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LoJ: #405 (G & M: #403) / 13,294' James Peak James Peak via St. Mary's Glacier

Range › Front Range
Quadrangle › Empire
Summit Location › Peak Route Icon N 39° 51' 07.06", W 105° 41' 26.15" (Not Field Checked)

Peak Summary

James Peak is a popular summer hike with several route possibilities. The three we suggest here are all Class 2, with our primary route offering some Class 2+ work on the descent. That descent takes you by the upper lakes in the Loch Lomond chain of lakes. Accessing this route requires high clearance 4WD. The other two suggestions can be accessed by passenger car. Most any route to James Peak on a summer weekend will find numerous other hikers. 

Class 2
Medium Day // Take a Lunch
RT From St. Mary's Lake/Glacier: 8 mi / 2,900'
  • Trailhead
    • St. Mary's Lake/Glacier Trailhead

      From I-70, west of Idaho Springs, take exit 238 for the Fall River Road/CR 275. This paved county road 275 ends in the vicinity of a mountain village called "Alice," mostly a collection of summer cabins, etc. This is the same road that leads up to the well-known St. Mary's Lake and Glacier. The road follows the Fall River in a generally NW direction. After over six miles miles, the road makes a second, abrupt switchback to leave the Fall River drainage and climb up to St. Mary's Lake and Alice. Continue north into Alice. Watch for a parking lot on the left side of the road just after the trail/old roadbed heads up to St. Mary's Lake and Glacier. This smaller lot will be just a short distance past another, larger parking lot for the defunct "Eclipse Snow Park."  Coordinates above are for the smaller parking lot. The lot is directly west from Quivira Lake. If you come to the end of the pavement and Silver Lake, you've gone past the trailhead and parking lot. 


      Camping

      This entire area of Alice is private property. For at-large, primitive camping, you're better off driving back on one of the Forest Service roads such as FS 701.1 up to Fall River Reservoir. If you don't mind packing in some gear, you could head up to St. Mary's Lake and set up a tent if camping is allowed there any longer. Check with the Forest Service. 

    Peak Icon Route Map

    Route Info James Peak via St. Mary's Glacier

    Route Description

    From the trailhead parking for St. Mary's Lake and Glacier, head up the well-worn trail/old roadbed to the lake. From the lake, a trail leads through willows to what's left of the former "glacier." You can choose from a few options here. One would be to head up the gully that still holds a remnant of the glacier, kick-stepping your way up on the snow. Here's a chance to practice with your ice axe. Farther up the gully, the snow ends and there will be trails on the side of the gully, the most pronounced on the south side, which you can follow up onto the broad eastern flank of James Peak. Stay on trail and cross a 4WD track, walk a little more west and pick up the Continental Divide Trail that leads all the way to the summit of James Peak. After picking up that trail, you'll be joining in on the primary route we describe that begins at Loch Lomond. 


    Additional BETA

    Links to other information, routes & trip reports for this peak that may be helpful.
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