St. Mary’s Glacier

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My cousin recommended this hike to us and now we’d like to recommend it to you! Put this on your to-do list for sure.

It’s a pretty short hike up to where the snowfield terminates at the lake. Only 3/4 of a mile, but uphill and rocky. Keep left at the forks to continue uphill until you reach the lake. This really is a beautiful area and easy to linger at.

Continuing up to the right of the lake, we crossed a bridge and then checked out the river running out from the snowfield down toward the lake.

We then started up the trail headed toward the top of the snowfield.

Originally we didn’t know how far up we wanted to go, only that we’d turn around when we felt like it. We were feeling good though and the weather was gorgeous, so we planned to at least get to the top of the snowfield and see what was up there. Turns out you come out into high alpine meadows, with other hills and mountains rising around you. It was really spectacular, like take your breath away kind of views all the way around. It’s the kind of place you twirl around, The Hills Are Alive / Sound of Music style. Up there you see James Peak and Mount Bancroft ahead, as well as Grays and Torreys, and Evans and Bierstadt to the left in the distance.

The Basics

Who: Nice short hike and good for most people but be aware that it is uphill and choose how far you will go based on your ability.

What: A 3/4 mile hike to the lake and bottom of the “glacier”, which is actually just a permanent snowfield, longer if you want to hike further up.
Where: Less than an hour drive from Denver.

When: It sounds like this can be a year-round destination. Skiers and snowboarders come out to the snowfield year-round and in fact we saw a few skiers ourselves. Be aware of avalanche danger.

Why: Take an enjoyable hike to St. Mary’s Lake and to St. Mary’s Glacier or up further to open meadows with mountain views.
How: Head west on I-70 and take exit 238 and drive north on Fall River Road. About 9 miles up there will be paid parking lots on the left both before and after the trailhead. Make sure to only park in the designated lots and to pay the $5 fee.
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