When most people think about glaciers, images of Alaska and the far north spring to mind. A glacier is a dense field of ice that is constantly moving under its own weight. They have a huge impact on the landscape, leaving cirques, moraines, and alpine lakes in their wake. Did you know that there are 14 glaciers in Colorado, each uniquely exciting to explore?
1. Andrews Glacier
Located in Rocky Mountain National Park, Andrews Glacier is located just below Otis Peak. This glacier ends at Andrews Tarn, a beautiful mountain lake.
2. Arapaho Glacier
Arapaho Glacier is in a valley just southeast of North Arapaho Peak. Although this glacier has been shrinking in recent years, it was once a primary water source for Boulder.
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3. Fair Glacier
Just west of the Continental Divide in Roosevelt National Forest, Fair Glacier is a small retreating glacier less than a quarter square mile in size.
4. Isabelle Glacier
On the other side of the Continental Divide from Fair Glacier, Isabelle Glacier is the source of South Saint Vrain Creek and is accessible via an 8.4 mile round trip hike from the Isabelle Glacier Trailhead.
5. Mills Glacier
At the base of the east side of Longs Peak, Mills Glacier is a small, retreating glacier that is slowly beginning to blend into the talus of the mountain.
6. Moomaw Glacier
Another glacier in Rocky Mountain National Park, Moomaw Glacier can be found about one mile northeast of Isolation Peak. Similar to other glaciers mentioned here, this glacier is retreating slowly into talus.
7. Peck Glacier
Peck Glacier is close to Monarch Lake in Roosevelt National Forest. This glacier is only about a half mile northwest of Fair Glacier and is also close to Isabelle Glacier.
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8. Rowe Glacier
Nestled near the top of Hagues Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park, Rowe Glacier was the first glacier to be identified as a true glacier in Colorado. It is also interesting to note that Rowe Glacier is the source of the North Fork of the Big Thompson River.
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9. Saint Mary’s Glacier
Saint Mary’s Glacier has been featured before by Out There Colorado and has beautiful hiking trails on and around the glacier and nearby James Peak. Accessible via I-70, Saint Mary’s makes a great weekend trip.
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10. Saint Vrain Glaciers
A series of small, northeast facing glaciers, the Saint Vrain Glaciers are a series of alpine glaciers in Roosevelt National Park. These glaciers are close to nearby Isolation Peak and Isabelle Glacier.
11. Sprague Glacier
Only a quarter mile southeast of Sprague Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park, Sprague Glacier culminates in a number of small alpine lakes. This glacier is a cirque glacier, a bowl-shaped depression in between mountains.
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12. Taylor Glacier
Also in Rocky Mountain National Park, Taylor Glacier is a combination of an ice and a rock glacier with the lower portion of the glacier primarily being made up of rock combined with small amounts of ice. This glacier can be found on the east side of the Continental Divide.
13. The Dove
Near the Keyhole on Longs Peak, The Dove is a small glacier that can be found on a north facing slope. This glacier is also retreating, but can be viewed along much of the climbing route up Longs Peak.
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14. Tyndall Glacier
Named after John Tyndall, the first mountaineer to ascend the Weisshorn, Tyndall Glacier is a small glacier in a bowl just north of Hallett Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park.
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