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. She is an author, mountain enthusiast and yoga teacher who loves heading uphill on foot, ski, bike and belay. She recently returned to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland after 20 years living in the USA, 11 of which were spent in the rocky mountains of Vail, Colorado where she owned a boutique yoga studio and explored the west's famous peaks and rivers. She is a champion for enjoying the outdoors sustainably as well as maintaining balance through rest and meditation, which she explores in her book Restorative Yoga for Beginners, a beginner's path to healing with deep relaxation. She enjoys writing about the outdoors, yoga, wellness and travel. In her previous lives, she has also been a radio presenter, music promoter, university teacher and winemaker.
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