One of Colorado’s most spectacular and popular hiking trails is set to reopen after a wildfire closed it to the public for almost a year.
Access to the Ice Lake trail near Silverton in southwest Colorado was prohibited following the Ice Fire in October 2021 which scorched steep terrain in the South Mineral Creek drainage. At the time of the fire, 23 hikers and three dogs stranded on the trail had to be rescued by helicopter.
Following the fire, the Forest Service kept the area closed due to the risk of debris flow from monsoonal rain storms according to a news release. Crews from the Forest Service and San Juan County have spent the summer clearing the trail, a nearby campground and access road of tree snags that had fallen or were in danger of falling across the trail.
Now once again, hikers will be able to access one of the most beautiful views in the state. Ice Lake boasts sparkling turquoise waters nestled into the base of a stunning cirque of jagged ridges and peaks. To reach it requires over 2,430ft in elevation gain in three and a half miles of lung-busting climb through alpine landscape.
Though hikers will be keen to don their hiking boots and hit the Ice Lake trail as soon as possible, Columbine District Ranger James Simino reminded hikers that precautions are still required and urged users to practice the principle of Leave No Trace, saying “Although the trail, campground, and road have been cleared of fallen debris and many of the hazardous tree snags, please stay on the trail and be aware that potential hazards still exist.”
Elsewhere in the state, the popular Hanging Lake trail near Glenwood Springs has been closed to hikers indefinitely due to debris flow on burn scars during intense rainstorms that are common in Colorado’s summers.
If you enjoyed this article, you might be interested in our guide to the best backpacking trips in Colorado.
Ice Lake trail route planner:
Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Adventure.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.
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