Idaho Springs, CO: St. Marys Glacier

This Front Range dayhike is short on mileage and big on payoffs. In less than a mile, you'll skirt a mountain lake and climb the snowy slopes of a Rocky Mountain glacier.
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This Front Range dayhike is short on mileage and big on payoffs. In less than a mile, you'll skirt a mountain lake and climb the snowy slopes of a Rocky Mountain glacier.

Located just north of the ghost town Alice, this popular, 1.5-mile out-and-back in Colorado's Front Range follows dirt roads and rocky trails up to the snowy slopes of St. Marys Glacier. Start at the pay parking area next to Fall River Road and walk southwest to reach the trailhead. The first 0.3 mile climbs up undeveloped roads before turning onto a rocky trail that leads to the banks of St. Marys Lake.
Half a mile in, cross a small bridge over the lake's outlet creek and continue north, passing up-close views of Fox Mountain to the east (look for yellow-bellied marmots in the surrounding rocks and meadow). After 0.7 mile, the trail reaches the base of St. Marys Glacier. Climb another 100 yards up the glacier and take in views across the Silver Creek drainage. Follow the same route back to the trailhead.
Note: Stay on the trail. Most of the surrounding land is private property.
-Mapped by Eli Boschetto, Bosco Mountain Photo

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 2.4

Waypoints

SMG001

Location: 39.8278603, -105.6423104

From the pay parking area, walk southwest along Fall River Road for roughly 400 feet to reach the trailhead.

SMG002

Location: 39.8270775, -105.6434047

Turn right at the signed trailhead for St. Marys Glacier and hike northeast. The rocky road climbs steadily toward St. Marys Lake and Fox Mountain.

SMG003

Location: 39.8287378, -105.642879

Bear left at the fork in the road, heading north. A campsite is located straight ahead near the creek.

SMG004

Location: 39.8295988, -105.6433618

Bear left onto a trail at the 3-way junction. Hike west.

SMG005

Location: 39.8296564, -105.6438661

Pass a campsite with a fire ring. Ahead, the trail rounds to the north for the remaining 0.2-mile stretch to St. Marys Lake.

SMG006

Location: 39.8322188, -105.645411

At the southeast edge of St. Marys Lake, cross a bridge over the outlet creek and continue north (an unnamed 11,716-foot peak borders the western edge of the lake). Ahead, the route passes 10,921-foot Fox Mountain.

SMG007

Location: 39.83447, -105.6453601

Continue north at the base of St. Marys Glacier. Look south for photo-worthy views of the lake.

SMG008

Location: 39.835333, -105.6453976

This snowy perch (a year-round hangout for backcountry skiers and snowboarders) offers more views down the Silver Creek drainage. Look for the sun peeking over the ridge above St. Marys Glacier. Turn around and return to the parking lot.

St. Marys Lake

Location: 39.8346822, -105.6453627

Lake and meadow below St. Marys Glacier. © Eli Boschetto

Glacier Trailhead

Location: 39.8270775, -105.6432867

The hike starts at this sign on the west side of the road. © Eli Boschetto

St. Marys Lake

Location: 39.8329603, -105.6450355

View across St. Marys Lake above the bridge. © Eli Boschetto

Fox Mountain

Location: 39.8336771, -105.6452662

Views of Bristlecone pine and Fox Mountain. © Eli Boschetto

St. Marys Glacier

Location: 39.8353413, -105.645293

Sun peeking over the ridge above St. Marys Glacier. © Eli Boschetto