activity has worked up your appetite, try one of Silverton's great restaurants. There is the Handlebars Restaurant & Saloon, Stellar Bakery and Pizzeria, the Silveron Brewery, the Brown Bear Cafy, the Pickle Barrel, The Scarlet House Cafy, and the San Juan Grill. There is something in town to suit everyone's taste.
Ice Lakes is a great hiking destination but the area offers plenty more. It is a great getaway for those who enjoy the scenic outdoor vistas of Colorado.