St Mary’s Falls and Cascade Falls

RT Length 6.3 miles

Elevation Gain 1400’

I was a little worried it would be too cold to hike
When I got to the trailhead it
was 21 degrees.
  Brrrr!  I met Tim at the Starsmore Discovery Center
and we drove up to the trail head at Gold Camp Road and High Drive.

We hiked up Gold Camp Road, past the old tunnel.  Tim told me they’d wanted to put a road
through the tunnel, but someone decided to light a huge fire under the tunnel,
making it unstable for that purpose.

This trail had plenty of signs, although some of them looked
like they’d been there for decades (the iron signs). 
A few were misleading (the iron ones seem to
be at junctions and are usually devoid of arrows) but this one had “Turn Back”
written in Sharpee, which was actually the correct thing to do.

The trail to the falls was easy to follow and devoid of snow
directly on the trail (but there was a lot on the ground). 
The falls themselves were completely frozen
over and very slippery, so we couldn’t cross.

Instead we hiked around them to the right as far as we

Side note:  We saw
someone with their dog off leash that shouldn’t have been:
  the dog ran away, and kept running and
running and running.
  We’re not sure if
he ever found the pup?
  Also, it was
cold, but not too bad.
  Our jackets and
hats and gloves were plenty.

We hiked back to the truck, but it had seemed like ‘too easy’
of a hike, so we decided to take a side trip to Cascade Falls. 
It’s located very close to Helen Hunt falls,
and is supposed to be a great place to ice climb in winter.
  There were a few climbers there when we got
there (Tim knew them).
  Apparently it
wasn’t iced over as well as they’d have liked, but were climbing anyway.

It was cool to see the way the ice formed over the rooster

Here are a couple of videos of the hike

Author: Laura M Clark

Laura has summited over 500 peaks above 13,000' solo, including being the first woman to solo summit all of the Colorado 14ers, as well as the centennials. After each hike, she writes trip reports for each one and publishes them on her blog, which is read by fans all over the world. Author of Wild Wanderer: Summiting Colorado’s 200 Highest Peaks, which is available to purchase on Amazon.

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