August 2017, I once again found myself visiting my son near Denver, Colorado. This time my sister-in-law, Kathy went with me who is a perfect road trip companion! We had a fun crazy road trip, great visit with my son, Tony and we were able to get in a hike or two. By far our favorite hike was at Saint Mary’s Glacier in Colorado.
Information on Saint Mary’s Glacier
Saint Mary’s Glacier is located near Idaho Springs, Colorado, which is about an hour from Denver, Colorado. It is easy to find. Drive west from Denver on I-70, take exit 238 which connects to Fall River Road, and follow this road about 9.5 miles to the Trailhead.
The hike is a popular one, as it is close to Denver and is a relatively short, moderate hike. The trail is an out and back and is about 1.5 round trip. I did not notice any markings on the trail, except for the trailhead sign that is marked, ‘Glacier Trail’. The way to the glacier was obvious, go up! For more trail information you can follow this link: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/colorado/st-mary-s-glacier .
The Hike Up
We arrived mid morning and were able to find a place to park even though the lots were pretty full. The trailhead provides two parking lots which both have a parking fee which was $5 when we were there. It was a beautiful sunny morning with just a bit of a chill in the air. The first half mile or so of the trail is through forest and the path is rocky. Not huge rocks, where it’s a reach to step up, but rocky enough that you need to watch your footing, wear good shoes. Once through the forest, trees became scarce and wild flowers were in bloom.
Saint Mary’s Lake
The trail flattened out and trees gave way to a beautiful mountain lake fed by snow melting from the glacier. The lake is a clear blue color with a rocky shore. You can see the glacier from the lake. Kathy and I had a great time just hanging at the lake, taking pictures and enjoying the beauty of it all. Squirrels were all over the place and not shy at all. They scampered all around the rocks and boulders looking for any morsel they could find. Remember, never feed wild life anywhere!!
Saint Mary’s Glacier
As much as we loved the lake, the snow on the glacier was calling us. We hiked up the last quarter of a mile to see the snow on the glacier! After the somewhat steep hike to the snow, the coldness of the snow and alpine chill was so refreshing! The panoramic views of the lake below and mountains all around were absolutely amazing! There is snow on the glacier all year long. We were there in August so not a lot of snow, but it was slick. Definitely worth the hike and this is one hike I will do again.
Our hike down was unremarkable. We then went to Idaho Springs for a bite to eat and some shopping. Idaho Springs is a cute little mountain town which has a variety of shops with local and Colorado products. A fun area to spend part of an afternoon.
All in all, I would say Saint Mary’s Glacier is a perfect mountain hike. The panoramic views are astounding and the trail is short and easy to follow.
Photo were taken by Myself or Kathy
If you would like to read more of my Colorado short hikes near Denver you can follow these links below: