Saturday, May 4, 2013
Hard to believe that barely an hour drive from Denver and you can hike up to a glacier. St. Mary's Glacier is one of the first attractions I visited when I first moved here to Colorado. It is so close town and just off of I-70 (well, just about twenty minutes from I-70). Heading west out of Denver take exit 238 which is the next exit after Idaho Springs...and is marked: St. Mary's/Alice. Follow this road (Fall River Road) passed the town of Alice just a little ways and you will see a parking lot on the left for the glacier hike. The first couple of times I went it was free to park on the side of the road....however, I recently went last weekend and found out it now costs $5.00 to park (but there is a vault toilet now).
Anyway, it is mostly an inclined hike 3/4 of a mile to the base of the glacier. I like it because it gets my heart rate up but isn't too strenuous. Then once you get to the base you can explore and even continue further up the face of the glacier. The trees are reminiscent of Lord of the Rings; as they are bent, blown, and partially barren from the wind.
I really enjoy visiting St. Mary's in the winter as it makes for an excellent snowshoeing experience. During the other seasons, the terrain is pretty rocky on the initial ascent. Folks also ski, sled, and slide down the glacier but be careful and use caution as always.
So, if you want an easy day hike with excellent views and a great excuse to eat at Beaujo's in Idaho Springs afterwards...check out St. Mary's glacier!!