Ice in August: Hiking St. Mary’s Glacier in Idaho Springs, Colorado

People in Colorado love the outdoors with a fervor I’ve not seen elsewhere. My company, Sovrn, is particularly outdoorsy; my coworkers enjoy everything from bouldering to rafting to high-altitude scuba-diving.

Which I love- not only do I have built-in hiking buddies, my coworkers also inspire me to see new places in Colorado.

One morning at the office, I heard two girls talking about their hike to a nearby glacier. A glacier? With snow? In August? Intriguing. I quickly put it on my shortlist of Colorado destinations.

St Marys Glacier Hike Colorado

One Sunday soon after, my coworker Jen and I made the winding drive up to St. Mary’s Glacier.

Once we parked and paid, we walked to the rocky trailhead. As we began ascending, I was soon out of breath- will I ever be used to the Colorado altitude? (And yes, I’m still using that excuse, ha.)

Soon we started to see wildflowers, from tiny yellow ones to tall purple lupines. I loved the feel of the cool, crisp mountain breeze on my skin, a welcome respite from Denver’s city air.

St Marys Glacier Hike Colorado
St Marys Glacier Hike Colorado

After about a mile, we arrived at St. Mary’s Lake. Countless people were jumping from cliffs, but as soon as I touched the frigid water, I knew I wouldn’t be joining.

St Marys Glacier Hike Colorado
St Marys Glacier Hike Colorado
St Marys Glacier Hike Colorado

Next up was photo-time as I’m making an effort to bump up my Instagram as well as preserve more memories. (I’ve taken only like two hundred photos while in Colorado- how is that possible?)

Jen and I took turns posing, and I went for the classic arms up in the wilderness pose. Always a safe bet.

St Marys Glacier Hike Colorado

Of course, I was wearing a white tennis skirt I somehow managed to get dirty but some things never change. And there’s always Picmonkey.

Once we finished taking photos of each other, I turned my lens to the nature all around us. I particularly loved this little waterfall cascading down from the glacier.

St Marys Glacier Hike Colorado

As I snapped photos of the waterfall, I saw many people schlepping up their skis and snowboards up to the glacier. That’s dedication.

Me? I’ll wait for ski season.

St Marys Glacier Hike Colorado

I don’t know about you guys, but after hiking, I love me some barbecue. So post-hike we stopped at Smokin Yard’s BBQ to refuel.

I had sliced brisket with cow-tippin’ barbecue sauce, accompanied by collard greens and baked beans. Jen had a pulled chicken sandwich with mac and cheese, and we both raved about our meals- SO good.



Overall it was a pretty ideal Sunday- full of nature, glaciers, and sunshine, and finished off with barbecue brisket.

Essential Info for Hiking St. Mary’s Glacier

Bring hiking shoes as there is a lot of loose rock on the hike. I was slipping in my tennis shoes.

Bring snacks and water! There’s nowhere to eat anywhere near the glacier.

Bring a $5 bill for parking as you have to pay cash and with exact change.

And most importantly, have Smokin Yard’s BBQ after the hike!

Have you ever hiked a glacier?

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About Ashley Fleckenstein

Ashley is a travel and lifestyle blogger who lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Since college she has au paired in Paris, backpacked the world solo, and lived in Uganda. Her work has been featured by Buzzfeed, Forbes, TripAdvisor, and Glamour Magazine.

15 thoughts on “Ice in August: Hiking St. Mary’s Glacier in Idaho Springs, Colorado”

  1. Lovely day trip! So nice to have natural beauty nearby. I just visited Acadia National Park in Maine and it was breathtaking, Colorado looks so wonderful also.

  2. This is a fantastic – a glacier in August, and you were still able to get the legs out! Great pictures too. I wish I had your skills :)

  3. Ahhhh… it reminds me of Tuckerman’s Ravine on Mount Washington in New Hampshire. Beautiful photos like always. I think you need some hiking clothes, girl! ;-)

  4. Colorado is right up there as one of my favorite states (still bummed my Denver stopover was only 12 hours earlier this year and we didn’t get to meet!), and funny enough a friend there asked me to do St. Mary’s this summer. I wasn’t able to (time, work, sister’s wedding, blah) but sounds like I need to put that on the agenda!

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