I've hiked this trail a few times. Its an awesome area, there are a few other trail junctions along the way that are worth checking out as well. In winter Rogers Pass trail is usually pretty easy to follow until you get up by Rogers Peak Lake and then anything goes, most tracks aren't going to be on the trail, and some of them just go off in random directions. Definitely recommend bringing GPS and topo map.
I took this trail as far as Mt. Flora this past Sept. It had just snowed the night before so there was a couple inches on the ground. The first .8 of a mile does follow the service road to Colorado Mines Peak. Then the trail to Mt. Flora and beyond breaks off at the 4th switchback of the road. Pretty easy walking and the bulk of this hike is above tree line. Good views back towards Winter Park, and a 360 degree view when you reach the top that is well worth it. It appears the rest of the hike beyond Mt. Flora would be a series of peak to saddle to peak to saddle sections, following ridge lines. May have to return to go further next time.
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