Explore the most popular Bird Watching trails in James Peak Wilderness with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

hiking
8 days ago

Very beautiful hike and no wind today! There was some snow and ice, and I would highly recommend microspikes. You could maybe (and that's a big maybe) go without microspikes, but make sure your shoes have good tread. Also, I would highly recommend using a gps or download the map, because the trail was a little difficult to find. However, we loved it and had a great hike! We saw very few people.

hiking
icy
off trail
snow
19 days ago

Started at 7am at the trailhead. Trail to St. Mary's Glacier trailhead was icy, necessitating microspikes. Very windy and powdery above tree line; floatation highly recommended.

hiking
rocky
scramble
snow
25 days ago

Unsung hero of this entire area. I would put it at top of list, even across all Indian Peaks. Absolute killer view looking from south to north across the entire Indian Peak landscape. Take pics on final approach to summit. Will be some of your favorites above that epic background. Honestly, if you have a decent 4WD vehicle, would go from Loch Lomond side. Much shorter hike and way less crowded. Burly rig? Killer drive all the way to Kingston/James saddle. Secret camping spot up there... but need 4 season tent, even in summer. Wind is ferocious at night!

hiking
1 month ago

Left st Mary's trailhead at 8. Didn't see anyone till the way down near the Glacier. 5 hours up. Half hour at the top and 2 hours back. The pictures speak for themselves. Amazingly beautiful day. Very windy. Puffy stayed on almost the entire time.

hiking
1 month ago

Second time doing this trail. It is one of my favorites. The trail gets confusing in one section after St Mary’s glacier but you can always find your way to it. Was very cold today and extremely windy at and near the summit. Arrived at about 6:50am and upper lot has only two cars. Total trail time was a little over 4 hours.

hiking
no shade
rocky
washed out
1 month ago

JUST SO EVERYONE KNOWS (PSA): I ran into the lady who owns the parking lots and she said they are going to raise the prices to $20 next year! They are working on improving the lot conditions so the upper two parking lots are roped off and being worked on. I got to the trailhead at 7:30 and I was the first person there and It was below freezing out so dress warmly! Overall I think the trails in this area are super washed out and rocky from natural things but also the amount of foot traffic. There are so many trails turning off in different directions and nothing is marked. Half of them just merge to the “main trail” again and who knows about the other ones. I find the hike a bit less meditative and enjoyable when I’m constantly wondering which way to go and if it’s the right way. This app helped me a lot! Also, I believe the wind tunnels through this valley because the wind was super intense! I’m small and I was getting “tossed around” a bit toward the top. Luckily there isn’t much exposure near the summit. Bring a wind layer FOR SURE! i love reaching the summit of peaks for the views, but this one wasn’t very special to me. You do get a panorama view but It quite barren in the area (probably because the wind is so intense). There are some pretty alpine lakes to see along the way and I saw no one the whole hike until St. Mary’s glacier coming down. So if you want a quiet solo hike not a bad choice if you get there early.

hiking
1 month ago

Looks awesome with the leaves. Pretty easy hike. Great for the dog and easy path into the town of Winter Park.

hiking
1 month ago

Looks awesome with the leaves. Pretty easy hike. Great for the dog and easy path into the town of Winter Park.

hiking
1 month ago

Looks awesome with the leaves. Pretty easy hike. Great for the dog and easy path into the town of Winter Park.

hiking
1 month ago

If not my favorite hike ever, this is pretty darn close. You get about 4 different types of terrain, and none of them is too hard. This would also be a great kid- and dog-friendly first 13-er for anyone who's trying to get into high-altitude hiking. This is what Colorado is all about. On the way up, walked right up the snowfield to the plateau. While it is moderately confusing finding the trail on the plateau, you can always see the 4x4 road and the trail going up James Peak so it would be really hard to truly get lost. Left the upper parking lot at 7:20. Took 3 hours to summit, 15 minutes on top and 2:30 down for 5:45 total round trip. My phone said 8.5 miles RT, but only 3.75 uphill -- that makes sense since we went around the ice field on the way down and also took the trail further south on the way down before cutting through to the 4x4 road. Amazing that we almost saw more vehicles up there than people -- about 5 vehicles total on the 4x4 road and 7 other people. Of course, on the way down, once we got to the permanent snowfield dozens of people were skiing and snowboarding and playing with their kids and dogs. A few tips: *As you look across the plateau, James Peak is the rounded mountain on your right. Don't go too far left -- I think Parry and Bancroft are the craggy mountains there. *The rounded summit you see crossing the plateau is not even close to James' summit. As you climb the trail to the left of the summit, you'll see that the actual summit is the 4th or 5th rounded mass. *As others have said, on your return, be sure to go to the left drainage with the big mass of black rock above it. That will get you back to St. Mary's Glacier. Not sure where the right drainage goes.

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike! The fall colors were spectacular and there was fresh snow on the peak!

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful fall colors and not too crowded on a Friday (until you get to the lake on the way down). The trail is extremely well-maintained and easy to follow. Started hiking at 7, peaked at 9, and decided to loop in Kingston Peak. Still made it back down to my car by 11:15!

hiking
1 month ago

Starting hiking at 7am on a Saturday, at lot 1 with a few spaces left. Not many on the trail and Jt was a brisk 35 degrees, which was perfect for the incline. If it weren’t for a few people that I talked to I wouldn’t have found the trail past the glacier. Find the service road, turn right for just a few steps, then find a white sign and a national forest sign that then leads you to a great trail. I also tracked the length on my garmin watch and it recorded 11 miles from the parking lot to the peak and back, not 8. Otherwise a great, strenuous hike. Highly recommend going early as there were A TON of people at the lake and glaciers when I was on my way down around 11:00

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful and peaceful after you get past the glacier. Didn’t see a soul... incredible scenery. Blissfully peaceful.

hiking
1 month ago

Stunning hike. Highly suggest you see for yourself :)

hiking
1 month ago

Great out and back day hike. really had fun on the snowpack that used to be St Mary's glacier. The glacier lakes on the way up to James peak are gorgeous, but so is St Mary's lake. lots of people and group on the Sunday we went.

hiking
1 month ago

Arrived at 6am on 9/14. Only 3 other cars in the first lot. Overall hike was fantastic. Walking up the glacier early was easy with just regular hiking boots. It was a bit more slippery on the way down after baking in the sun a few hours. As others have stated, once you hit the 4x4 road the trail stops. If you walk right 100 yds there is a cairn that leads to not much of a trail, but if you use the alltrails map ( I had 3g at that point) you can find the trailmarker to the divide trail quickly and head up to start the peak. Hike was difficult but manageable. The hardest part is the last mile, but push onward and it's well worth it. Fantastic summit view of the divide facing north, mountains way out west, and mt evans, grays, torrys south. Climbing down was easy. The glacier was the only semi sketchy part. It was easier to stick with a path along the rocks. I encountered 3 people on the summit, and upon return to the lake, there were 200-300 people there easily. Total time was 6am-11:40 pm to my car, and I spent 30 minutes at the summit. Overall reccomend this hike to anyone! On a side note, I met 2 people that help maintain the area when I arrived. Super cool people that do a thankless job so please pay the $5 parking. Every bit helps.

hiking
2 months ago

Bring $5 for the parking. Solid trail, with nice, if not mind-blowing views from the top. The first leg of it is a little rocky, but once you reach the lake (reservoir?) the quality picks up.

hiking
2 months ago

Well identified path (with the exception of one small area but you can quickly pick up the trail). Non strenuous, but a steady climb. A blue trail in my opinion. Pretty scenery.

hiking
rocky
2 months ago

Seriously my new favorite trail! I went a week ago and the conditions were perfect and the wind was just right. I would definitely recommend getting there early so you don’t have to worry about crowds and parking. I got there at 7:30 AM and there were only 10 cars in the second parking lot. Remember to bring $5 cash for parking fee. If I remember correctly, they accept checks as well. No credit cards. You start off passing thru St Mary Glacier so that is definitely a plus. Once you pass St Mary Glacier, it’s nice being in solitude. I passed a few ppl on my way but most of the time it was just me and nature. The last mile to the summit was the most challenging part but the views are worth it. By the time I passed St Mary glacier (around 11:20 AM) on the way to my car, it was overly crowded and there wasn’t any parking spots open. The whole street line was full of cars.

hiking
rocky
scramble
snow
2 months ago

This might be my new favorite trail. It is challenging but manageable. The scenery is spectacular. The peak was covered in cloud but it actually really cool at the top. No one else was there. I started around 7am, parked in the closes smaller lot. Saw few people on the trail. Coming down St Mary’ glacier was very crowded but above that hardly anyone. Highly recommend this trail. Only one part where trail disappears but using AllTrails you easily find it again. Directions were completely accurate.

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