Ice Lakes Area in San Juans, CO to Remain Closed All Summer Due to Safety Risks Caused by 2020 Wildfire

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Flash floods and debris flows pose a hazard to life safety following wildfires. This photo was taken in spring, 2021, following the 2020 Ice Fire. Credit: USFS

The San Juan National Forest’s Columbine Ranger District has extended the closure order of the Ice Lakes area until September 15, 2021. The Columbine Ranger District coordinated closely with San Juan County to evaluate area hazards posed to life safety and the resulting need to extend the closure order time frame. As a result, Forest Order SJ-2021-02 extends the closure (map), which includes South Mineral Campground as well as the lower Ice Lakes Trail, the lower Clear Lake Road (NFSR 815), and the South Mineral Road (NFSR 585) from a new gate past Goldenhorn camping area to where it crosses Clear Creek past South Mineral Campground. The closure applies to ALL public entry, including hikers, mountain bikers, snowshoers, skiers, and all motorized use.

Numerous fire-weakened trees are falling on the lower sections of Ice Lakes Trail and the Clear Lake Road. Trees, rocks, and boulders continue to fall across the Clear Lake road. Exposed soils devoid of vegetation are saturated by rain and snow and are loose, unstable, and prone to erosion events. Typical high-elevation afternoon thunderstorms and monsoon rains pose a further hazard in producing debris flows. Forest Service crews will work to mitigate hazards along the Ice Lake Trail and Clear Lake Road.

Map of the closure area. Full details on the closure can be found on the closure order:…/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd915775.pdf Credit: USFS

Public entry into this area is prohibited for the safety of forest visitors. Violations of these regulations are punishable as a Class B misdemeanor by a fine of not more than $5000 for an individual. The public is prohibited from being in or upon:

  • any portion of the Ice Lakes Trail, from the trailhead to the timberline, is prohibited.
  • the Clear Lake Road between milepost 0.0 and milepost 3.77.
  • the South Mineral Road between milepost 2.47 and milepost 4.51.
  • National Forest System (NFS) land below the Ice Lakes and Clear Lake headwaters and all NFS lands bounded on the west by the eastern side of Lower Ice Lakes Basin and a ridge forming the southeast side of the basin to Clear Creek. On the north from the top switchback of the Clear Lake road south to 100 yards south and west of South Mineral Creek, including South Mineral road. On the east from the locked gate, past the Goldenhorn Campground to where South Mineral road crosses Clear Creek and running due north from the locked gate to an unnamed peak east of the top switchback of Clear Lake road.

For more information about this closure, please call the Columbine Ranger District at (970) 884-2512.

For information on current fire restrictions, conditions, and recreation opportunities on the San Juan National Forest, call (970) 247-4874, visit the forest website, or follow them on social media (Twitter and Facebook).

ice lakes, colorado, san juans
Fire-weakened trees down across a roadway following the 2020 Ice Fire on the Columbine Ranger District. Credit: USFS

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