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The popular Ice Lakes area near Silverton, Colorado is open once again to hikers, 11 months after a wildfire tore through the area and shut it down.
The trail, described on San Juan National Forest’s website as “wildly popular”, climbs just under 3,000 feet in just over 3.5 miles. The upper part of the trail switchbacks up a cliff to an alpine basin framed by Grant Peak, Fuller Peak, and Beatie Peak. Ice Lake itself is a popular destination for fishing enthusiasts, who come to snag brook and cutthroat trout. South Mineral Campground, where the trailhead is located, also reopens today, as do South Mineral Road and Clear Creek Road—the only access to the area.
The Forest Service made the decision to close Ice Lake last October, when the Ice Fire scorched 596 acres in the area. The closure continued through this summer due to the threat of debris flows through the campground and neighboring Clear Creek Watershed, which are often triggered by Colorado’s monsoon rainstorms, and to give trail crews more time to remove hazards from the area. Now, after months of work, it’s finally safe for hikers again.
Due to lingering fire damage, South Mineral Campground will have limited services, with no bathroom, trash, or water. Hazardous snags and debris have been cleared from the trail itself, but not the forest around it, so the Forest Service asks that hikers stay on trail and be aware of the risks.