Colorado Hike: Ice Lake Basin + Tips

Well hello there our treasured honeybees, it is Mr. Bee here! With another “migrate over from the old website” blog. This Colorado Hike blog was initially written in 2017. As well as probably not our best effort in understanding how blogs work… yet 10% effort lets you learn more than 0%. So 2021 here we are.

The Icelakes Trail was super famous in 2017. We think still to this day it is a must-do summer hike in Western Colorado. With our home base of Montrose Colorado being a hub town. An hour minimum away from many extraordinary locations perfect for couple and elopement photography or even just landscape photography. It is no wonder why the hour and thirty-six-minute drive was not the least bit daunting.

Heck, with Mrs. Bee being in a city for many years, she joked “Well that is what people spend in traffic on the highway.” However, with her being from the city, hiking tips were needed to make this trail easier for her non-experienced self at the time. So honey bees, it is time to buzz over this adventure and update it with tips that are a good base for anyone who is interested in hiking!

Read our memories, and stay for the views from this Colorado Hike and hiking tips in this blog.

Colorado Hike Backpack

In every walk with nature, one

recieves far more than he seeks.

John Muir

Colorado Hike Ice Lakes

with Adventuresome Worldwide

Couples +Elopement

Photographer and Videographer team,

Ben and Becca.

Our Personal Tale from the summer day spent on this Colorado Hike called Ice Lakes.

Starting our hike later than most would recommend. We departed from Montrose Colorado at 6:41 am. Arrived at the trailhead at 8:30 am. Mrs. Bee was originally very excited about hiking to a lake to swim in. However when a park ranger told us swimming was not safe. This lovely Texan lady that stole my heart definitely felt jipped. Although she understood that it was due to the aluminum content in the water, that did NOT bring solace to finish the hike. So for any new hikers expecting to hop into the icy mountain waters post-hike, be warned the water is as mentioned icy AND due to mineral high count of aluminum, bad for your reproduction system. So tell any and all mermaids before hiking, not halfway through hiking


The trail itself: the hike begins with about 7 miles of switchbacks, which takes a lot of the hiking time because of their steep nature. On the sides of the trail, you get to see old mining equipment, waterfalls, and sometimes animals. You’ll need to take several breaks and eat lots of snacks to keep your energy up. To any of those hiking with loved ones, FOOD. BRING AS MUCH AS YOU CAN CARRY. We will have a blog over food choices for hiking later, but for now, food for your loved ones and yourself– IS A MUST.

Years later we have yet to write a blog over food for hiking, July 2022 monthly featured helpful blog might be that! In the meantime, this long yet stunning trail is 12 miles. Do not listen to maps that say less attached to the phrase “as the crow flies.” Crows have wings and can cover distance quicker with less work than humans with two legs + hiking gear and food.


“As the crow flies” away with your patience.

Time to discuss this measurement, “as the crow flies.” You see honeybees, an app I used to use for trail length used this measurement. Time for me to stress, HOW MUCH THIS MEASUREMENT SUCKED. First off, it is not like hikers can magically sprout wings and fly. So having an app tell you, “It’s 6 miles as the crow flies” while your apple watch informs you that you have already hiked 10 miles… yeah. Hiking in a group, with this juxtaposition of information can annoy your fellow hikers. Especially when they are hungry-natured people.

So before you start a hike with that measurement for “how short it is”. Be prepared, I plan on leaving some tips below on how to prepare for a hike down below, but for now. Let’s stress the importance of not using the measurement “as the crow flies.” Not just lost with the mindset of, “We’re going on an adventure, Frodo”. 

Guarantee, Frodo gets hungry and starts sipping A LOT of Sangria. 

Hiking tip:

If you NURSE an alcoholic beverage as you hike. We discovered it actually helps with sore muscles as you gain elevation, as well as gives Foodie Frodo a distraction. Sangria is a good mix because it has sugar and alcohol levels to replenish and relax. Make sure to also pack extra water if you go this route. Our plant fairy godmother definitely told us this “tip”, and we see why she loves it!

As you can see here, there are several look out points along the way to give you breathtaking views and a time to rest.

Ice Lakes Basin Hiking Trail

Some of the best

memories are made

in hiking shoes.

Visit Smokies

Colorado Hike: Ice Lakes Basin

with Wandering Elopement Media Team


Don’t let crows steal your motivation or hype, stay the course… it is worth it, WE PROMISE.

I’d be lying to say the whole “as a crow flies” did not steal some of the hype. The hiking crew that day definitely felt disappointment in the realization that mile 6 was only halfway. Add in many hikers stating “you are almost there” when you are 7 miles out. My beautiful, hungry, and impatient wife sat deciding at one point if it were worth it to keep going, because either way, it was 6 miles to finish or turn back. I don’t think it helped that this was her FIRST big hike, and I had 100% misled her on ease. Oh and the sangria camel pack was running low, and we were out of cookies.

Spoiler alert: she decided it was worth it to continue.

Ice Lake Basin Views

Here sat my food-obsessed Frodo version of my wife. Crickey, if you get too close she might just sass you. This hike definitely paved the way for her to have the space to make gourmet hike picnics a thing for our honeybees of clients as well as our friends! So maybe this learning experience actually set us on the correct course. Everything happens for a reason, right? Wait that is actually positivity speaking, let me correct that. Everything teaches us where we can improve.

The stream from a waterfall run-off was such a spectacular view!

Colorado Ice Lake Basin Hike

Back to the actual Colorado Hike of Ice Lakes Basin.

After this clearing with the run-off. There is yet another period of hiking up the last peak. Everyone kept telling us as they were coming down that we were “almost there”. Ah, Colorado hiker “almost there” is a plank “minute”. Due to it was another 5-mile steep walk. Becca’s face just stayed the perpetual “are you kidding me?!” as photographed earlier. We just gave her what every wife likes, sangria. She smiled more then. Not as much as when we finally made it to the top though. Oh and we stopped the “as a crow flies”, measurement and just used our apple watch to track hiking.

Ice Lakes Basin Summer Hike in Colorado

We were finally done, getting to the top.

All you can do then is to go to the water’s edge. Sit on a rock, eat some food and soak it all in. But really go put your feet in it really helps the aches. Just don’t dunk your face, because if you don’t know, all this water is snow melt. So it is icy as warned previously. Also, don’t forget that it is bad for your reproduction systems. So feet are the safest bet to enjoy the Ice Lake. So sit, admire the view, and take a breather.

If you choose not to camp at the top…

Or in tired and HANGRY Becca terms, “just put me in the ground I am dead”, you still have to hike back down to your vehicle and drive home. So here is the thing, going down? SO MUCH FASTER than incline. We were also told that if we had a jeep there was a jeep trail that cut the hike in half… by fellow hikers AT THE TOP. So there is that tidbit. So although there is not a gondola to take down the mountain (or up), there is at least hope for a shorter hike.

Anyhow, living in Montrose Colorado that drive was a doozy on the million dollar highway at night, so be careful.

And this is when making a decision and having gear ready to camp comes in handy which leads us to the Tips part of the blog. Yeah, I know this blog just keeps on coming and doesn’t stop coming. It’s a true Colorado Hiking blog “you’re almost there (done)”

Adventure Colorado-Based Elopement Videographer

Before you go: A Few Hiking Tips for your Next Colorado Hike.

We plan on making a full blog on how to hike with ease and tips for all levels of hikers.

So in the meantime enjoy a snippet of what is to come!

What to Bring on a Hike

  1. Toilet Paper
    • – I know, I know, not a lot of people want to crouch down in the wood and let it rip but believe me on a lengthy hike if nature calls you will look to the sky and thank me wherever I am that you read this tip. Put the toilet paper in an empty container that is water-resistant in case a ninja cloud sneaks up on you and starts to rain!
  2. Shovel
    • – perfect that last tip leads me graciously to this one. Get a foldable shovel, this will aid you in several ways, including burying the toilet paper and logs you are leaving behind. Then create a safe fire pit so you don’t burn down the forest, and if you find yourself in an avalanche (If hiking in snow) you can dig yourself out of a hairy position.
  3. Food
    • – If you book with us we supply a home-cooked picnic to devour once we get done with our visual art session. But if you are hiking without the intent of getting a session done it is proven if you continue to intake food through a hike you will have more energy. Making for a better trip back after you have arrived at your destination!
Ice Lakes Basin Wildflowers

Tips For Easy Hiking

  1. Prepping = Research.
    • There are several things you need to take into account wherever you decide to explore, what trail you are doing? How long is the hike going to be? What the weather is going to be like and check all the way up to the time you are leaving because you never know if mother nature is going to pull a fast one on you! Make a list of everything you are going to take (See some of the items I suggested above). Read reviews on apps/websites like All Trails https://www.alltrails.com/ to have a better understanding of what others have thought of the journey you are about to embark on. As well as how long it will take to get there. These are all questions and items to check off to be well informed on the adventure you will be adding to your magical memories. 
  2. Never hiked before? 
    • Well, first off most sites will rank the level of difficulty of the hike. Take this with a grain of salt as only you know what you are physically capable of. Because if you go into the reviews you never know if someone who is an adrenaline junky might decide that this hike wasn’t hard at all, my kids did it without breaking a sweat. You are simply not them. Start with something short in length and at a lower elevation, if you can handle that, incrementally start to up both till you are more aware of how you are going to handle the trip.
  3. Don’t ask “How much farther” to fellow hikers you see coming down!
    • Never ask someone coming off of the mountain if you are almost there. The reason being is because they aren’t going to flat out tell you that there are 5 miles left and you haven’t reached the hardest part yet. It’s not rude, just a courtesy to ensure your willingness to carry on isn’t zapped by the sheer difficulty of the hike.

If you would like to see more of the views, click here. If you want to order any prints, please email us.

Hope this helps your future planning, and let us know what other questions we can answer!

 Till next buzz honeybees! 

Aloha Lovers,

Tell us Your Tale, here!

Where will your love, have us embark on our next adventure?

Colorado-based + Worldwide Elopement Visuals


Ben + Becca

Telluride Colorado Adventure Photographer and Videographer discuss the honeymoon phase

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