Ice Lake is fast becoming one of the most popular hikes in Southwest Colorado. It's no surprise to us, we continue to go there every year to gaze spellbound into Ice Lake, one of the bluest lakes we've ever rested eyes on. As dazzling as Ice Lake's sky-blue water is, it's the ragged, rustic, iron-bleeding cirque setting that sets it apart from the likes of, say, Columbine Lake.
As if that wasn't enough, add another half mile to your hike to experience the aqua-green Island Lake. Its setting is rustic as well, but much more intimate, where mighty peaks seemingly jut skyward from its tundra shoreline.
The standard route is an out-and-back hike on the main trail, arriving first to Ice Lake, then proceeding on up to Island Lake. But there is an unsigned trail that departs the main trail about halfway to Ice Lake, and it's rumored to be a backdoor route to Island Lake.
Before leaving I brought up Google Earth and zoomed in. Sure enough, all the way from a satellite in outer space, I could see the trail cutting steeply up the mountainside to Island Lake. Though steeper, it allowed for some "new dots" and make a "lollipop" loop-hike to one of our favorite destinations.
Another plus? We had it all to ourselves.
|Next time we will take that trail up to the ridge line...just to see what we can see :)|
|Island Lake's aqua-green water|
|Ice Lake's sky-blue water. Hike a mile to the south and Fuller Lake awaits your rod and fly, as it teems with trout!|