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“Great hike for a family”
Review of St. Mary's Glacier

St. Mary's Glacier
Certificate of Excellence
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Reviewed September 1, 2012

Love this hike- the lake is gorgeous and the glacier is fun to play on! It is a little steep but an easy hike.

1  Thank KristeninDenver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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267 - 271 of 283 reviews

Reviewed August 22, 2012

I'd say its about one mile up...on rocky terrain....but its an easy one. Even I made it up there, with my bad knees and breathing issues. Sadly, you must get there early for there isn't much parking. Its definitely worth the hike up, to find a beautiful glacier fed lake, with view of the glacer and alpine terrain all around. A hidden beauty less than an hour from Denver!

3  Thank sillytia2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 20, 2012

I have lived in the area for the past 16 years and visited St. Mary's many times. It is a wonderful activity - short but lively hike, beautiful scenery and snow in August! WOW! It is awesome!

However, people go up to St. Mary's not realizing that it is not a "tame" environment. This is a completely wild area that just happens to be easily accessible, so just any Tom, Dick or Harry can just drive right up and they might not realize that it is an extremely dangerous place. Going to the base of the snowfield is absoluty safe, but the temptation is to get closer, and closer and closer, and soon you find yourself climbing up.

I had one of the most terrifying experiences of my life one summer when some friends and I went up to St. Mary's and we decided to hike across the area of the snowfield that had melted back during warm weather. It is a large, rocky, mountain face that seems do-able enough until it is too late. I was halfway across when the rocks under my feet started to roll downhill. I tried to keep my balance, but all my scrambling just upset the mountside more and more. I quickly realized that I was on an unstable surface and that an avalanche of thousands of tons of huge rocks was on the verge of tumbling down on top of me. Every move was precarious and it took every nerve in my body to stop scrambling and lie on the mountainside as still as I possibly could. An inch at a time, I was able to slowly work my way back to stable land, but the danger wasn't over, yet.

I was safe, but my husband and friends had hiked all the way to the other side and the only way back was the way they came. They were too far away for me to warn them and I was forced to wait in suspense for them to come back. It was so scary to watch them navigate their way across that surface that was just a hair's breadth away from crashing to the bottom. Everyone got back safely, but I never would try that again. My husband said that he was frightened when he realized that the ground under his feet was trying to roll down the mountain. Later that afternoon, we watched some snow boarders that had climbed all the way to the top of the glacier and they seemed to be having a fine time, but it made my knees weak just to see them. The next day, the glacier caved in while some snowboarders were riding the top and they were killed.

St. Mary's is an awesome place, and is one of those rare natural wonders that is easily accessible to anyone who has a car and doesn't mind a short hike. I highly reccommend it for one of the most exhilerating experiences within the reach of most people. I just strongly urge you to be aware that you are not in Disneyland and the glacier is not a ride - the rock face is real, the experience is real and the danger is real. Go to the base. Have a picnic. Enjoy the view. Leave the way you came. Pack out your trash. Have fun. Stay alive.

10  Thank Rubicon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 13, 2012

Took the drive from Lakewood Colorado to St. Mary's on Sunday and it was awesome. Less than 40 miles from Lakewood to the entrance of the trail. Bring exact change because there is a $5.00 charge for parking and not attendant to give change. The hike is not very long to the Lake just under the glacier from the parking lot to the lake is 20 minute hike pretty much straight up and lots of big rocks. Once you get to the lake the hike to the glacier is another 20 minutes but much easier. Pack a light lunch and have picnic with an amazing view. Sunday it was pretty busy with people every where so do expect to go on a weekend and in be quite. Took my 2 year old daughter she loved everything about it except she had to be carried as the hike is much too dificult for young children.

2  Thank Hotelwho
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 12, 2012

How often does one get to stand on a glacier?? !! This was one of the coolest things I've ever done :)

We paid $5 for parking, but would have paid more :) The hike up is not easy, and is not sign-posted, it is rocky and a pretty good incline. I am not a fit person, and have asthma, so we had to stop a few times on the way up to rest. We had to ask people which way to go because it was not obvious, but I think if you kept going up, you would get there either way....

When you reach the top of the hike though it is just beautiful. There is a lake at the bottom of the glacier, and we walked around it and walked to the base of the glacier itself. It was quite breathtaking and worth every minute of being short of breath! If you are in the area, do not miss this.

2  Thank seren327
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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