Hiking James Peak (13,294')

Rate this Adventure Colorado St. Marys Glacier's Parking Lot

Added by Ryan Mckinney

  • Year round skiing and snowboarding on St. Mary's Glacier
  • Breathtaking Views
  • 13,294' Peak
  • 8.3 miles roundtrip with ~3000' elevation gain
  • Duration: Day Hike - Overnight

James Peak is one of 76 13,000'+ peaks in Colorado's front range. On your way up to the peak you will pass St. Mary's Glacier. It is not an actual glacier yet a permeant snow field that is popular among skiers and snowboarders year round. St. Mary's Glaicer is a very popular destination (though most do not continue past the snowfield) so make sure you arrive early to guarantee a parking spot.

From the parking lot head up Fall River Road about 500' until you reach St. Mary's Drive on your left. This trail is pretty rocky and has several offshoots (stay left of all offshoots). You will be on this trail for about a half mile before you reach St. Mary's Lake. Once you reach the lake you will see the snowfield(St. Mary's Glacier) in front of you on the opposite side of the lake. After you head up the snowfield, you will reach the tundra. From here you will see Mount Bancroft on the left and James Peak on the right. The trail will disappear at the jeep trail but there are several trail markers that will connect you back to it. As you head up the east face of James peak you will see Loch Lomond, Reynolds Lake, Stuart Lake, Ohman Lake, and Ice Lake. Before you reach the summit of James Peak you will pass two false summits. The coordinates for the summit are N39 51.122, W105 41.437.

The James Peak Wilderness offers some amazing views and great opportunities for backpacking. Keep a look out for big horn sheep and ptarmigan once on the tundra. The weather can turn quickly in the higher altitudes so plan accordingly.

Feel Like grabbing a beer after your hike?? On your way back to Denver stop at Tommyknocker Brewery & Pub in Idaho Springs. I also recommend trying their garlic parmesan fries!

Pack List

  • Hiking Gear
  • Water Filter (if you want to shave weight, there are plenty of places to fill up)
  • Camera
  • $5 Cash(Parking for St. Mary's Glacier is $5 per day. Make sure you do not park on the side of the road, you will get a ticket)
  • Skies or Snowboard if you want to ride down the snowfield on your way down
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Backpacking, Camping, Hiking, Photography, Skiing, Snowboarding, Snowshoeing

Skill Level:



Spring, Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:



8.3 Miles

Elev. Gain:

3000 Feet


Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Swimming Hole

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