St. Mary's Glacier
Just outside of the City of Idaho Springs, and a short drive up Fall River Road, the majestic Colorado Rocky Mountains greet you with panoramic beauty and occasional wildlife sightings. Wildflowers and spring run off create miniature waterfalls while the clouds reflect across the alpine lakes and butterflies flutter in the mountain air.
St. Mary’s glacier is home to snow year-round. Located in Arapaho National Forest, St Mary’s Glacier is accessible by hiking an easy to moderate 1.5 mile trail from the parking area to the base of the glacier. This trail begins at 10,428 feet in elevation with a short gain to 10,848 feet at the base of the glacier, however the top of the glacier is 11,236 feet in elevation. On average the hike is approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes round-trip. Sturdy hiking shoes, water, protective clothing, and sunscreen are highly recommended. Dogs are allowed on-leash.
Please note trail head parking is $20 (cash or check) per vehicle, per calendar day. Restroom facilities are available in the paid parking lot.
Is it a Glacier?
Originally named a glacier – St. Mary’s Glacier has been re-categorized as a “semi-permanent snowfield” as it does not move and is stationary.
According to the Google Dictionary:
A glacier is “a slowly moving mass or river of ice formed by the accumulation and compaction of snow on mountains or near the poles.”
A snow field is “a permanent wide expanse of snow in mountainous or polar regions.”
Please Live WILD and help us protect the lands you love by following the seven Care for Colorado + Leave No Trace principles
Stay above it all
The Silver Lake Lodge is the perfect place to relax in the Heart of the Rockies with rustic ambiance and luxurious amenities. At 10,500 feet in elevation this Bed and Breakfast has received award winning reviews and ratings. Boasting breathtaking views of the Colorado Rocky Mountains this stunning retreat offers coffee/tea in the common area, a full breakfast at 9am, in-room WIFI, free parking, and eight cozy luxury suites. All room rentals are also available, perfect for a small wedding, corporate retreat, family reunion, or other special event.
Located just 20 minutes from Idaho Springs, 45 minutes from Loveland Ski Area and Echo Mountain, and one hour from Winter Park and Denver this luxurious getaway is perfect for a long weekend or extended stay.
The Alice School Museum
Operated by the Alice Historical Society, the Alice School house was established in 1906 and still stands in immaculate condition today. The school house is located at 271 Silver Creek Road.
A time capsule of early life and preserving the past. Margaret Carlson age 17 was the last to teach here in 1925. She was also responsible for clearing the snow and heating the school with the wood stove for her quarters. Margaret’s pay was $100 per month.
Each year the Alice Historical Society holds a pancake breakfast fundraiser open to the public on Labor Day morning.
What is Ore Cart Racing?
Ore Cart Racing includes fierce competitors (and sometimes fierce costumes). Team members must load “ore” into their carts and bring it to “market” (up the hill of course) and drop it off. A relay race is run until competitors are huffing and puffing and finally done.
In mid-August the St Mary’s and Town of Alice communities hold a festival complete with live music, vendors, artisans, and fun for everyone around the private lake off Fall River Road.
Each year the event evolves and in years past has included ore cart races, tours of the Alice Schoolhouse Museum, horseshoes, gold panning, delicious bites from local restaurants, and more.
The event is open to the public, they simply ask that you bring your own lawn chairs and purchase a parking permit for a small fee. Be sure to check out the event calendar for upcoming dates.
Clear Creek County is the gateway to the Rocky Mountains. Located just west of Denver along Interstate 70, Clear Creek has 396 square miles of public lands to explore, as well as four mountain peaks above 14,000 feet. Clear Creek is comprised of charming mountains towns Idaho Springs, Downieville, Lawson, Empire, Georgetown, and Silver Plume, which are all along the I-70 corridor. Learn more about Clear Creek County here.