James Peak Trail

HARD 63 reviews
#2 of 10 trails in

James Peak Trail is a 8 mile moderately 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.

8.0 miles
2949 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash



nature trips

rock climbing







wild flowers


Directions from Winter Park: Follow the directions to the Roger's Pass Trail: Go southeast of Highway 40 to the Rollin's Pass Road (County Road 80/Forest Road 149) just across from the Winter Park Ski Area. Drive up the road about 11 miles toward Rollin's Pass to the first trestle, the rifle sight notch. Follow Trail #1495A (an old 4x4 road) directly across the road from the trestle, heading south. From Roger's Pass summit, follow the trail that goes south-southwest. The trail parallels the ridge on the west side. The last 1/2 mile to the peak has no trail.

18 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

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.

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.

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.

4 months ago

Great Winter Hike when weather cooperates.

8 months ago

Beautiful, but difficult hike.

9 months ago

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.

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.

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!!!!

10 months ago

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!

10 months ago

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.

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.

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.

11 months ago

Was 4.3 miles from lower parking lot to peak. First section until in the flats past the glacier is quite the workout. From there to the peak it was a pretty straightforward high altitude Colorado hike. Plenty of amazing views. One tip: bring your crampons. No sense making the glacier crossing any trickier than it needs to be.

11 months ago

I did this hike with my dog in the beginning of June. There was a lot of snow, and I didn't use any gear. But you could hike around the Glacier to avoid most of it. It's a beautiful hike! The temp at the top is a lot more chilly than at the trailhead. Bring $5 for parking though.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Climbed James Peak yesterday and was absolutely beautiful--gaiters and trekking poles are a must to navigate the amount of snow. Didn't feel like I needed to use crampons or ice axe at all. It's melting fast so the afternoon was super slushy.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Great snowshoe expedition! Definitely need them unless you're keen on postholing up the last mile. Cover up to protect from sun/wind exposure on most of the trail. If you miss the cairns (which are hard to see), hugging the false summit to the right and then ascending the ridge is a good route too.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Beautiful hike! There were patches of snow all the way up, so had intermittent problems with route finding. The distance is 7.8 miles round trip.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

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!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Really fun hike. I did Bierstadt last weekend with about 200 other people. I had the James Peak Summit to myself today.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Start early! great views and be a little confusing to follow the trails. awe got off track a bit but finally found our way to the peak path. Amazing views. I found the hike challenging but wrll worrh it!

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

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

Friday, August 26, 2016

Started at St. Mary's glacier. Awesome hike, took longer than expected as a storm rolled in. Snowing on the summit. Awesome hike, great views of grays and Torreys.

Monday, August 01, 2016

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!

Friday, July 29, 2016

So SO difficult. Wanted to quit several times, but the views from the summit and of the 5 alpine lakes was worth it

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Went the other way by the lakes and it was a stunningly beautiful hike.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

We hiked to Loch Lomond first and then up a path from the east side of the lake to James Peak.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Very tough up and down, many detours around snow fields, totally worth the aches and pains ( age 61 hiker)

Sunday, June 19, 2016


Sunday, July 19, 2015

A great 13er. Great views from the top, well worth the hard work. I would say this trail is moderate to difficult. Started from St. Marys glacier it was about 9 miles RT.

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