St. Mary’s Glacier Trail is Amazing
St. Mary’s Glacier has an easy to moderate hike that will offer views that are up there with some of the best alpine spots in the world. It’s a fairly easy trail (1.5 hr round trip) but it will require some climbing through boulders. The elevation gain is approximately 350 ft.
As you can see by these photo’s, St. Mary’s Glacier Trail is a very popular hike that will lead you to some of the most breathtaking scenery around!
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).
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. You could easily spend a weekend exploring, and really delve into the nooks and crannies.
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.
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).
From the Junction of C-470 and I-70, take I-70 west about 25 miles past Idaho Springs to Exit #238 (Fall River Rd. or Rd 275). Follow Fall River Rd. for approximately 9 miles until you see the trail to St Mary’s Glacier on your left. The parking area is past the trailhead on the left. You will see cars parked in a big open, dirt lot.
Idaho Springs has a lot of little coffee shops (including drive-thru Starbucks) and cafe’s to eat at. One of our favorites is Beau Joe’s Pizza. (1517 Miner Street). There is also the famous Tommyknocker Brewery (famous beer, soda, and food are served in the Resturant, Pub & Brewery 1401 Miner St.) We also recommend the Georgetown Valley Candy Company ice cream shop.