Nestled between Ouray and Silverton, Ice Lake is a destination hike with rich rewards. I ventured upon this hike with my husband, Mom and Dad a couple weeks ago. I cannot say enough about the beauty and great place. The round-trip hike took us about 4 hours, but probably could be completed in 3 hours if we were going at a faster pace. The trail is a good combination of flats, switchbacks, and gradients.
A few minutes up the trail we were all surprised to hear the roar of an impressive waterfall. You can actually walk through the waterfall that pours over the trail headed toward clear lake. Ian just about gave me a heart-attack as he got close to the waterfalls steep edge and faked like he was falling off (the little stinker).
The wildflowers were just beginning and are now in full bloom as I type. The Indian paintbrush were out in full color and we saw miniature red Columbines everywhere. The Delphiniums were in abundance, but hadn’t flowered yet. I especially liked the skunk cabbage that graced the meadows with their large light green leaves.
The last push of the hike had quite a bit of elevation gain, but the views of the valley and many waterfalls were absolutely incredible. When we finally arrived at Ice Lake, (which was just above tree line), we were rewarded with the most incredible turquoise colored lake set against the ragged ridge-line of the San Juan Rocky Mountains. We enjoyed lunch lakeside and then quickly headed back down when the thunderclouds started to build.
This destination is now high on my favorite hikes list; get out and enjoy it this summer!