Cerulean Tarn


This cerulean tarn, better known as Ice Lake, gets its unique color from glacial powder. Color is also provided by the spring flowers and perfect day.

Note: A special edition photograph of this location is available. Please contact us for details.


Just when you think you have seen every color there is to see, there is always another one waiting for you. Nature keeps you on toes, if only you know where to look. Cerulean Tarn is one of those places.

This is Ice Lake, located in the heart of Colorado’s San Juan mountains, at the top of Ice Lake Basin. The colors are completely natural, and the lake sports this gorgeous shade of cerulean, a color somewhere between blue and cyan, and as reasonable description as you will find.

Colorado has just a handful of truly blue lakes, this being one of them, and the color, almost florescent, defines the imagination. However, color comes from the water itself, which contains a very high concentration of glacial flour.

Glaciers grinding down the bedrock create the fine powder, or flour. The lake’s cerulean color results from flour suspended in the water column.

Overall, this is not a big lake, but you don’t have to be huge to be incredibly gorgeous. The day was absolutely perfect, and the summer thunderstorms were just beginning to build.

Later, heavy clouds rolled in, taking the sunlight away. Yet, the lake still glowed its mystical cerulean, thanks to the extraordinary forces of glaciers.

More from the San Juan Mountains

Mears Embrace is also from the San Juan Mountains.

Additional information


Matted Photograph, Finished Aluminum