Saint Mary's Glacier

EASY 1,092 reviews
#2 of 149 trails in

Saint Mary's Glacier is a 1.9 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near St. Mary's, Colorado that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. 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
1.9 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
807 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

camping

cross country skiing

fishing

hiking

nature trips

rock climbing

snowshoeing

trail running

walking

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

snow

$5 parking fee, cash only Fantastic views for the effort. The trail up is mostly rocks but not terribly difficult. Great short hike with high payoff. Some people swim at the lake.

hiking
37 seconds ago

We got to the parking lot by 8am on a Saturday and it was not even half full. Not very crowded on the way up and plenty of space for people to enjoy the views and get pictures. The altitude is what made this more challenging for me. The wind was pretty strong (not sure if that's typical) but I wish I would've had something to shield my ears against the wind. Coming down there were a lot more people and people were waiting for spots at 9:30. Make sure to bring exact change.
We saw a guy camping and he had a fire burning on a no burn day (which we told him). Don't be that guy!

1 hour ago

It’s so nice to get that close to a glacier

21 hours ago

Beautiful hike up to a mountain lake and you can make it longer by hiking along glacier which opens up to multiple other trails. Very rocky and steep in areas which would make me want to say this is an easy to moderate hike but great for out of town guests to get beautiful views without being too rigorous.

1 day ago

Nice easy hike for flatlanders.

4 days ago

This was an absolutely amazing hike! I only gave it 4 stars instead of 5 for the following reasons:
1. The hike is listed as easy which it definitely was not, I would say it is more moderate and that is due to the trail being super rocky, picture a river that dried up, that’s what the trail was. But if u can handle that than it is totally worth going, the views r just spectacular all around you! I highly recommend continuing past the lake to where the snow is, the views only get better and it was not hard to hike up there. 2. We got a lil lost on the way back because the trail is not clearly marked, good thing we had the map from this app and a friendly person to point us in the right direction.

5 days ago

Great short hike to a beautiful view. Would highly recommend bringing visitors here to show, great views and easy enough up and down while truly being in the mountains. Definitely great for the dogs as well.

hiking
6 days ago

What a gem so close to Denver and I-70! We hiked on a Sunday morning in August. I hadn’t expected all those wildflowers in August—so lovely! This was a short hike we planned for the morning-we had to travel on to Salida that same day, so the 3 of us allowed just enough time to hike at our own pace, touch the glacier, enjoy the views, and get back to the car within 3 hours. I am tempted to rate this as 5 stars except for: toward the top, so many hikers have made branching trails that we weren’t sure which path to take to reach the lake (a helpful hiker passing us said: don’t worry, they all lead to the lake); parking was really crowded with few options; and the main parking lot was really rocky and our “standard rental” car bottomed out and scratched the undercarriage (thankfully not noted by the rental people). The views from the toe of the glacier are just stunning, so we didn’t try to go higher up the rocky scree slope—that looked like it would take more time than we had.

hiking
7 days ago

Perfect for a quick, easy, dog-friendly day hike. There were a lot of great areas to pause and soak in the view or just hang out for a bit.

7 days ago

Awesome ash trail! Bring $5 for parking

8 days ago

This is an easy but beautiful hike! We love taking our dog on this one!

hiking
8 days ago

We hiked this on the morning of 8/9/18, leaving the smaller parking lot at 8:45am. The trail to the lake is almost entirely rock; I’m guessing this was once a river bed, at least during the snow melt season in eons past. The lake, mountainside behind it, and the snowfield are stunning. We set off higher, and quickly lost the trail. There is a waterfall just below the glacier, and we ended up following some others up across the water below that - as in, through the water. This meant we were completely off the trail on the other side, but we stuck to other descriptions of staying to the right side of the glacier as we ascended. This was really tricky. We were just feet from the edge of the glacier, and the terrain is a mixture of scree and a variety of sizes of rock. Really slow going, lots of slipping on the scree. After about a half hour of this, we observed two people ahead of us walk across the snow (which eventually narrows to nothing as you proceed) and climb up the opposite side to a trail up there. We did likewise, and finally found ourselves on a real trail. Furthermore, at that height, we could see an actual trail on the side we’d been on, which wasn’t visible to us when we were lower. We continued on to see James Peak. It became obvious that unless we continued straight for an uncertain distance that all we would see was the top of the two mountains. At 2.20 miles from the start, we turned around. The trail we were then on was going to take us to the left side of the glacier, which then ends at the glacier, so we knew we had to cross back over and get on the real trail there. We skirted along the top of the snowfield, lots of scree there and steep, although not any long distance down. We got onto the actual trail, and picked our way down as there is still plenty of scree there too. We got back to the lake area, and found the official trail which, surprise, does not walk you directly through the waterfall stream. The rest was easy enough.

This is lengthy to let others know: 1) that the trail just up past the lake isn’t necessarily easy to find; 2) the trail farther up from the lake can be truly difficult to find (we saw several people ascending the way we’d gone); 3) there is no actual end point on this trail nor any “wow” view up higher; 4) so. much. shifting. scree, so be prepared for that.

We got to our car at noon, and the large parking lot appeared full as we drove past it. There were tons of people. It’s very popular.

AllTrails rates this as Easy. However, we have a book of hikes that rates it as Moderate. Our hike was a challenge, certainly not Easy.

9 days ago

I loved the views this trail had to offer with the lake and surrounding mountains. I will say though that it was probably my least favorite trail to hike that I’ve done so far, and I’ve done many trails including 14ers. The reason I didn’t like this one was because of the gravel when you go to hike to the top of the glacier. There is way too much sliding around and stressing out trying to figure out the best place to put your feet without falling. I was not a huge fan of that. Other than that, it was really pretty, and if you hike to one of the trails to the right of the glacier, there were a ton of wildflowers and even more pretty views. I’m glad I did it, but I probably wouldn’t care to go back because of the rocks and sketchy trail to the top.

hiking
10 days ago

Went up there with friends and had an absolutely amazing time. The lake and glacier together looked beautiful. We hiked all the way up the glacier and to where it ended. From there we went back and climbed the row of mountains going back down on your right side. At the top there were many stunning views, where we took many pictures. We went down a small trail on the right side of the of the mountain going back to the lake. Everything was amazing and I would highly recommend going there. However, going up the glacier can be very slick. I would bring spikes to put on your hiking shoes! Makes going up it a whole lot easier.

hiking
11 days ago

Absolutely spectacular sights and a pretty short hike.

11 days ago

Good hike up, had a lot of fun looking at the glacier and walking on it. My group and I went cliff jumping and had a blast!!

hiking
12 days ago

I had a great time hiking to the top and an even better time sliding down the glacier! Now, that being said, my phone fell out of my pocket. It's an iphone, unlocked, etc. If a kind person could return it to a Verizon store between St. Mary's and Denver (or in Denver if you're coming to the city), that would be much appreciated. People in my contacts to contact if you get a hold of the phone are Captain, Rachael or Kayla.

nature trips
15 days ago

Great easy trail and great for walking dogs because there are several side trails to choose from that get you all to the same place. There is a LEASH LAW that people refuse to obey so it was nice to have an option to be on a side trail away from the idiots that don’t know how to use a leash. Glacier lake was beautiful, get there early to find parking.

skiing
16 days ago

Hiked up to the glacier with a lot of gear including snowboarding and fishing items. It wasn’t a bad climb but I am accustomed to the elevation. The peak of the glacier sits at 11,100 feet and the snow is still manageable to ride down. A nice little lake sits at the bottom and the glacier water flows from it. There is a lot of traffic even on the weekdays.

hiking
17 days ago

Great place to have lunch and relax. Spent about two hours at the lake enjoying the day and watching the locals jump into the water from rock outcroppings.
On the way up, I quickly noticed the thinner air and I had to take several breaks before making it to the top.

18 days ago

Such a rewarding hike! The views are amazing! This was my first hike and I am not in the best shape... but I made it! I had to take lots of rest breaks because I drove in today from sea level and not used to the elevation. Wear good hiking shoes ! I wish I would’ve brought trecking poles. Easy to slip on the way down and could easily twist an ankle! A lot of rocks! A great day with my teen daughter and doggie!

walking
19 days ago

Took a 2yr old up on my shoulders because it’s too rocky. Nice shorter hike. Amazing view at the top. Worth it!

19 days ago

Gorgeous views once you make it up this steep but short hike. The only downfall is that it was horribly crowded on the weekend.

hiking
19 days ago

Ridiculously busy on weekends. Irresponsible pet owners all over the place disrespecting the environment by leaving their BAGGED dog crap right at the start of the trail, and along the trail as you go up which they say they'll pick up on the way down but never do. Spotted plenty of other trash along the way which was disappointing. Also, so many people blatantly ignoring the "Private Property" signage and hiking there anyway. This trail is being destroyed by locals and tourists alike.

21 days ago

Watch your footing but beautiful!

hiking
22 days ago

Rocky going up, and a few intersections. Look for the sign at the beginning to give directions. Lake is gorgeous, and you can take another little trail to get up to the glacier.

hiking
23 days ago

Go to Colorado hike! Always beautiful no matter what season. Steep incline to the lake for 3/4 of a mile, worth it for the views! Wildflowers are beautiful.
$5 parking fee

hiking
24 days ago

Quite rocky going up. The trail was not super well-marked, but the other hikers helped to show the way. The lake is beautiful.

hiking
24 days ago

absolutely gorgeous!!we weren't exactly sure where the trail was supposed to be but the obvious end result was so perfect!!

hiking
24 days ago

Eh , great elevation gain to start . To many people for me on a Tuesday. I suggest you go all the way to top

hiking
25 days ago

July 21st
We hiked St Mary's Glacier for the third time. this is one of our favorite hikes because of the pay off when you get to the top. The views are wonderful. We've hiked this twice in the winter, but this was the first for the summer. There were a lot of people up there enjoying a wonderful day on a beautiful mountain, including some cliff diver. We will most definitely do this one again.

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