Hike St. Mary's Glacier

2 Miles Round Trip - 467 ft gain - Out-and-Back Trail

St. Mary's Glacier Parking Area - Search Nearby - Added by Alyssa Aaron

Quick hike with amazing views only 45 minutes from Denver! If you'd like a little taste of snow year round this is your spot. Pack your skies, snowboard, or sled for the way down.

Just West of Idaho Springs on I-70 take the St. Mary's Alice Exit. Take a right and stay on the main road and follow the signs for about 8 miles (watch on the right side of the road for a surprise pink pig). There are two parking lots for the trailhead. The larger one is South of the trail and a smaller one North, both of which require a $5 parking permit. We parked at the South lot and there are two porta potties which is where you need to go to pay for your for parking. You'll see the box for your permit on the outside of one of the potties (don't forget a pen).

From the parking lot head North on the side of the road for about 100 yards where you'll see a sign and the start of the trail. The trail up to the lake is surprisingly short but steep and rocky. At times it can be difficult, especially for smaller children, when going over the larger rocks. As always stay on the trail; in this case it's surrounded by private property. After only 3/4 of a mile up the trail you will start to see an opening and once you're out of the tree line get ready for the views.

First you will come upon the lake. This is is a great spot for a snack or even a picnic. You can walk around and there are plenty of spots to sit and take in the view. Out to the right you'll see the glacier, which oddly enough isn't even a glacier despite it's name, but a large perennial snowfield. The fun doesn't have to stop at the lake, as the trail continues up the north side of the glacier! As you continue up the trail on the snowfield it becomes slippery, as you can imagine, so I used Yaktrax during this part. Continue up the snowfield and it will relatively quickly open up to a beautiful tundra. Now you can turn around and hike back down or grab your skies, snowboard, or sled for a quick trip back down to the lake!

Tags

Hiking
Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Forest
Lake
Scenic

Details

2 Miles
467 ft elevation gain
Out-and-Back Trail

Stay Nearby

Black Hawk, Colorado

Pickle Gulch

Central City, Colorado

Denver West / Central City KOA

Black Hawk, Colorado

Cold Springs

Idaho Springs, Colorado

West Chicago Creek

Nearby Adventures

Hiking James Peak (13,294')

8.3 Miles Round Trip - 3000 ft gain

Explore 'The Hidden Gems' of Loch Lomond

4.6 Miles Round Trip - 950 ft gain

Explore Fall River Reservoir

1 Miles Round Trip - 144 ft gain

More Nearby Adventures

Tours

More Tours

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Snowy But Worth It

It was SOOO beautiful and the run down the glacier was the best part.

Not truly a glacier but still a neat icefield to see. The views are amazing at the top and this can be a fun wintertime hike too.

High winds at top of snowfield

I just did this hike and it was incredible! We wanted to keep going at the top to hike down the other side, but the winds were intense. We tried to stick it out, but couldn't go much further. The higher we went, the more the winds tried to fight us. I'm not sure if the winds are always like that, but maybe try to check the winds before you go out or try earlier in the day.