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Popular Ice Lake Trail in San Juans will reopen Wednesday following cleanup from 2020 Ice Fire

Ice Fire October 2020
Ice Fire.jpg
Ice Fire
Posted at 5:40 AM, Sep 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-14 07:55:35-04

DURANGO, Colo. — A popular trail in the San Juan National Forest will reopen this week after a 2020 wildfire damaged the area, forcing a closure that began in October of last year.

The San Juan National Forest’s Columbine Ranger District announced Monday that it will reopen the areas that were affected by the high-elevation, 596-acre Ice Fire — which included Ice Lake Trail, South Mineral Campground, Clear Lake Road (Forest Road 815) and South Mineral Road (Forest Road 585) — on Wednesday morning.

Ice Lakes_Jeff Anderson with Discover CO
Jeff Anderson, a member of the Discover Colorado | Through Your Photos group, posted this picture of Ice lake on Sept. 8, 2020.

The landscape has been slowly recovering from the Ice Fire and remained closed for almost a year due to risk of debris flows from monsoonal rain at the campground and across the trail in the Clear Creek watershed. The Columbine Ranger District announced the lengthy closure in May.

The Ice Lakes were not impacted by the fire, but the trail to them was heavily damaged.

U.S. Forest Service crews worked to clear 2.1 miles of trail and 3.11 miles of road.

Columbine District Ranger James Simino said while the trail, campground and roads are clear of debris, all visitors should stay on trail and know that hazards may still exist in the area.

South Mineral Campground will open with limited service until snow moves in. There is no access to bathrooms, trash pick-up or water at the campground. All visitors must park on the Clear Lake road and pack out any trash they bring in.

To learn more about recreating in this area, call the Columbine Ranger District office at 970-884-2512.

The fire was first reported west of Silverton on Oct. 19, 2020 and was fully contained on Oct. 27, 2020.