Beautiful hike. Went up the St. Mary's glacier side. It starts steep and rocky all the way until you get up past the glacier. It was a little hard to follow the trail from there. Just look for the cairns that are stacked high. There is a gorgeous view of Evans, Bierstadt, Gray's, and Torrey's, and you can see all the way out to the flatlands. We had to stop about a quarter mile short of the peak due to weather, but will definitely come back to finish!
Nice hike. Easy on the feet/legs/knees for the most part. I only ran into ONE other person after the turn for Forest Lakes. The colors in the trees look amazing this time of year. Be sure to go past the 1st lake onto the 2nd. There is a lot of parking, but by the time i finished (1pm), it was PACKED. I think most of the people that park there go to crater lakes trail though.
Lynne R. on James Peak Trail
I went up thru the St Mary's Glacier side. Climbing up the side of the Glacier on the gravel is very hard on my knees & ankles as it's all very loose gravel. However once you get to the top, you then hit the Divide trail. There is no clear path to James Peak Trail from here. I found it was more direct and easier to bushwack straight from where I intersected with the Divide and you will then eventually hit another trail with Cairns that will get you up the Mountain. It took me a bit longer than 8.6 miles, I would say it's more like 9.5. Once you get on the correct trail and you get to the bottom of the mountain, it's all uphill from there but the sights are one of a kind. I would def rate this trail as Strenuous, as you're hiking about 4000 ft in elevation gain, the first half at the Glacier then a mile rest to the Divide and then once you get to the base of the mountain. If you have spikes, hiking the Glacier on the snow may have been an easier feat for my knees
We did this hike last Saturday (8/20/2016) and it exceeded high expectations. We set out from the trailhead at about 10 and ran in to very few people on the way up. Make sure to not stop at the first lake, like this trail map shows. The second lake is about 15 more minutes up the trail and is much more beautiful. Highly recommend this trail
Beautiful hike with awesome views - you can see Evans, Bierstadt, Gray's and Torrey's in the distance. Really difficult but worth it for the views from the top - plus when you start early, you barely see anyone else so you pretty much will have the peak to yourself!
Great hike - I went this past weekend, and most of the snow was gone. Still pockets of it here and there once you get within the last mile on the way up to the lakes, but we weren't post-holing which was a plus. Steady climb for most of the hike to both lakes. I would recommend getting an early-ish start - we started at 7:30 and barely saw anyone, until our way down, so that's always nice.