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James Peak Trail is a 8 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Black Hawk, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 8.0 miles Elevation Gain: 2,949 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

hiking

rock climbing

skiing

snowshoeing

bird watching

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

snow

no shade

fee

NOTE: There is a $5 fee to park for this trail.

hiking
snow
4 days ago

Overall a pretty great hike! So may things to see and the views are amazing. I started at St. Mary's. Once you get past the first incline from st. Mary's it levels out quite a bit and then you start the actual clime to James peak. Make sure you look for cairns to stay on the trail.

hiking
icy
snow
4 days ago

hiking
icy
no shade
snow
10 days ago

hiking
snow
1 month ago

Hiked part of this (got 3 miles in) on 4/3. Spikes were sufficient until about 2.5-2.75 in and after that I think snow shoes would have been needed for the last part of it. Post holing and walking up that incline was exhausting! We got extremely lucky with literally 0 wind and it was absolutely beautiful. We saw someone get saved by search and rescue about 1 mike in climbing up a part off to the right hand side- I hope they’re okay. There were 7 search and rescue people on the trail starting to trek up the steep incline and another 10 in the parking lot.

snowshoeing
snow
1 month ago

Fantastic trek in winter conditions. Microspikes were fine for St. Mary's Glacier and the tundra plain beyond, but once you hit the steeper inclines, snowshoes or skins were a must. Fairly windy but not too insane. What a fun experience.

hiking
snow
1 month ago

Hiked this on Sunday, 4/25, and skied off the top. Snow was crusty and hard to ski, but still manageable. Hiking up, was able to avoid post holing until the last two miles. The final half mile could be done almost entirely on rocks.

snowshoeing
snow
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
icy
snow
2 months ago

Nice day... terribly windy at times and post holes quite a bit, but it was nice to get out. We had micro spikes which was nice, but really needed snow shoes. Also practiced some self arrest. We didn’t summit, but still had nice hike.

hiking
fee
icy
snow
2 months ago

Hiked James Peak on Sunday 15Mar2020 for a bit of social distancing. Conditions were amazing with almost no wind and clear skies. Snow is not quite continuous from trailhead to summit so if you’re planning a skin up/ski down, keep that in mind. Wore snowshoes (for the heel lift) the whole way, but didn’t really need them. Some minor post-holing potential in the flats above St. Mary’s, but nothing major. Get it while you can!

hiking
blowdown
icy
snow
2 months ago

Started up the trail at 5am and caught the sun rising over the mountains. It was roughly 15-18 degrees hiking up with intense winds. Felt like we were in a wind tunnel and kept getting blasted with snow blowing from the wind. Used microspikes and poles on the way up and switched to snowshoes coming down (got a little off trail and post-holed quite a bit). The wind calmed down by the time we made it halfway back down. No one was on the trail. We accomplished our goal of watching the sunrise but if I do the hike again I’ll wait a little later to start. Definitely bring microspikes and poles if you have them.

hiking
blowdown
fee
icy
snow
2 months ago

hiking
icy
snow
3 months ago

Did the hike to James peak on 2/2. Couldn’t have been a better day. Even though it wasn’t windy at Mary’s lake, it picked up once you climb elevation. Considering it’s the dead of winter I’m surprised how easy this was being almost a 14’er. Although the trail is hard to keep with so definitely download a map. I only wore micro spikes the entire way and didn’t need snowshoes. The views at the top were incredible but also shows how little snow we’ve gotten in the mountains ... climate change in effect!

hiking
6 months 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
7 months 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
7 months ago

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