General Information: The James Peak Wilderness encompasses 17,000 acres on the east side of the Continental Divide in Boulder, Gilpin, and Clear Creek Counties of Colorado. 12/19/2020 - We couldn't access the trailhead. The other two suggestions can be accessed by passenger car. As others mentioned, the first .5 mile is challenging. Maybe 100 years ago it had more snow but today it looks like a sad dirty slab of ice. James Peak Lake Trail is a 5.0 kilometer moderately trafficked loop trail located near Black Hawk, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as moderate. Please respect the National Forest closures. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until September. However, a terribly marked trail. Something worth noting - once we arrived back at the TH (sometime past noon), it was by far the most crowded trail / trailhead / parking lot that we had EVER seen. Got to the TH at 8am on a Saturday. This trail is temporarily CLOSED due to the fire danger. Super beautiful and a peaceful hike, hiked over to Little Echo lake as well and caught some fish. Lakes are melted. Beautiful trail, parked at saint marys glacier lot and it was about 4 hrs round trip. The wilderness encompasses 17,084 acres with 15 lakes, 4 trails covering 20 miles, and crosses the Continental Divide at Rogers Pass. The trail itself has some snowpacks along it so be careful when passing through them. As you are likely aware (since you’re reading this) this becomes even more challenging after a good snow storm. started at 6:30 (I would highly recommend getting there early) and we were one of 3 cars in the upper lot. I thought the volume of people trying to skid across that ice patch on skis on a Wednesday seemed ridiculous. Definitely want a vehicle with good ground clearance. What I have found is that the South Boulder Creek trail is incredibly difficult to follow. Parking at lot 1 was easy at 7am but there were no envelopes to pay the fee. We were able to turn around and use the James Peak Wilderness directions we'd printed to find 353 wilderness route (which from 4 is staying left not going right at the fork). North Crater Lake, a highlight of the James Peak Wilderness near Rollinsville Credit: Terri Cook Adventure Hike We Like: Crater Lakes. Got to the trailhead at 7:15am. The trail head for the Crater Lakes hike in the James Peak wilderness is close by for a nice day hike up to two beautiful high Mountain Lakes. James Peak Trail is a 8 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Black Hawk, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as difficult. Breckinridge Peak and Mount Flora via North Empire Creek, Red Elephant Hill to Empire Loop [PRIVATE PROPERTY], Rogers Pass Lake via South Boulder Creek Trail, Crater Lakes Trail via South Boulder Creek Trail, James Peak North East Ridge via Little Echo Lake, Arapaho Lakes via Rogers Pass Trail and Forest Lakes Trail, Continental Divide: Loch Lomond to Berthoud Pass, Kingston Spur East via St. Mary's Glacier [CLOSED]. James Peak Lake Trail From the James Peak Lake Trailhead, the James Peak Lake Trail drops 500 feet into the James Peak Wilderness to James Peak Lake, set in the basin below the east face of James Peak. The area's elevation ranges from 9,200 to 13,294 feet. Snowshoes are definitely not needed if you follow the packed snow footprints/cairns. James Peak is a popular summer hike with several route possibilities. Absolutely absurd. There are a few large rocks on the road that most likely would be un-passable via car. It's a rough mile to the lake at the moment, with high winds and weather coming in. crampons were a huge help getting up the glacier. Colorado Tourism Office, 1625 Broadway, Suite 1700 , Denver, CO, 80202, Phone: 800-COLORADO, Aborted at the glacier due to dangerous winds. This forested trail through the James Peak Wilderness leads to a pair of sparkling, trout-filled lakes nestled beneath the Continental Divide. The first mile or so to St. Mary’s Glacier was nice and mellow with a gradual incline. Be careful not to follow the Jeep trails because they are misleading. Length: 6 miles round-trip Stocking the lakes is … When you reach the base of the obvious face of James Peak, which is a mix of tundra and rocks, the trail makes easy switchbacks but at a steeper grade. (on a weekday) The trail around the glacier dissolves into loose rock and requires special attention. Turn left onto Mammoth Gulch Rd., a rough 4WD road. Length 3.1 miElevation gain 807 ftRoute type Loop Awesome spot, dynamite scenery! Completed this trail on 9/27/2020. There was still some snow on the trail. The three we suggest here are all Class 2, with our primary route offering some Class 2+ work on the descent. When we came back down around 12:30pm, it was shocking how crowded it was around the glacier, lake, and parking!!!! James is a peak of many options, with easy walks, a technical east face and an interesting ridge walk from neighboring Mount Bancroft. The Heart Lake Trail, Forest Lakes Trail, and Crater Lakes Trail are all part of the James Peak Wilderness Area with their trailheads located at the Moffat Tunnel East Portal about 8 miles west of Rollinsville, Co, on the well-groomed dirt Tolland Road (also called East Portal I was able to get to the trailhead with a Jeep Wrangler on 31" tires but otherwise stock. This trail does NOT want to be found. Beautiful views! If you can make it to the top of the glacier, you can make it all the way (just might take a while). Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash. The James Peak Lake Trail is located 9.0 miles from Central City, Colorado (CO) in Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forest. But, arriving at 8am, surprisingly there were only 7 other cars there. The trail itself is a rural and rocky path that stays about 3 feet wide throughout the entire length, and eventually loops around James Peak Lake. From CO-119 in Rollinsville, turn left onto Cnty Rd 16, Tolland Rd and head west for 5 miles. Sunrise over James Peak James Peak is best hiked from the Roger’s Pass Trail during the months of June through August. Getting here is a bit gnarly, the road is definitely for high clearance vehicles. James Peak Trail is a 12.9 kilometer heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Black Hawk, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as difficult. We had maps downloaded to keep us on track as there were several off-shoots; the trail butts up to private land. Hike to the glacier is super quick and easy. This is a jeep trail with 5 miles of flat trail to warm up on and then an easy steady 8 mile climb to the top. That being said, this is a 13er and the altitude and exposure to … The area's elevation ranges from 9,200 feet to 13,294 feet and includes upper montane, sub-alpine and alpin… Unfortunately there was too much wind for me to wet a fly line. Wouldn't know how this hike is, couldn't access the trailhead. Was here last weekend and they're aren't opening the pass until the July 15th.There's still one snow drift but great views and the lake is no longer frozen. The highlight of the trail, at least for us, wasn't the peak, but rather the views along the way. I'm open to suggestions for another route! The pin for this trail head location is no longer accurate, where it says to turn right on the 4x4 road you should stay left on 353 wilderness route. Hard hike back up the mountain but worth it! I'm not sure how else to get to the trail other than using the county road or Mosquito Creek Rd. There is a $5 fee to park at this trailhead. The James Peak Wilderness Area was designated in 2001, and comprises 14,000 acres. nice to descend in the beginning of the hike but the hike out was a lung burner. final push to the summit was difficult, but made it @ 9:55 and had it all to myself! Trail Ratings 3.5 from 4 votes #2 in Indian Peaks #252 Overall. Before you reach the summit of James Peak you will pass two false summits. Trail is clear of snow, but there are still a couple of pockets of snow in the shade along the trail. I got out before the traffic became heavy, around noon I began heading back down the hill and encountered 4 vehicles on my way. Access to this trailhead is only accessible from Rollinsville with a truck or something with a good ground clearance and preferably 4x4. overall amazing hike though and now I have 2 13ers under my belt! Other than the first pitch down from the parking area, the hike is pretty tame. After 3 miles of off roading you arrive at a very clearly marked no trespassing, iron gate with 24 hour sercurity camera. The trail head is marked with signage and is located on the edge of a treeless ridge. Stock 4Runner had no problems driving in. Will attempt again in the future. Those that summit James Peak and return directly via the South Boulder Creek Trail will have a 13.5 mile day. Posted at 00:48h in Colorado, Guides, Snow, Winter by Iana 0 Comments. At this rate, that snow may not melt off. Winds were about 40mph. The James Peak Trail is an 8-mile moderately trafficked hiking trail near Black Hawk and Rollinsville, Colorado. James was the first botanist to describe many of the plants of the Rocky Mountains. The views are phenomenal and and with a small add on you could venture over to Little Echo Lake. I felt like I was going to be blown off Kingston Peak! I love the hike up to (or towards) James Peak and really enjoy coming up here in the winter. I wish there would've been more reviews about the road. James Peak is a popular summer hike with several route possibilities. Overall a great trail, the distance is deceiving with the elevation in general and the elevation change. I think calling St Mary’s Glacier a glacier is too generous. snowshoes might be helpful as you get into the higher basin as the snow is very deep and there were some points where I was knee deep in snow, but I did the whole thing in just crampons and it was mostly fine. Hiked / Skinned James Peak with Mr. Bean and we skied some fantastic summer ski turns. Take this road for eleven miles toward Rollins Pass. Perhaps a camping trip is in order. The James Peak area became part of the National Wilderness Preservation System in 2002. We arrived at 7am. I could **maybe** see how you could do this hike without them but they are super useful. beautiful trail and the lakes are clear. Getting there I passed a Chevy Van... so there's that. From the trailhead, the James Peak Lake Trail drops 500' over a half-mile to James Peak Lake, set in the basin below the steep eastern face of James Peak. The hike up to James peak was strenuous; lots of soft crumbly rocks made it difficult to get good footing. The glacier wasn’t as spectacular as I expected. there is parking at the trail head although the route is not for the faint of heart, running one lane on a ledge for the last half mile. Parts were definitely moderate to hard, other parts were easy to moderate. James Peak and vicinity has recently been made into a Wilderness Area. James Peak (13,294 feet) was named for Edwin James, an American physician and botanist who traveled to Colorado on the 1819 U.S. Army expedition led by Major Stephen Long. Midsize SUV won't cut it as I found out through experience. The trail drops 500ft in the first .5 miles, so be aware that in this case what goes down must come back up. Beautiful area! Directions are way off. James Peak Lake Trail is a 3.1 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Black Hawk, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as moderate. Peak-to-Peak Mileage Chart; 13ers; 360° Summit Panoramas; Map; Export Peak Names to File; Routes. But, being my first time to the area, I don't know for sure. The first part of the trail is pretty difficult, however i tore my acl 9 months before doing this and was still able to complete it relatively easy. Beautiful area otherwise. way back down was nice but the glacier was rediculously crowded, it didn't help that no one was wearing masks. Dogs are also able to use this trail. James Peak Weather (Days 0-3): The weather forecast for James Peak is: A light covering of new snow mostly falling on Mon nightTemperatures will be well below freezing (max -8°C on Thu morning, min -21°C on Tue morning)Winds increasing (calm on Mon night, near gales from the NW by Wed afternoon). It was pretty windy so, it didn't make for the best of hikes, but the views were amazing. 2.5mi Nearby Ski Lines. We made it about 2 miles up and had to turn around due to ominous dark clouds and possible storm. I wouldn't try it unless you have high clearance 4WD! Dogs are also able to use this trail. James Peak Lake Trail– A short downhill hike to James Lake, nestled at the bottom of 13,294 ft. high James Peak. The trail is difficult and offers some nice camping and backpacking opportunities. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until October. Getting up and around St. Mary's Glacier can be a little tricky, but doable. 353 and continue for 3.3 miles to the James Peak Lake Trail. In order to reach this trail, you’ll need to head southeast of Highway 40 to Rollin’s Pass Road, also labeled as County Road 80 or Forest Road 149. The three we suggest here are all Class 2, with our primary route offering some Class 2+ work on the descent. As in there isn't a trail at all at some point. It is located on the east side of the Continental Divide, between Beuthold Pass to the south and Rollins Pass to the north. That descent takes you by the upper lakes in the Loch Lomond chain of lakes. Bring your backpack with a few snacks and some water, and take advantage of this beautiful hike especially in the fall when the aspen trees are changing colors. But there are no bailouts (besides turning around) once on the CDT headed to Rollins Pass (aka Corona Pass). The view north-northeast towards Rocky Mountain National Park and Long's Peak. Compare elevation, range, calories and other trail metrics. The trail follows the remains of a wagon road across the scree, but that does not mean it is not steep. There is car traffic but it is low, maybe 1 car every half hour. I’m not sure who is advertising this destination for backcountry skiing but they should stop. The trail will disappear at the jeep trail but there are several trail markers that will connect you back to it. You can bring your dog on this trail but please keep them on a leash. Nearby Peak Searches: Radius Search - Nearest Peaks to James Peak Elevation Ladder from James Peak Prominence Ladder from James Peak James Peak on … This is a 15.9 mile loop hike with 6400 cumulative feet of elevation gain that takes about 7-10 hours to complete. We opted for the next road up, the county road. Overall, definitely worth going up until you can get some cool shots of the five lakes; up to you if it's worth going all the way up to the top of James Peak. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until September. If you’re headed to James Peak Wilderness from somewhere else in the state, you can easily find directions to the trailhead on Google Maps. By Terri Cook • June 26, 2018. It is an extremely popular peak and is a common first ascent for those who are interested in ski mountaineering. Views of high alpine peaks, James Lake, and stunted krummholz trees. From the peak we were able to clearly see the Cameron Peak fire(s). Hiking trip report for James Peak, Parry Peak, Mount Eva, Mount Flora Loop, located in Arapaho National Forest, Colorado. gorgeous! As you head up the east face of James peak you will see Loch Lomond, Reynolds Lake, Stuart Lake, Ohman Lake, and Ice Lake. This is a good alternative to hiking a 14er if you still want ‘the 14 experience’ but not the crowds. But above the glacier it flattens out into alpine tundra with intertwining Jeep trails. The climb up the east face of James Peak is a classic Colorado high altitude hike. There is approximately 20 miles of trail. Download the free Empire topo map. we ended up parking at the "seasonal road" sign and hiking into the trail head on 353. that worked well, we just needed to move over for dirt bikes and 4x4s as we approached the trail. We were unable to access the hike due to the rocky terrain. It is relatively easy, requires no technical climbing, and access is quick and easy from the Front Range communities. The beginning of the trail starts off a small parking lot off the National Forest System Road 353, also known as Kingston Peak Road. The seasonal access gate is currently open, and for those of you thinking that's too far, set a trip odometer for your distance, it takes longer than you think to go the ~6.6miles from the main dirt road in town as you turn onto 4N. That descent takes you by the upper lakes in the Loch Lomond chain of lakes. absolutely beautiful! Plenty of parking spots. Really bummed that we couldn’t summit - but we had to be responsible hikers and know when it’s our limit. The park printed directions say it is 3 miles, it's farther than that - at 3 miles from the previous mentioned fork, we came to an overlook and a "seasonal road" sign, from there it was about another 1.5 miles to the trail head. We originally took the right, after a few miles of very slow going AWD driving we reached a private no trespassing gate. You definitely need something with ground clearance to get to the trail. Crater Lakes Trail – James Peak Wilderness. If taking the road from Rollinsville, I would recommend a pickup and 4x4 just for peace of mind. The wind picked up around noon, and by the time we reached the top to exit, the wind was pushing you up the mountain. 803 Ute Trail Trail on Little Echo Lake in James Peak Protection Area, Roosevelt National Forest, Arapaho National Forest, James Peak Wilderness 4.4mi 1.9mi from James Peak Lake Trailhead 87 St. Mary's Glacier Trail Trail in Arapaho National Forest 2mi 2.1mi from James Peak Lake Trailhead A run that goes directly from Rogers Pass to Rollins Pass, skipping the trip to James Peak, will measure 16 miles. There are several trail junctions marked only with cairns; at each of these, turn toward the summit. The views are great and the ride down is … Our Jeep got stuck while driving up this. I brought my microspikes but never needed to use them. Really busy through st Mary’s but the crowds dispersed right after. Nice hike. It is situated in Boulder, Gilpin and Clear Creek Counties of Colorado and is part of both the Roosevelt and Arapaho National Forests. After 3.5 miles, turn on National Forest Rd. Forest Lakes - 7.8 Miles Round-Trip The Forest Lakes are located 3.9 miles from East Portal Trailhead in the James Peak Wilderness. We did get pelted by a few small hails. Rogers Pass Lake via South Boulder Creek Trail, Crater Lakes Trail via South Boulder Creek Trail, Lower Crater Lakes via South Boulder Creek Trail, James Peak North East Ridge via Little Echo Lake, Arapaho Lakes via Rogers Pass Trail and Forest Lakes Trail, Continental Divide: Loch Lomond to Berthoud Pass, Kingston Spur East via St. Mary's Glacier [CLOSED]. It was crazy. The trail at one point grazes the vertical east face of the peak, giving a dramatic alpine view. 0 Likes Likes Accessing this route requires high clearance 4WD. Hiking in Colorado - James Peak - Colorado mountain hiking and trail photos. Improvise your way to the markers and continue west on a well-cut path toward James Peak. There are trails on either side of the Glacier to help you get up it. There were only two spots which give this trail a 'hard' rather than 'moderate', and those were (a) hiking alongside the glacier to the top of the basin, and (b) the final stretch up the peak. From CO-119, turn left onto Cnty Rd 16, Tolland Rd and head west for 5 miles. There are several trail junctions marked only with cairns; at each of these, turn toward the summit. There is a $5 parking fee. The trail moves quickly through an expanding landscape to the base of James Peak, where it bends south and steepens up its east face (2.5 miles : 11,818'). The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until October. The area was lush and green, likely from the huge amounts of snow from last winter. James Peak; View More Photos Summit: 13,294 feet : 39.85201°N,-105.6904°W Rank in CO: 405 of 637 13er Rank in CO: 352 of 584 13er Rank in Range: 32 of 59 Weather Information Peak Conditions (Last Report: 2020-12-05) 1,567 Member Ascents: 13ERS WITHIN 2 miles ... Winter Park and Mary Jane ski areas as seen by looking northwest from the summit of James Peak. The James Peak Wilderness was designated as wilderness in 2002 by an act of Congress and signed by George W. Bush. Great short hike with spectacular views of James peak, with an awesome hike around James Peak Lake. The trail begins at the top of a ridge and rapidly descends a rocky trail to the lake. Micro spikes were helpful, but you could definitely do without. very steep, very rocky at first. Boots would have been a better option than the hiking sneakers I used, but definitely doable if you don’t knee the ankle support. The James Peak Lake Trailhead lies above the timberline, at 11,600' elevation. Just head in the direction of the lake and you will find it eventually. On the way out I saw a Subaru, a few minutes later I saw them in my review mirror following me out. Accessing this route requires high clearance 4WD. Just make your way to County Road 16 and continue on the dirt road for about 5-6 miles to reach the East Portal Trailhead of Moffat Tunnel. The first lake occupies a marshy flat below treeline; the second, much larger lake fills a deep bowl at treeline below Rollins Pass and the Continental Divide.There are several outlying ponds that require off-trail navigation to reach. Hike was great. The trail at one point grazes the vertical east face of the peak, giving a dramatic alpine view. Get ready for about 20-30 minutes of rough rocky terrain before you even get to the trailhead. The steep trail follows the remains of a wagon road across loose rock. Mosquito Creek had a gate with a Private Property/No Trespassing sign. Some of the best views around of the five lakes (Lomond / Reynolds / Ohman / Steuart / Ice), as well as great views looking northeast past James Peak Lake and Little Echo Lake. It was somewhat strange hiking downhill to my destination, but found it was worth every minute!BEing that you are at a higher elevation, that hike back out definitely got the heart pumping a little. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash. When you reach the base of the obvious face of James Peak, which is a mix of tundra and rocks, the trail makes easy switchbacks but at a steeper grade. It is separated from the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area by Rollins Pass. There are three or four stretches of the trail that has snow over it, but it looked good and I was able to cross in some flat-ish areas, making decent time down to the lake. Fished at both James Peak Lake and Little Echo Lake, and was rewarded with one lake trout from Little Echo Lake. It's almost inaccessible unless you have a HIGH clearance 4WD vehicle. I found out through experience are also able to use this trail but please keep on... 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