Ice Lake Basin

Featured Route
on South Fork Mineral Creek and Clear Creek in San Juan National Forest, CO
  • Total Length
  • Ascent
  • Difficulty

The trek up to Ice Lake Basin is short, steep, but not technical. While there is little reprieve from the steady uphill nature of this hike, both the journey and destination make every step worthwhile. You’ll pass through aspen, conifers, and into two distinct basins above the treeline. Wildflowers are typical late July into August. 

Get Here
  • Hiking
  • Out & Back
  • Wildflowers
  • Lakes
  • Waterfalls
  • Scenic
Elevation Profile

Most passenger vehicles can make it to the trailhead without issue, provided you drive slowly and carefully. 

Start Hiking
For 0.9mi
Expect a suddenly steep climb up numerous switchbacks until you come to Clear Creek Falls. 
Continue Hiking
For 1.6mi

Emerging from conifers, you’ll enter the first and  only flat stretch of the route until you reach the top. The views only get better from this point and wildflowers often drape the basin in late summer.  

Continue Hiking
For 1.1mi
Once you enter the basins, there’s little natural shelter from rapidly incoming storms. Pay particular attention to the weather above the treeline. 

At the center of the basin is Ice Lake, often described as a stunning cobalt blue. 


This lake basin is surrounded by several peaks as well as containing both Island and Fuller Lakes. These lakes have less defined paths to them but are worth a visit, if you’re feeling ambitious. 

Continue Hiking
For 3.7mi
The downhill may be easier on the heart than the uphill, but it’s still a challenge that requires patience and proper footing. Take it slowly and enjoy the wonderful views.