• Activities:

    Snowboarding, Camping, Photography, Skiing, Snowshoeing, Backpacking, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Spring, Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    8.3 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    3000 Feet

Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Groups
Lake
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife
Swimming Hole

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
Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Community Photos

+ Add Photos

Reviews

Overall rating:  Rate this Adventure

Leave a Review

Have you done this adventure? Leave a review!

Are we missing something? Suggest an edit

Nearby Adventures

Hike the Sugar Bowl Loop in Kings Canyon NP

Tulare County, California

First and foremost, to get to this trailhead you need to drive down a 2-mile, one lane dirt road that is quite steep.

6 Saves

Hike to Ehukai Pillbox

59178 Ke Nui Road, Hawaii

This hike starts directly across from Banzai Pipeline, the famous barreling wave at Ehukai Beach.

7 Saves

Winter Hike to Calypso Cascades

1046 County Highway 115, Colorado

While most people go snowshoeing near the Bear Lake or Glacier Gorge area in RMNP, Wild Basin is a much less trafficked option.

5 Saves