St. Mary’s Glacier
How to Run St. Mary’s Glacier
The only parking in town is in the public pay lots, which are $5. All roads in St. Mary’s town are private and you will be towed.
The lake at the base of the Glacier is approximately half a mile from trailhead and is an easy hike on an extremely busy, eroded, braided, wide-enough-to-land-a-747 trail. Google Maps lists the trail as a road, and while you can’t get a car onto it, the classification is certainly accurate. Assume you will deal with dogs, bluetooth speakers, and (unfortunately) trash along the way. Snow holds for much of the year, and you should keep an eye out for skiers and snowboarders coming down the trail amongst hikers.
The lake is clear and blue, but generally too cold for any swimming. If you’re brave enough, cliff jumping can be found. If you came for the solitude and natural photos, good luck.
The Glacier is immediately above the lake and holds snow all year long. Glacial travel presents unique risks such as shifting snow, hollow snow with flowing water beneath it, and crevasses. Hiking to the top will gain you access to the James Peak wilderness and the continental divide.
Pack it in. Pack it out.
Climbing your first mountain or 14er is an exciting and rewarding experience! You’ll get the achievement of seeing the world from above and the feel-goods of the endorphins from the exercise. However, the mountains aren’t a walk in the park, and getting down is mandatory. Some situations require extra caution and a little know how. With a bit of preparation, you’ll be able to get to the summit and back safely.
Whether you are training for a race or simply indulging in all the wilderness has to offer, there are a variety of factors, some constant, and some changing, that are likely to have an impact on your journey. Knowing these factors can help ensure your safety and get you back to the trailhead safely.