St. Mary’s Lake/Glacier

Trail Length: 2.45 miles (roundtrip)
Trailhead Elevation: 10,367’
Elevation Change:  +477, net elevation gain
Trailhead Location:  From I-70, exit #238 for St Mary’s – Alice – Fall River Road. From the exit ramp, turn north on CR 275 and drive 9.2 miles to the St Mary’s Glacier Trailhead on the left (west) side of the road. Roadside parking is restricted (see rules and regulations above). The trail begins on a wide, rocky forest road marked by a large white sign clearly visible from the road.

I wanted to get out again last Sunday but wasn’t sure where to go and I didn’t feel like driving far.  I also try to stay off of the I-70 corridor heading west into the mountains from Denver to avoid all of the ski traffic.  I finally decided on St. Mary’s Lake/Glacier.  It met my criteria and although I did need to take I-70, it was only for a short distance so I knew I would avoid most of the traffic.

I also decided it would be a great spot as I’ve been working on putting together seasonal contrasting photos taken at the same location during different seasons.  Since we do much more summer hiking, we have many photos of mountain lakes and scenes taken during the summer/fall season but need to collect more from the winter season.  So, I headed off for St. Mary’s Lake.  You can read about our June hike to St. Mary’s lake here.

As with last week, it was a beautiful blue sky day when I left, but more clouds in the sky with blowing snow in the high country.

It’s only about 0.5 miles to the northeast shore of the lake.

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A contrasting shot comparing this same view to June.

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I continued up the trail along the northeast shore of the lake, heading towards the glacier itself.

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I proceeded to climb up the glacier (it’s actually a permanent snowfield and not a glacier).  It was quite windy with blowing snow.  A couple of people ahead of me moving up the snowfield.

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Looking back down the valley at the lake.

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A contrasting shot from this vantage point looking down on the lake from the glacier.

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I was going to continue further up the snowfield but the wind was blowing quite strong and it looked like whiteout conditions ahead so I knew I wasn’t going to get any better views so I turned around.

A view of the mountains to the southeast as I turned to head back down.

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Back down at the lake’s shore looking back up the snowfield.

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Looking across the lake to the south.  I headed across the middle of the lake to the other shore.

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A final view of the lake before heading back down the trail.

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Taking in the views heading down.

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Near the parking lot were some old cabin ruins.

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My route mapped out with MayMyHike.

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I made it back to the car and started my drive back home.  A few shots taken from the road of the beautiful peaks near St. Mary’s.

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A great short outing on a Sunday afternoon!

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