Explore the most popular wildlife 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.

backpacking
3 days ago

7/16-6/17. Did this trail as my first solo backpacking trip in Colorado. Hiked up to the lakes Saturday, pitched my tent at the upper lake and had an amazing night of solitude among the beautiful scenery. Still a significant amount of snow once past the first lake. I relied on previous footsteps and a good map to keep the trail heading towards Forest Lake #2. Overall, an awesome hike through pine/spruce/fir, with many river crossings and waterfalls. The lakes are gorgeously set against a mountain backdrop. Not much of a landscape view from the trail, but it’s easy enough to scramble just a bit higher for spectacular views. I know this is a popular day hike, and I highly recommend it for an overnight trip if you’re looking for short hiking mileage and a quiet backcountry night.

5/12/18: Did this mid day with my dog. Beautiful trail mostly through pine forests. Lots of shade and water with a few stream and waterfall crossings, and wildflowers. Snow still present around 1/3 mile to the lake, but could navigate there following others' postholes. Classic beautiful subalpine lake with mountain background view. Rating this 4 stars in comparison to similar hikes in the area, but stunning nonetheless especially if visiting.

Unforgettable experience to hike on of the county’s most iconic peaks. First few miles have a trail but the rest of the way you have to typewriter Across the mountains untill you reach the accent to Perry’s. So many cool views of lakes toward the east. There isnt any need to cross over any snow. If there is any it is easy to walk around it. I should also mention that i did not go all the way to mt. Bancroft, only to Perry’s. But that was my goal. Highly recommend this trail to anyone but make sure to bring plenty of water and snacks. At the halfway point there is a very steep decent and then accent on the way back that really kick my ass. Took 2 men and the old doggo 9 hours.

hiking
16 days ago

Super nice hike up to a gorgeous lake. Still a lot of snow near the top starting at about the last mile which added to the workout. The last half mile has lots of snow and post-holed a few times. Lots of waterfalls right now. Once we finally got to the lake were the only ones up there.

hiking
17 days ago

Hiked this last year but storms came rolling in so didnt make it all the way to the peak. Yesterday we climbed over St. Mary's glacier through crazy winds and finally made it to the peak for a spectacular view. Highly recommend micro spikes I used them a lot. This is a very difficult hike and very steep so be prepared for it to take some time to complete. We took a few breaks and round trip took us 6 hours. Get there early this place gets insanely packed so we started at 6am

Hiked today with my pup. Still lots of snow after you cross the half-out bridge and start to cut up towards the lake. But it’s do-able and snow should clear in the next couple weeks! Great hike!

hiking
24 days ago

Only made it 2 miles in, half a bridge was out and with a dog and waterfall wasn’t willing to risk it. Up to that point there was this snow covered spots but it wasn’t terrible

skiing
1 month ago

Skinned up and skied down. Great snow conditions all the way up. Snowshoes are needed as the sun warms up the snow as the day goes on.

hiking
2 months ago

When up to the start of the ascent and decided not to do the peak. Wind was super strong. No one else was out on the mountain. Snowshoes were extremely helpful (yay Revo Ascent!). Crampons and spikes were not needed on the glacier, though the hike from the parking lot to the lake had some pretty slick spots, especially for non-hiking shoes. Boyfriend brought his skis and took a few runs down the glacier.

hiking
3 months ago

Hiked 3/8. Snow from the Moffat Tunnel mostly packed down first half. Lots of snow second half, recommend show shoes. We made it to the top without, with lots of post holing. About 2/3 into the hike, you come into an opening with 2-3 different paths, stay to the right, you will soon hike in between 2 sawed-off tree stumps, continue up hill through the small canyon to the lake! Amazing hike, beautiful trail! Ps Watch out for cross country skiers.

hiking
3 months ago

This was a great hike. Took me about 3 hours 45 to the summit and 1 hour 15 to get back down. Crampons would have been great to get up that glacier. Had to stick to the rocks on the north side to get up which then caused me to miss the trail through the open space. Not a problem really though if you can identify the peak and cross. Was able to locate cairns to the top. The hardest part may have been getting back down the glacier without crampons. I basically skied down with my boots. The wind was a huge factor. Great hike overall.

hiking
3 months ago

Did this hike today 2/28. Trail was packed down until about a half mile from the lake. You can use just boots, slick in some spots so I used micro spikes. The lake is completely covered in snow. You can snowboard down the majority of the way. Lots of tree cover.

Great Winter Hike when weather cooperates.

We hiked this two summers ago. Overall it’s a beautiful and difficult hike but takes some bushwhacking to find the trail. Hiked up St Mary’s glacier (microspikes might have been helpful but we didn’t have any), the trail continues for a bit and then abruptly stops at which point you have to bushwhack/trailblaze a little to get to the “next” trail that takes you up to the peak. I’d HIGHLY recommend marking a GPS coordinate at this point, or leaving a piece of fabric you can pick up on your way down. We failed to do this and hiked past the point we originally bushwhacked through and ended up a fair bit off trail. The majority of the trail is also above tree line so be sure to hike early.

hiking
7 months ago

-- Needed spikes for boots
-- Snowshoes are a very-nice-to-have
-- Orange hat/bright colors good to have as the hunters are present
There are multiple trails once you get past the meadow so be mindful of your direction.

Great hike with good views. Never disappoints.

hiking
8 months ago

Beautiful, but difficult hike.

I loved this trail. You won't regret hiking this trail, whether it be a day or three.

Hiked this awesome peak with great views (Saint Mary's Lake and Glacier and about 8 or so lakes you can see from the trail and peak) on 9/8/17 with the Boulder Social Hikers Meet-up Group. We had fun and I plan to hike it again next year.

Bit gnarly at first... epic views.

hiking
9 months ago

Nice steady climb through fairly thick forest with a nice lake at the top. There is a trail around the lake and some nice spots for lunch. The parking lot is huge so even if the trail is crowded you should be able to find a spot to park. It was very busy in the parking lot over Labor Day weekend. However the lake at the top was pretty quite. Overall a nice hike.

The pin for this trail head location is no longer accurate, where it says to turn right on the 4x4 road you should stay left on 353 wilderness route. We originally took the right, after a few miles of very slow going AWD driving we reached a private no trespassing gate. We were able to turn around and use the James Peak Wilderness directions we'd printed to find 353 wilderness route (which from 4 is staying left not going right at the fork). The park printed directions say it is 3 miles, it's farther than that - at 3 miles from the previous mentioned fork, we came to an overlook and a "seasonal road" sign, from there it was about another 1.5 miles to the trail head. there is parking at the trail head although the route is not for the faint of heart, running one lane on a ledge for the last half mile. we ended up parking at the "seasonal road" sign and hiking into the trail head on 353. that worked well, we just needed to move over for dirt bikes and 4x4s as we approached the trail.

9 months ago

This is a gorgeous and difficult hike. You first have to ascend to the lake, then the glacier and finally the mountain itself. After crossing the road, look for a large brown sign, its a little ways west of the road, the trail is there. Their are a few false summits so stay strong. If I can do it you can.

hiking
9 months ago

Great hike! Beautiful Forrest views the entire way. Nice steady incline and lots of streams. The lake at the top was gorgeous, however I don't think we made it to the farthest lake?.. the flies at the top were kind of bad. The hike we did was at least 8 miles.

hiking
10 months ago

Came up St. Mary's glacier. Lost the trail when we reached the 4wheel drive road. Figured it out 2 miles later. Lol. Got to the top and was happy!!! It's a tough hike. Caleb(11) was tired and got a headache coming down. Next time I bring kids Tylenol!! Reward with BeauJo's pizza!!!!

Definitely one of the most beautiful hikes I've been on! You'll wanna start early, bring $5 for parking and either poles or snow shoe clamps to get up saint marys glacier. I saw multiple people who were unable to complete just the beginning portion of the glacier because they didn't have the right gear for hiking in the snow. It was a challenging hike but the views were worth it, I'll for sure do it again!

Just back from this hike. Quite breezy. From above the glacier the trail is a good highway unlike some 13ers like Square top. Yaked on summit for almost a half hour and got cold.

hiking
10 months ago

Beautiful trail, absolutely breathtaking. Hiked up St. Mary's glacier to James Peak. Highly recommend starting early. We started about 7:30 and didn't get down till about 12:15.

I wish there would've been more reviews about the road. We were unable to access the hike due to the rocky terrain. I wouldn't try it unless you have high clearance 4WD! Beautiful area otherwise.

10 months ago

the roads to the trail werent named correctly and the trail was closed. not able to access from these directions. epic fail.

hiking
10 months ago

Beautiful hike that had a lot of variety. The trail was not too technical and only had a few brief sections of skree. Great views. I would definitely suggest bringing crampons and maybe hiking poles too. My biggest complaint against this trail is that there are zero trail markers. There wasn't even a sign at the beginning that said "James Peak Trail". Instead, I just headed towards St Mary's Glacier, but this trail is also completely unmarked and has many forks. Follow the large boulders and wider route and simply look for the snow on the mountain above you. Once you reach the glacier, just start to climb. At the top you will be able to see cairns. Follow them. However, once you reach the off-roading trail, the James Peak trail disappears. This required some minor trudging through mountain tundra until we could reach the trail about 200 yards away (again, just look for the cairns). Main theme here: Just look for cairns. I found the main route published on this site to be entirely inaccurate. Instead, follow the recent recordings listed on this page. They were much more helpful.

Although the trail was unmarked it was still beautiful! I would absolutely recommend. Just make sure your phone is fully charged and you have this map pulled up before you lose service.

Load More