Anyone looking for a great hike close to the front range has probably heard of St. Mary’s Glacier in Idaho Springs. Riddled with tourists and locals, this short but sweet trek leads to a beautiful blue lake fed by the glacier and incredible views of the surrounding mountains. Often, you’ll see a few kids geared up on the hunt for a good line of snow to ride in the off season and you’re bound to see plenty of pups accompanying their owners on the adventure. So… what’s all the hype about?
St. Mary’s is one of the 14 named glaciers in Colorado, and easily one of the most trafficked. This exact area used to be a ski resort previously called Silver Mountain and Silver Lake. From the 1930’s to the early 80’s, plenty of skiers enjoyed the 15+ trails the resort had to offer. Ticket prices in 1984 were $7.50 for adults and $3.50 for children. The resort was split about 50/50 between beginner/intermediate trails and advanced trails. 15 years ago, there was a proposal to reopen this area as a snowboarding resort, drafted by SnoEngineering. Unfortunately, this brainchild fell through but hasn’t hindered the extreme snow sporters from hiking up the glacier and riding back down to the parking lot in the winter months.
As for the hike, the 0.7 miles up is slightly steep and quite rocky but the ending result is beyond worth it. You can hike all around the glacier once you’re there, or you can sit back and enjoy the view. Add this to your to-do list next time you’re in the area. If you need a break from the traffic on 70, jet off to St. Mary’s for a few hours and then grab a bite to eat at Tommyknocker Brewery in the town of Idaho Springs.