St. Mary’s Glacier Trail

St Marys Glacier Trail

St. Mary’s Glacier Trail is a very popular hike that will lead you to some of the most breathtaking scenery around!
st marys glacier lake

From the parking lot you will hike about ½ mile up a gentle slope. This trail is heavily used and it is rugged because it follows a boulder field. You will wind your way in and around these rocks for about 20 minutes until you reach the glacial lake and the ice field itself (St. Mary’s glacier is actually not a glacier, but an ice field).

St Marys Trail Snow

Spectacular views! The trail ends here, but there are many little trails that will take you around the water, and/or up to the snow itself.

St Marys Trail
Plan to take your camera, your picnic and maybe even a sled if you are daring enough to try out the snow. Also plan to spend a good 30 minutes wandering around the area just enjoying the valley, the water, and the beauty.

st marys glacier tree

Picnic Site Recommendations:

Take your lunch and eat at the lake. There are many places to spread your meal and enjoy the crisp cool air.

Note: There is now ample parking, with two parking lots close to the trail head. Porta potties are there as well as dog waste bag dispenser, trash & recycle cans, and the only year round maintained legal parking for the area.

DON’T PARK ON THE ROAD! You will get a $62.50 ticket so $5 parking is worth it! The charge is $5 per vehicle, per day. No change given and no ATm’s. Cash and checks only (they no longer accept credit cards).

19 thoughts on “St. Mary’s Glacier Trail

  1. Thehumps3

    7/31/10 I hike this trail with my family this morning. We arrived at around 9:30 and there were very few people hiking at that time. The trail is pretty rocky and sandy and I slipped a couple of times. I would suggest a hiking stick or poles (especially if you are hiking up the “glacier”). The trail itself to the lake is very short and once at the lake, the glacier trail is directly opposite. I sat on a boulder taking pictures & enjoying the views while my son and husband hiked up and down the glacier. The views are to die for!

    Thanks so much for you site. Lots of great info that I regularly use.

    • Mary Norton Post author

      So glad you left your comments! St Mary’s Glacier Hike IS very special and very beautiful especially early in the day when there is nobody around! Thanks again and Happy Hiking!

    • Mary Norton Post author

      It is open in March, but it will still be covered in snow making it a tough climb unless you are experienced winter hikers with the appropriate gear. We would usually wait until late May to hike this one with our family. It’s a beautiful hike, good luck!

  2. Carl

    Just a little tip to all who aren’t familiar with the parking situation : the parking lots are $5 cash or check and there isn’t an ATM or a place to make change anywhere near them. Stop at Idaho Springs and grab some cash. I learned the hard way 🙁

  3. Ann

    I don’t understand how everyone says this is an “easy” hike. It’s uphill the entire way at 10,000 feet, very rocky and the rocks get slippery as you get closer to the glacier. I think of an easy hike as one you could take your grandma on, such as Fowler Trail in El Dorado Canyon. This may be short but it is more of a moderate hike.

  4. Debra Krueger Kubiak

    Hi Mary – Your hiking descriptions are great and I use them often as our Pack Hikemiester for Cub Scouts. Any thoughts on St. Mary’s Glacier Trail and if it is a good choice to bring our boys to this Saturday?

    • marynorton

      Hi! We haven’t been up there this week but I’m assuming there’s a lot of snow on the trail. Go check out They have a very active forum and you may get an answer from those die-hard hikers who go in all types of weather. Someone there probably knows what the trail is like. Good luck!

  5. dennis

    I would like to bring m girls. They are 5 and 6. Tough and walked/hiked 3 miles round trup with me before. I wonder if i can bring them here.

  6. sfelt

    I hiked this one on Sunday Aug 25, 2013 and it was awesome. I just need to know what the total elevation gain is to the top. Not the lake, the top of the mountain past the snow fields looking out at the mountains of the West about an hour or so past the snow fields. Anyone know what the elevation is up there?


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