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Island Lake

Half-mile climb from Ice Lake

Distance: 8.2 miles

Difficulty:  Strenuous

Elevation Gain: 2762 feet

Time: 6.5 hours

Island Lake is a good supplement to the Ice Lake hike and is certainly worth the extra half mile climb! Leaving Ice Lake, follow the stream until you come upon sizeable boulders to use as a crossing. Pick up the trail and climb through what appears to be an endless field of purple and white columbine. Take a few moments to gaze back at Ice Lake for a different perspective and great photo ops.  The climb is fairly steep and deposits you at the ridge where you will catch your first glimpse of Island Lake. Aptly named, the lake is small with an island smack in the middle of it. If you are lucky enough to arrive when the sun is shining brightly you will be treated to a lake so unique in hue that is seems to be unearthly or perhaps photo shopped.  It’s not! The color that comes to mind is cyan blue but of course as the sun pops it and out of the clouds the color changes distinctively. Plenty of mountains ring the lake; many rust in color from Iron. Return down the trail and make your way back to the trail head.

Directions:

From Telluride take Ophir Pass to Hwy 550 (Million Dollar Highway) and turn right, heading south.  After approximately 4 miles, turn right on Forest Service Road 585. Follow this Forest Service Road to Clear Lake Road (Forest Service Road 815) and turn right. Drive to the first switchback where there is room for a few cars to park. This short cut saves you approximately 1 mile from the hike through steep forest. Otherwise, park at the South Mineral Campground on 585 and cross the street to the true trailhead.

 

 

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United States