I finally hiked the High Sierra Trail, a trip I've been dying to do for years! And don’t forget to subscribe to the blog to get notified when new posts come out! As the sun began making its way behind the 13ers surrounding us, we headed back down for dinner, and to watch the sunset on the peaks to the east. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and fishing. Evergreen Lake Trail Location: Dedisee Park, 0.4 miles west of Evergreen, CO Length: 1.4-mile loop; Difficulty Rating: Easy Once we finally made it over the final hill, Island Lake said hi, and we looked for a nice place to camp. Jackie, Juno and I hiked up to the Ice Lakes & Island Lake in late September 2018. Island Lake and the peaks towering above Titcomb Basin This very popular backpack leads to Island Lake (10,346-ft.), a stunning destination with great day hiking, good fishing and scenic campsites. The trail to the lake, if done in one day, is long and tiring with lots of ups and downs. There’s plenty of water in the upper basin. The entire trail is well marked and easy to follow, even on the rock slab portions. Backpacking Ice Lake Basin was truly a weekend we surely won’t forget. Visitors enjoy the area for its … Click here to read more about the deadlines and application process for Desolation Wilderness backcountry permits. So we packed up and headed to Ice Lake, less than three-quarters of a mile away. This trail starts at the very popular Twin Lakes trailhead by Wrights Lake. If you decide to go, please practice Leave No Trace. The hike is broken into three parts. We knew the parking would be a madhouse before Labor Day weekend so we hung back and waited for the morning hiking rush to begin trickling down and scored a spot in the parking lot right around 12:30 pm. Learn how to make your tent as warm as possible and what gear you need to bring. Island Lake Holiday Resort is situated on the shores of the beautiful Island Lake in the spectacular Wilderness National Park, right in the heart of the famous and majestic Garden Route. Probably don’t need to bring more than 2L on your hike up. While we set up camp the clouds moved quickly through the basin, occasionally shrouding the peaks on the ridgeline. Instead we wandered around the shoreline over ravines of snow and spent a good deal of the rest of the day being entertained by the plethora of friendly marmots scampering across meadows. Once we reached the first falls, we followed the river downhill past several more small falls and pools. Less than 10 miles roundtrip, the Duck Lake is the perfect overnight backpacking trip to experience classic Sierra lakes and mountains. The journey downhill wasn’t too steep, and the slab portions were quite easy going. As it was already warming up, we quickly set up the tent, changed into our bathing suits, and headed down to the chilly water’s edge. Whether you are interested in a 30 minute walk or a full day hike, Island Lake has hiking trails for all ability levels. The first push up into the lower basin, then the easy walk through the lower basin, and the final ascent into Ice Lake Basin. Start at Brainard Lake and make your way up the valley to Lake Isabelle where you’ll have views of the Isabelle Glacier – a permanent snowfield. Note that the hiking trail to Ice Lake and Island Lake is not very well marked. Aloha Lake is one of the most popular backpacking trips in Desolation Wilderness, CA. Soon the creek fanned out over the smooth rock in long cascades, and we spotted the first of the emerald pools. Twin and Island Lakes are in area zone #32 of Desolation Wilderness, which allows 20 campers to enter per day, reservable via Recreation.gov. Island Lake is phenomenal. Here you'll find blog posts about some of my favorite backpacking and travel adventures. Length 2.9 miElevation gain 301 ftRoute type Out & back Our views were stunning and were given an incredible sky show. During our 3 day trip, we also hiked up to the summit of Mt. Learn how your comment data is processed. The left fork that starts over a bridge eventually merges into the same trail, but this path takes a slightly longer route around the marsh. Desolation Wilderness has been my favorite destination for backpacking lately since it’s so close to home, and there are so many spots and trails I still want to explore. Just shy of 9 miles in exactly 5 hours and it was stunning! And then we got pizza and beer…because pizza and beer make everything better after backpacking! The lake sits in a basin at the foot of Ulysses S. Grant Peak (13,767). It’s only four miles up to Island Lake at the end of the trail, and there are also infinite opportunities to explore and scramble up to various peaks of the basin. Ice Lake Basin San Juan National Forest, Colorado Distance: 9.3 miles Traveled: Ice Lake Trailhead to Ice lake and Island Lake “A lake is a landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature. The two upper lakes are situated on thinly forested bench. Begin by hiking the Ice Lakes Trail for 3.5 miles, which will take you to Ice Lake. You’re embarking to a high elevation destination. Mystic Island Lake and Lake Charles via Ironedge Trail is a 12.3 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Eagle, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The 144-acre Island Lake is located 0.1 miles east of the campground on Forest Rt. Sunset on Trail Ridge Rd. The peace and quiet were so nice. When I visited in June, the Twin Lakes campground and the main parking lot at the trailhead both were still closed, so I had to park down at the Equestrian Camp, which added an extra 1.1 miles of hiking each way to get to the main trailhead. From here, I went to Island Lake first. With it being close to 4:30 pm, we saw hardly a soul after arriving. Instead of camping on the close side with all the people, we walked counter-clockwise around the lake and found a great spot on a ledge overlooking the lake. However, the lake was quickly swarmed by hikers, making our hidden paradise less seclued. Distance: 12.1 miles The Zebra Slot Canyon is one of my favorite hikes in the Grand Staircase-Escalante area. On the norther side of Twin Lakes on the way up to Island Lake. Again, creek crossing shoes and poles may be helpful, especially early in the hiking season. Be sure to check road closures before going, as this road is closed every winter/spring with variable opening dates. A slightly chillier night than we were expecting hit Island Lake but thankfully we weren’t too uncomfortable. Price — Desolation Wilderness, CA, How I Save Money on Camping and Hiking Gear, New Zealand South Island 10 Day Roadtrip Itinerary for the Outdoor Lover, Backpacking the High Sierra Trail in 6 Days, Backpacking Duck Lake Pass Trail — Mammoth, CA, Zebra Slot Canyon - Grand Staircase-Escalante NM, UT. Rainier, Four amazing backpacking destinations to set you free, Trail Report: Cascade Pass and Sahale Arm in the North Cascades, This is not for everyone. From there the trail loops around the basin and returns back to the main trail. Tagged: backpacking, trip report, Sierras, lakes, Desolation Wilderness, CA, I'm Alice, a weekend hiker and outdoor adventurer based out of the Bay Area in California. Day Two Backpacking Ice Lake Basin. The views up there were just as grand. There are far fewer campsites up at Island Lake, but we managed to find one up a little higher on the northern shore. Being camped on the northwest shore, the clouds cleared right before sunset to cast that perfect glow on Mount Price directly across from us. We took our time waking up, making breakfast, and moving around. We saw a couple of hunters in the final mile of the hike; we were glad we were near There are stunning views, big payoffs (Banner Peak, Ediza Lake), challenging but never impossible sections of trail, and wildlife galore. Start at 12,500 feet and drop past hidden waterfalls into the Animas River Valley, where the Grenadier Peaks tower overhead. We started to see more day hikers who had headed up from the parking lot. We stopped for lunch here on the south shore, which also seems to be the turn around point for most of the day hikers in the area. Photo: Bryce Bradford. Once we were dried, we headed up to Fuller Lake to check out the views and see more of the larger Ice Lake Basin. Stay warm. We split off and headed towards Island Lake where we would spend the first night of our two-day backpacking trip. Ice Lake has to be one of the most spectacular destinations for the hiker that wants an experience to remember. … Island Lake is a 2.9 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Salida, Colorado that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. After putting our finishing touches on our packs, we clipped our belts and began our trek backpacking Ice Lake Basin. This is for camping any time of year. It is Earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.” USA. California, Backpacking, Trip Report. It’s maybe a mile from Ice Lake and has just a small elevation gain before getting to the lake. For more advanced hikers, you can also make this trip a semi loop by traveling cross country to the Enchanted Pools and various other small falls along the river. Along the way there is some evidence of old mining activity, including mine tailings. Overall, it takes about two miles to reach the lower basin and the potential split towards Island Lake. June 15, 2020. From the Ice Lakes basin Trailhead, this 8 mile round trip trail with 3000 feet of elevation gain will bring you to the Ice Lakes Basin with an abundance of beautiful lakes, especially Island Lake and Ice Lake. 116. For about half a mile we made our way downhill following the river, occasionally having to backtrack to get to higher ground to avoid bushwacking too much. We decided to continue on the main trail and take the cross country route to the pools on the way back. Our San Juan National Forest hidden gem is Island Lake, which is one of four amazingly incandescent bodies of glacial water (Ice, Clear and Fuller lakes are the other three) that can be found in the Upper Ice Lake Basin near the town of Silverton. On the four-mile trail to the lakes, hikers pass several … Island Lake surely got its name from the flat-topped rock that is visible whenever water levels ebb. The parking lot will definitely be full by 7 am on a weekend. It was too gusty and late in the day to attempt a day hike up to one of the peaks, but I imagine the view from that ridge would be incredible. United States. This is a great relatively leisurely trip to make early season, for beginners, or as a quick overnight into the backcountry. The mountains make crazy things happen, come prepared. Once the trail started to diverge from the creek, we headed off trail cross country to try to find the Enchanted Pools. The red, smooth, striped walls make for unique photo opportunities. In the summer, this is one of the best and easiest lake hikes in Colorado. Island Lake is often hiked in combination with Ice Lake and Fuller Lake but due to its unique beauty it is also hiked by itself as a primary destination. From here, you can identify the obvious, delta-shaped mountain to climber's left, known as Fuller Peak (13,761ft). We are only a 20 km drive away from either George or Sedgefield & 47 km away from Knysna, with the village of Wilderness, a few minutes away, where restaurants, take a way's, supermarkets and pubs are to be … I can see why these Enchanted Pools are an attraction, these calm spots in the river are a great place for families and children to spend the day just a short hike in. There was still snow by Island lake when we visited in August. This means packing out all your trash and camp at least 100 feet from any lake shore. One of the few campgrounds in Grand Mesa National Forest not located on the lake, Island Lake Campground goers are instead privy to mature spruce, sweeping panoramas of the Grand Valley, and its many sparkling, light sabre sapphire blue lakes below. Colorado Trail: Stony Pass to Celebration Lake The very best section of the 483-mile Colorado Trail lies along this 40-mile San Juans stunner. With so many options to choose from, we turned to Hiking Project, REI’s digital trail guide and online hiking community, to find some of the best dog-friendly hikes in Colorado to get you started. Sign up with your email address to receive occasional updates of new blog posts. The 7,000 acres of pristine wilderness at Island Lake near Fernie, B.C. Island Lake Road to S River Road (Kalkaska co MI) - 6.40 Miles - From Island Lake Road To S River Road (Kalkaska co MI) - We took a trip back up to Bellaire for the weekend, and got out for a hike on Saturday. Price. Until next time adventurers, take care and be safe. You'll need to cross the creek that drains Ice Lakes to reach the Island Lake trail spur. The Island Lakes trail (#1857) begins near Crescent and Mackinaw Lakes and climbs over a mountain pass offering great views of the three Island Lakes below. With 35+ pounds on your back, and every step taking you higher and higher, it’s truly a spot for serious adventurers. It allows you the chance to look down on Upper Ice Lake and Ice Lake. If you prefer a densely treed campsite, just head for the lower Island Lake is located at 10,866 ft. elevation (336 ft. lower). Due to it being an Alpine Tundra zone, we made it a point to camp on dirt as to not hurt the environment too much. You can follow along the journey on Facebook and Instagram or shoot me any questions and comments about places to go. Contact me here and say hi :). Mosquitoes are … Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash. The first part is hiking amongst the trees to the lower basin, which is where you’ll find the split that takes you to Island Lake or Ice Lakes Basin proper. From the sign at the start of the trail, take the right unmarked fork for the most direct route. The two of us decided that morning that we wanted a different view. Those 6 days in remote backcountry absolutely blew me away. Today’s weather was perfect, and much warmer than yesterday, which would make for great conditions at Enchanted Pools. After packing up, we headed down the trail back past Twin Lakes. Island Lake Campground, Colorado - Camping & Campgrounds Island Lake Campground is located at an elevation of 10,000 feet on Colorado's Grand Mesa, which is home to more than 300 fishing lakes, near the cities of Cedaredge and Delta. We are in good shape and are fairly experienced hikers, so we chose to do the trail up to Ice Lake, then went over to Island Lake (a little sketchy in one part), and looped back around and down. After crossing the stream, the marshlands here had some perfect rock steps that helped us navigate the overflowing ponds. We started our hike at 7:30/7:45 on a weekday morning and there were only a few other cars there. Island Lake lies just 0.5 miles and 250 vertical feet above the Upper Ice Lakes. A classic loop from Elkart Park stretches for approximately 35 miles and uses the CDT to tie into a number of high altitude lakes including, Little Seneca Lake, Island Lake, and Summit Lake. May the forest be with you! Wildflowers on the shore of Twin Lakes complete with a waterfall in the distance. Over the next mile, we gained over 1,100 feet and moved pretty slowly making. Island Lake is one of many gorgeous lakes in the Uintas - it can be hard to choose which lake to visit. Most people go to Ice Lakes…I don’t know why. Island Lake is located just north of Ice Lake in the San Juan National Forest near Silverton, Colorado. Once the trails merge about 0.6 miles in past the marsh, you’ll pass the unmarked turnoff to head north over some slab to the Enchanted Pools. Basic Information for Thousand Island Lake: Obtain a wilderness permit – If you heading into the backcountry for more than a day hike, you must obtain a permit to camp. The colors seem surreal, a beautiful turquoise lake, surrounded by high peaks. While quite cold, it felt amazing to cool off and soak our muscles a bit. Aptly named, Island Lake is spotted with many little islands that I would have been open to wading to if the weather was more cooperative. Rangers enforce where you set up camp, making sure you are away from trails and water sources (200 feet). On the way in, we passed lots of boulders with that classic Tahoe climb factor. The trail now starts to gain some slight elevation while following along a small river, which is the Grouse Lake outlet. We took our time waking up, making breakfast, and moving around. After adventuring through a mini canyon behind the lake, we started the three-mile trek down to the car. However, if you can arrange a shuttle, hike to the Green River Lakes … You can also split off as you get into the lower basin and take the mile uphill push to Island Lake. With no plans later that day, we took out time waking up and packing up. Alice Kao. Likely on a weekday too. Lake Isabelle is one of the best winter hikes in Colorado (add about five miles round trip for the winter hike). Let’s all be better about treating gorgeous places like these with the love and respect they deserve. Words can not describe how gorgeous and pristine it A slightly chillier night than we were expecting hit Island Lake but thankfully we weren’t too uncomfortable. Once turning north from Highway 50, you’ll be heading up the side of a mountain on a very windy road for about 30 minutes to get to the main lot. After moving back to Colorado in November of 2015, I knew that one of my first destinations would be the Ice Lake Basin area. The cold early season temperatures dropped quickly, and we were in bed by 9pm. A much warmer night was enjoyed by both of us and the sunrise over the lake was simply wonderful. Another mile later, we spotted the massive waterfall cascading down a cliff in the distance before we reached the shore of Twin Lakes. I can see why this hike is so popular - a five mile roundtrip hike to a remote, stunning alpine lake where you’ll still feel accomplished and break a sweat. From the trailhead to Mystic Island Lake (11,306 feet): 2,160 feet of total elevation gain in 5.3 miles one way. Advanced permits are required for all overnight backpackers, and day hikers do not need a permit. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, and backpacking and is best used from July until October. Dates: Jun 13 - Jun 14Miles: 6.6 roundtripElevation change: 1,370 ftTrail type: Out and backPermit: RequiredTrailhead: Google Maps. Island Lake in the Wind River Range, Rocky Mountains, Wyoming, views from backpacking hiking trail to Titcomb Basin from Elkhart Park Trailhead going past Hobbs, Seneca, Upper and Lower Jean Lakes as well as Photographers point. Then you begin hard switchbacks as you’re already up over 10,000 feet. The next morning we woke early to still reflections on the lake except for the occasional ripple from small fish. Before dinner, we headed over to Ice Lake to watch the sunset and eat dinner by the lake. Gear Review: Ultralight HydraPak Flux 1.5L Water Bottle, 5 of the Best Hikes in Sedona to do for ‘the gram’, Backpacking Ice Lake Basin in southwestern Colorado, View ExploreWithAlec’s profile on Facebook, Trail Report: An escape to High Rock Lookout, Don’t miss Reflection Lake when visiting Mt. The first part isn’t too bad at the beginning and you’re treated to waterfall views walking up. If you are feeling adventurous, you could even hike up to one of the three surrounding peaks. After doing mental gymnastics, we both went in. To view my entire photography collection and purchase photos, click here. We had to backtrack a bit from the shore to cross the Twin Lake outlet, which most people seemed to have no trouble with. The Thousand Island Loop Trail really is a perfect little sampler for backpacking the Sierras. Both of us were exhausted, yet quickly set up camp and made our way down to the water. We moved slowly due to all of the people making their way up and adhering to hiking etiquette which gives the right of way to the uphill hiker. It’s only four miles up to Island Lake at the end of the trail, and there are also infinite opportunities to explore and scramble up to various peaks of the basin. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Our overnight excursion to the Twin Lakes was the perfect start to the season. I recently backpacked to the basin sitting at 12,300 feet in southwestern Colorado outside of Silverton and remembered why this is recognized as one of the most beautiful places in the west. If you do the whole loop, you’ll continue on Lonesome Trail to King Lake, then Devil’s Thumb Pass, completing the journey in 11 miles. Sunset from Island Lake near Silverton, Colorado After visiting Ice Lake Basin in August of 2013, I knew that I had to return to the area to photograph the wildflowers there at peak season (mid-July). provides countless hiking opportunities. 1.5 miles in you’ll see the sign post for the Grouse Lake turn off to the right. This is a great relatively leisurely trip to make early season, for beginners, or as a quick overnight into the backcountry. As you can probably guess, the list of Colorado’s top multi-day hiking trails could go on a longer time than we got. Low clouds covering Mount Price and the rest of the Crystal Range. My favorite part about backpacking - golden hour in the mountains. It is a beautiful green lake with a rock island in the middle, which gives the lake its name. At Ice Lake you'll see some of the bluest water around, and at Island Lake, one of the most unique lake formations in Colorado. There are lots of use trails criss crossing along the shore, and it wasn’t difficult to follow the rock stacks and stream of people back to the parking lot. The trailhead parking and campground lot are also visible some 2,300 feet below. This is 1.7 miles from the TH and about a 1,600-foot elevation gain. There are plenty of camp sites around the Twin Lakes and numerous smaller ponds to explore in the area with views of tall peaks every direction you look. However, once inside the basin, the views will blow you away and continue to wow you at every turn. However, the lake was quickly swarmed … Backpacking Ice Lake Basin is in another class in terms of beauty, difficulty, and pure determination required to reach it. It was great to escape the groups of people camping in the lower part of the basin by Twin Lakes and have this nook mostly to ourselves. The upper of the Enchanted Falls and Enchanted Pools. If you do it as an overnight (recommended), set up camp near Upper Ice Lake in a cirque below five Thirteeners near mile 3.5, then continue .7 mile north to Island Lake (pictured) in the morning. Backpacking Island and Twin Lakes — Desolation Wilderness, CA, Four Days in Norway's Spectacular Western Fjords, 2020 Backpacking Permit Deadlines for California and More, Backpacking Fontanillis Lake to Dicks Peak — Desolation Wilderness, CA, Hike and Climb Eagle Lake Buttress — Desolation Wilderness, CA, Backpacking Lake Aloha to Mt. I wouldn’t recommend this unless you have some trips under your belt, Prepare for the weather. An amazing 8.4 mile round trip hike will take you up the 2,552-ft. to Island Lake. Here are some of my favorite snacks, breakfasts, lunch, and dinner meal ideas for your next backcountry trip, Outdoor gear is not cheap, so here are a couple of tips I’ve found that have helped me save a little on gear, Here's our 10 day road trip itinerary along with things to do on New Zealand's south island to help you plan your trip. Once down, we were so happy with how the trip turned out. At this point, you’ll likely be noticing the elevation as you’re at 11,400 feet. Parts of the Island Lake trail have been damaged by landslides, creating some exposed areas. The lake has a boat ramp, wheelchair accessible fishing pier and fish cleaning station. What to eat while backpacking? We then continued past Boomerang Lake to climb up and over one more ridge to get to Island Lake, our destination for the night. This lake offers a quick backpacking trip, cliff jumping, swimming, fishing, & solitude in the summer months. That’s what we did. This hike is as gorgeous as everyone says.