Nature at it’s Finest

icelake pagosa springs

Ice Lakes


COLORADO is known for it’s scenic views. Being a Pagosa Native, I have hiked hundreds of trails, seen amazing sights, and encountered exiting wildlife and people through them.  With that said, I have never seen such outstanding views as I did yesterday.

The Ice Lakes near Silverton, Colorado is a hidden treasure.  This hike is defined as difficult. The hike begins at the bottom of the San Juan Mountain at about 9800 feet in elevation. At the peak of the upper basin elevation comes to 12400 feet. Meaning that on the up, hikers are on a solid incline.

Roughly 7.5 miles total, hikers will mull through thick Conifer National Forest, passing by and through waterfalls, encounter old mining remnants, dance within the fields of daisies and other wild flowers as far as the eye can see, and finally; trek up to the very top of the San Juan Mountains, and drop into a basin where the end of the rainbow awaits.  The colors and smells that you come across throughout this hike is invigorating to say the least.I have never seen such a vivid-aqua blue color in all of nature. It is awe inspiring.

 SPOILER ALERT:  This is indeed a difficult hike.  All shapes, sizes, and ages are able to complete this hike with the proper equipment and knowledge of what to expect.  Considering that fact that you are hiking up and over a mountain peak, different terrains are to be expected.  From thick forests, to steep ledges, to flat flower fields, this hike offers every form of beauty.  Not a single step was taken without the benefit of an outstanding view.

HIKERS must be prepared for rain, extreme sun exposure, extreme cold, and slippery terrain.  BRING water, snacks (you will be hungry when you reach the top), sun screen, bug repelant, and more water.  I recommend layering your upper body with different clothing items.  When exposed to the sun it was a very intense heat.  When trudging through the thick canopy of Conifer trees, the temperature dropped at least 10 degrees.  AT THE TOP of the mountain, after hiking for the life of me, rain started to pour from the hovering clouds, causing the temperature to be close to freezing.

BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS: this high up in elevation, there aren’t many animals willing to harbor these conditions.. for lack of food supply mountain lions and bears most likely will not be found in these parts of the mountain. However, there were evidence of Moose, which are highly aggressive and territorial animals.  Nothing to worry about; along the hike make sure to make noise, drag your feet, kick rocks, and chat it up with company.  Moose are likely to flee the area if they hear unfamiliar noises approaching.

Happy Hiking,

Daryn Butler

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