CO – Ice, Fuller and Island Lakes – San Juan NF

This VERY popular trail, not far from Silverton, met my criteria for wanting to witness the aspen display their fall colors. 

Lower Ice Lake was not much more than a pond this late in season. 

I was confused by this waterfall that looked to be encased in ice. 

Upon closer inspection I found bleached rocks. 

As I crested the hill, I was in awe by the color blue of Upper Ice Lake. It was a WOW moment! This is an unedited photo. 

Then it was off to find Fuller Lake

Fuller Lake

I climbed up further and obtained this view of Fuller Lake, an unnamed pond, and Upper Ice Lake

I was trying to connect to this trail but decided once I reached this talus field that it just wasn’t worth the effort. 

The pond looked pretty inviting on my return trip. 

Then it was time to find Island Lake. If you look closely on the right side of Upper Ice Lake you’ll see the faint trail to Island Lake. 

Island Lake was a sweet heart-shaped lake. 

If you are uncomfortable with exposure, you might want to skip Island Lake. There was a large section that was pretty sketchy as it looked like an avalanche had wiped out the trail. I watched one gal almost lose it. Thankfully she had a lucky recovery.

A nice view back into the Upper Ice Lake basin as I descended from Island Lake

The Island Lake trail also provided a good perspective down to Lower Ice Lake and the canyon from which I’d come. 

There were several waterfalls along the way, but the sun didn’t cooperate for photo-worthy captures. 

Hike Details:

  • Date(s) Hiked: September 18, 2017
  • Mileage (per ViewRanger): about 10 miles round trip
  • Elevation Gain/Loss (per ViewRanger): 4,000 feet
  • Max/Min Elevation (per ViewRanger): 9,863′ to 12,905′
  • Trail Conditions:
    • Tree obstacles: Minimal
    • Overgrowth: Obvious recent trimming
    • Signage: Minimal
    • Terrain: Steep in places, but in general excellent conditions
  • Navigation Skills: There were a few social trails to waterfalls, campsites and peaks which could be a little confusing on the way to Upper Ice Lake. The trails to Fuller and Island Lakes are pretty obvious but unmarked.
  • Water availability: Plentiful
  • Camping availability: Moderate below tree line; there is also nearby dispersed camping and campground options.
  • Solitude: Expect plenty of company. It’s a busy trail.
  • Bugs: None
  • Wildlife: None
  • Precip: None on this day
  • Temp: Unknown but guessing 40-60
  • LNT: excellent given the amount of use this trail receives.
  • Jan’s Cherry Picker Delight Scale: 5 cherries (out of 5) LOVED it!


  • Avoid crowds by starting early, hiking on weekdays and later in season. Be mentally prepared for the trail being busy.



One thought on “CO – Ice, Fuller and Island Lakes – San Juan NF

  1. Pingback: Oh Colorado, It’s a Wrap . . . at least for 2017 – Jan's Jaunts and Jabberings

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