This section of the Rocky Mountains has ecosystems varying in elevation from the over 150 riparian lakes to Montane and subalpine forests to the alpine tundra. Large wildlife including mule deer, bighorn sheep, black bears, and cougars inhabit these igneous mountains and glacier valleys. The fourteener Longs Peak and Bear Lake are popular destinations.
Beautiful views all along the way to Lake Haiyaha. There were also other smaller lake to see along the way that were just as pretty. The last 0.25 miles before reaching Lake Haiyaha were pretty rocky and slick from the snow so just hike with caution. The views were totally worth it!
My brother an I hiked this trail on 10/14. We started off around 9:40 am from Bear Lake parking lot because the Glacier Gorge trailhead lot was full. We arrived back to the car at 5:00pm. It was a little windy that day but the hike was much more picturesque than the scenery we're used to in Cleveland. We put microspikes on about 1/4 of a mile from Black Lake and wore them for the remainder of the hike.
After Black Lake the trail becomes much less visible (the snow cover doesn't help) and we were unfortunately never able to find Frozen Lake after an additional 45 minutes to an hour of hiking. We ended up running into a solo hiker (not recommended up there) who also was having the same issue. Looking back on Google maps afterwards it looks like we might have veered too much to the right climbing up and the terrain. In this time we also saw a decent sized paw print in the fresh snow (3-4 days) that appeared to be that of a bobcat or mountain lion. Aside from that, we saw some chipmunks, trout, and elk when we were driving out.
What an awesome hike! A good snowfall the day before made the last bit particularly interesting...navigating a boulder field under two feet of snow is something! Be ready with poles to poke your way along, and spikes would be helpful for the climb up the falls. Getting there was a gorgeous trip though, especially around The Loch.
Also worth noting is that the park and ride shuttle is off for the season, so go early if you want parking at the glacier gorge trailhead. It's .4 miles longer if you start from Bear Lake.
This is my favorite hike at RMNP. This is a fairly easy out and back hike that is a gentle uphill on the way out and the same gentle downhill back. The scenery is beautiful and wildlife is abundant. In terms of bang for the buck (hiking effort) this trail can't be beat.