Ultimate Day Hike – Telluride Colorado

Ultimate Day Hike – Hiking Ice Lake & Island Lake Trail

I am all about finding the best day hikes since we never have enough time for long multi day backcounty trips. This hike has become one of my all time favorite.  Give it scroll and you will see why!

Getting to the trail head

After one of the wildest off-road drives of my life taking the Ophir pass…

cutting through the mountains rather than driving around saving us two hours…we made it to South Mineral Campgrounds, where the trailhead begins.

Little did I know this day hike would become one of my all-time favorite. I could not get over the breathtaking views, glowing aspen trees, challenging altitude climb that is just enough to kick your butt but not too much to where it’s not enjoyable, bright blue and green lakes you won’t see anywhere else and its dog friendly! Just many more reasons why Telluride is now my favorite town.  Scroll and check out all my posts from this area, you will see why!

We went late September nearing falls peak color. It was a total suprise being from Michigan where color was just beginning.Many open ranges and epic views.

I have never seen so many dogs on a hike! Nearly every other person had a dog. I loved it but it also made me miss Watson! All the more reason to come back soon :P.

Hiking 3.5-miles climbing nearly 3,000-feet in elevation, we made it to Ice Lake! The most vivid blue lake I have ever seen! People were jumping in this ICE COLD lake on a windy late September day. Would you?

Getting to Island Lake

The views got even better from here. We continued another half mile to Island Lake. Hence, the little island in the middle. It’s intersting the difference in color from these two lakes being so close to one another. I also never seen this vivid royal green before.Can you spot the man with a tent in the middle? 

There are several other lakes to explore but we didn’t have time. This was the perfect day hike though! Look at our views headed back to the Defender.Small girl big worldLooking back where we just came from, you can see switchback trails and Ice Lake below.Find that forever hiking buddy! I just love exploring this world with this man, my husband.If you visit mid to late August you will hike in feilds like this amongst millions of wild flowers! I defiently want to come back for that experience. The last two miles or so is through a pinetree forest, the same way you came in. It’s quite steep going down. Make sure you have proper boots. It was hard to grip even with my boots, I slipped and fell a few times… but really because I was looking around rather than looking down, lol. 

We hiked 7.9 miles in 4 hours and 24 minutes climbing 2,740-feet in elevation. It was the perfect day hike!

So, you ready to visit Telluride yet?! I would love to hear from you! Comment below, Pin, share and subscribe to stay up to date on my latest adventures!

Best Day Hike Near Telluride

TRAIL- Ice Lake & Island Lake Trail – rated difficult

DIRECTIONS- South Mineral Campground – Forest Rd 585, Durango, CO 81301

TIME- 4-6 hours round trip. Perfect day hike, saw people with tents near lakes to stay overnight if wanted. Not sure if you need permit.

ELEVATION GAIN- start at 9,845ft – 12,740ft

WHAT TO EXPECT- Walking through pinetree forest, cross couple waterfalls, open valleys, aspen trees, breathtaking peaks 365-degree views. Strenuous hiking. Climbing nearly 3,000-feet elevation in 3.5 miles to the first lake. Dog Friendly, on leash. Pack out what you bring in.

BEST TIMES TO VISIT- April – September, wildflowers bloom late August, fall color peak is mid September to early October. High traffic trail during summer and fall.

GEAR- Wear good hiking boots. I love my Ahnu Teva boots. They have climbed 100’s of miles and got me to the top of Mt. Kilumanjao. Day backpack, lots of water, snacks. Bring waterproof jacket even if warm/nice out, weather can change quickly at high altitudes.

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