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South Mineral Campground/Ice Lake Basin info...

Trailhead conditions, directions, roads, parking, camping, etc. Trailhead Info/Status
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South Mineral Campground/Ice Lake Basin info...

Postby HULKHIKEGOOD » Wed Apr 10, 2013 8:12 am

I am trying to plan a camping trip to the South Mineral campground near Silverton, and I want to make it a memorable one for my family. Just looking for any insight and suggestions from anyone who has camped/hiked in this area. And also when the wildflowers are in full bloom? My wife has never been to Colorado and I want to make her understand why I love it so much! Thanks in advance for any information you can provide!
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Re: South Mineral Campground/Ice Lake Basin info...

Postby DaveLanders » Wed Apr 10, 2013 12:31 pm

Ice Lake basin is a wonderful place. My first guess as to peak flower season would be late July,
but this could vary quite a bit depending on final snowpack this spring, and how much rain we get
in the early part of the summer. If you don't have to pin down an exact date for your trip until
later, then I would make another inquiry in early July. By then, people will have gone to Ice Lake
basin and can report on current conditions.

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Re: South Mineral Campground/Ice Lake Basin info...

Postby Brian Thomas » Wed Apr 10, 2013 12:45 pm

Hello, HULKHIKEGOOD.

I was down there twice last year. In late June I just camped along FR 585. The South Mineral CG and the other few campgrounds along the road there have facilities available from May to September. There is also a campground down in Silverton where you can get showers for $10. If you are hiking up into Ice Lakes Basin, and want to trim a few hundred vertical feet from your ascent, there is a Forest Road heading up to the right before you reach the South Mineral CG that should be accessible to most 2WD vehicles. Head up the road a ways and park at the first (and very obvious) switchback on the road, as indicated by the X on the attached google maps screenshot. I also stayed at the Golden Horn CG in that area when I was there in early October and I was one of the only campers there. Can't speak to when the wildflowers peak. Enjoy your visit, it is a beautiful area =D>

south-mineral.jpg
south-mineral.jpg (36.64 KiB) Viewed 812 times

http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/sanjuan/recreation/camping-cabins/recarea/?recid=43238&actid=29
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Re: South Mineral Campground/Ice Lake Basin info...

Postby mountaingoat-G » Wed Apr 10, 2013 2:56 pm

I've camped there in the distant past (90's) before everything was so popular and therefore crowded. I returned in the summer of 2010 and it was a mob scene (over 4th of July weekend, so maybe to be expected?). In the 90's, you could drive up and boon-dock just about anywhere that had enough space. in 2010 every nook & cranny was taken. YMMV

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Re: South Mineral Campground/Ice Lake Basin info...

Postby krs1 » Wed Apr 10, 2013 3:04 pm

If you got anything left in tank after the hike to Ice Lake do the spur hike to Island Lake. You could always take a ride on the Narrow Gauge RR. If you want a break from camping for a night or two stay at the OPUS Hut near Ophir Pass.

http://opushut.com/

Also, since you are in the area I would drive over and do the Blue Lakes hike in the Mt. Sneffels Wilderness Area pretty cool hike.

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Re: South Mineral Campground/Ice Lake Basin info...

Postby HULKHIKEGOOD » Thu Apr 11, 2013 5:56 am

Awesome info! thank you very much for the feedback!

Dave- Probably going late June, so we may miss out on the flowers. Late July into August will be my 14er trip that has already be scheduled. Thanks for the info!

Brian- Thanks for the map and the insight about the road, cutting a little off the trip will help my 4 kid's liklyhood of completeing the hike. We will be using this info for sure!

MtnGoat- Definitly going to avoid July 4th weekend at ALL COSTS, looking to be there later in June and be gone before the madness hits, thank you for your response!

Krs1- I will most likely do the Island Lake spur sans children. Thank you for the additional info as well!
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Re: South Mineral Campground/Ice Lake Basin info...

Postby Mtnman200 » Thu Apr 11, 2013 6:16 am

Brian: I too have started the hike to Ice Lake basin from the switchback you mentioned. The last time I was there (2001), a short section of the trail from the switchback to the main trail had eroded quite a bit. This was where the trail crossed a steep area, which meant a slip could mean ending up down the hillside a ways.

Have you been there recently? I'm wondering what this section of trail is like now. When I was first there in the 1980s, that section of trail was much wider (it's an old wagon road), but sure didn't look like an old wagon road anymore by 2001. Thanks.

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Re: South Mineral Campground/Ice Lake Basin info...

Postby Sugar Madison » Fri Apr 12, 2013 9:58 pm

I'm in Silverton every summer in early July for Hardrock... the time around the 4th is an absolute zoo (but the fireworks are SPECTACULAR). South Mineral Creek is ground zero for the redneck camping circus. There are other places to go that are a much more quiet (think: outside of town a bit, up higher).

Here are a few from early July last year (July 10 or 11):

Ice Lake
Image

Island Lake is cold
Image

Lots-o-flowers:
Image

Island Lake from Grant-Swamp Pass (July 13):
Image

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