About a 45-minute drive from Denver, you can find a perennial snowfield called St. Mary’s Glacier. Over the summer, my friends + I decided to make the easy .75 mile hike up to the glacier + its accompanying lake for a little cliff jumping. The hike, while short, was moderately steep, but we were rewarded with stunning views. Crazy amounts of wildflowers lined the trail, both near the glacier + the cliff jumping spots. We even saw some people hiking in with their skis so they could ride down the snow field – pretty crazy for July, but hey, this is Colorado!
Those of us who were cliff jumping just wore swimsuits under our hiking clothes + packed towels with us. Several height options exist for the actual jumping, depending on your level of daring/bravery. I jumped from the lowest ledge, but it was still about 15 to 20 feet. Although, I’ll admit that when I was standing there on the edge it may as well have been 100 feet! I’ve always been a nervous jumper.
I remember during a trip to Cuenca during my study abroad trip in college, we were given the option of cliff jumping as an alternative to horseback riding. Making the decision to jump then has become one of my favorite travel memories, + maybe even one of my proudest moments of all time (refer back to the nervous jumper note above). So of course, with that in mind, I had to go for it.
The most intense part was definitely the shock from hitting the icy water – it is snow melt, after all. Once I recovered from the cold shock, it was a short swim back to shore. Overall, I can see why this hike is so popular: the stunning views, the short drive from Denver, the manageable trail length + the combination of outdoorsy things you can do there all add up to make it a winner. Hiking, camping, skiing, rock climbing + cliff jumping were all represented and it was mid-July!
And you know, sometimes you just need to jump off of a cliff!