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St. Mary Falls Trail (#624)

Intermediate
 4.2 (19)

A rambling trail through timbers leading to bottom of falls, then ascends to higher view of falls and Colorado Springs.


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Map Key

3.7

Miles

6.0

KM

Point to Point

9,903' 3,018 m

High

7,765' 2,367 m

Low

2,194' 669 m

Up

56' 17 m

Down

11%

Avg Grade (7°)

35%

Max Grade (19°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Birding · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Spring · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Family Friendly Teens or boot families (experienced hikers) would really enjoy this trail to the falls and back. There are many way trails leading to the creek for great family photo ops.

St. Mary Falls Trail is open to hikers, bikers, and equestrians. Camping along the trails is permitted, but not within 300 ft. of the stream. Campfire permits are not required. If you hike off trails or swim or dive in streams or lakes, you do so at YOUR OWN RISK. Prevent pollution--keep garbage, litter, and foreign substances out of lakes, streams and other water. (All per USFS)

Description

To get to this trail, park in the last lot past Helen Hunt Falls. Take Upper Gold Camp Road (1.5 mi.) from the parking area. This is a sandy utility road that is open to two-wheeled motorized vehicles and ATVs. Motorized vehicles are allowed until it reaches Pike National Forest boundaries. From there, only equestrians, hikers, and bikers are allowed. It is well-traveled and can be used to get to many trailheads.

Access to Gold Camp Road will end at the closed tunnel. From there, take the feeder trail on the left. This feeder trail ascends up and around to the right, above the tunnel. Before long, is the trailhead for St. Mary Falls.

St. Mary Falls Trail (Trail #624) is open to hikers, bikers, and equestrians. Camping along the trails is permitted, but not within 300 ft. of the stream. Campfire permits are not required, and you'll see evidence of extinguished campfires along this trail.

This trail rambles through timbers of spruce, aspen and mixed pines alongside Buffalo Canyon Creek. The sound of the bubbling water flowing over rocks and pooling is harmonious with the rustle of the leaves and cheeping of the birds due to being near water. This part of the trail is fairly easygoing and will carry you to the bottom of the falls. Additionally, there are many side trails leading to the creek for great photo ops.

At the bottom of the falls, a signpost will guide you to the right. Continue along this path to get to the top of the trail for the falls. At this point, the trail will ascend more quickly with larger granite obstacles to overcome on the more moderate terrain. At the top of the rise, the path will make its way along the ridge until it reaches the falls. At this point, there are some logs that have been made into benches to respect other trail users and allow waiting for photo ops.

Most hikers turn back at the falls, but St. Mary Falls Trail (Trail #624) continues on. The signpost guides to the summit of Mount Rosa. Continue along the trail, and be on the lookout for cairns to stay on the course. A topo map and compass or the Hiking Project mobile app are helpful if unsure. The incline from here gets steep abruptly, and the terrain gets rather rocky with possible scrambling.

Upon reaching the ridgeline, the trail evens out for about a mile and travels through heavy forest and toward a flowing spring. Upon crossing the small spring there is one final vertical trek to FSR 381. Upon reaching the end of the trail, there are no markers, only a bit of fencing.

Flora & Fauna

Timbers include spruce, aspen, and mixed pine.

Contacts

Shared By:

K Keiter

Trail Ratings

  4.2 from 19 votes

#358

Overall
  4.2 from 19 votes
5 Star
32%
4 Star
58%
3 Star
11%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#75

in Colorado

#358

Overall
266 Views Last Month
6,584 Since Jun 28, 2017
Intermediate

0%
0%
78%
11%
11%
0%

Photos

The bottom of St. Mary Falls is often full of debris.
Jun 28, 2017 near Manitou…, CO
Buffalo Canyon Creek rambles alongside the St. Mary Falls Trail (#624)
Jun 28, 2017 near Manitou…, CO
Enjoy a great view of Stove Mountain (9782 ft.) from St. Mary Falls Trail.
Jul 10, 2017 near Manitou…, CO
Flowing spring just before last steep slope heading to FSR 381. Great place for lunch!
Jul 10, 2017 near Manitou…, CO
The St. Mary Falls Trail heads toward the summit of Mount Rosa. The terrain is rough and rocky, so be careful.
Jun 28, 2017 near Manitou…, CO
The St. Mary Falls Trail (#624) rambles through the timbers.
Jun 28, 2017 near Manitou…, CO

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Check-Ins

Jul 12, 2020
Rich Nason
8.3mi — 5h 47m
Mar 6, 2020
Max Swearingen
Icy, spikes aren't necessary but advised
Sep 7, 2019
Deb Asher Lefforge
Aug 31, 2019
Quincy Martin
Definitely a trek. Bring water. 6.5mi — 3h 15m
Aug 17, 2019
Rachel Larson
It was a great day for a hike! — 2h 47m
Jul 18, 2019
Mike Kuhns
9h 52m
Jun 19, 2019
Thomas Griffin
Jun 1, 2019
Tracy-Kellie Dodson