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I got so lucky and had the most spectacular day for this hike! This hike was awesome! There were two very steep parts, one right before the Loch and the other right before Lake of Glass/Sky Pond. The second one is incredibly steep and you need some sort of traction and/or poles to get up when there's snow as it's along a waterfall/stream so there's ice too. The rest of the trail has incline but I didn't find it terribly taxing overall! The trail was packed pretty well early this morning but with the warm weather turned slushy as more people hiked up so not sure how it will be the rest of the week. The views were incredible, I'd love to see the trail in summer as well! I wasn't able to find the trails around the lakes so I ended up just walking on them which worked since I started early enough but the ice started to melt as the day went on and people (me included) post-holed down to the water. The parking lot holds maybe like 30-ish cars but there is a shuttle service in summer which I'd recommend so you don't have to worry about parking and apparently a larger lot at the Bear Lake trailhead which does connect to this trail system! The trails are well marked but make sure you check the map since Sky Pond isn't marked until you're about 2 miles in. Bathrooms at the trailhead is a plus!

Started at 7:00 AM with one other car in the parking lot. About 1" of fresh snow on the ground. Need to walk up the closed road about 1/2 mile to get to trailhead. The trail was easy to follow and packed. Had 1-2" of fresh snow for the most part with hardpack and ice below. As you got close to the scree field near the summit, larger snow drifts. No snow shoes required, spikes highly recommended due. Trail easy to follow up the scree to the radio tower. Gorgeous 360 degree view on top as well as into RMNP, Meeker and Longs Peak. Headed down around 11:00 and met fairly heavy traffic going up.

Really wanted to do this trail but the road all the way up (st Bernard lake trail) is closed due to construction tell late June.
Trailhead 4 miles away from road closer.

Attempted this hike 2 times before in January and February but failed due to not having snowshoes and hiking through extremely dangerous winds, but finally finished the entire hike to Sky Pond on 4/15 with the proper equipment. The trail from Glacier Gorge should be 9.8 miles RT (rather than 8.1 miles according to this site) since it’s 2.2 miles to the split point between Loch Vale and Mills Lake, and then another 2.7 miles to Sky Pond from the split point.

By far my favorite hike I’ve done so far! Views throughout the entire hike were very scenic, rather than just one nice view at the end of the trail. The canyon and basin views were amazing throughout the hike and the frozen lakes (Loch Vale, Lake of Glass, and Sky Pond) were all extremely breathtaking. The first 2.2 miles of the trail were moderate with some slippery snow so I used my yaktrax. Once you pass Loch Vale you will definitely need snowshoes as the snow can get knee deep. The hike up to Lake of Glass from the basin area above the tree line was extremely steep and slippery, definitely the most difficult part of the trail, so take your time with this part (snowshoes not recommended for this part.) It took me 6.25 hours to finish the trip because of the snow and ice, it probably would have only taken me about 4 hours to complete if the trail was clear. Will definitely come back in the summer to hike it!

Snow is still falling up there as of today 4/21. Due to all of the fresh snow I wasn't able to keep to the trail itself, instead just cut my own way up all of the way to the lakes. Snowshoes are necessary until a defined trail is made again. Excellent ski snow today!

Gorgeous hike on a gorgeous day. Spikes were essential up to the Loch, and poles were helpful after the trail splits to Hiyaha. Wind was brisk at the Loch but calm enough to break for a snack. We’d made good time and decided to try for Sky Pond. Definitely a good decision, but snowshoes would have been helpful. Wind was pretty calm at Sky Pond, and the views were fantastic. Definitely recommend doing the full hike in the winter if you haven’t!

hiking
8 days ago

I started my trek around 10:30 am after having to run to the gas station to get cash for the $5 fee that was required to park in the lot. It was slightly overcast, but the sun was shining through the clouds and I broke a sweat after climbing up the hill and pushing forward around the bend on Mesa Trail.

It was a relatively gradual and easy climb until I reached the fork in the trail to take Shadow Canyon North or continue on to Beak Peak. This is where the trail earns it's "Hard" classification, as it is a 2.2 mile trek directly uphill to the ridge line where South Boulder Peak and Bear Peak trails meet.

From the ridge line it is a easy trek to the top of the peak, with just an additional 300 ft. or so of elevation gain. There is a false summit near the top, though, and if you want to reach the top you will need to scramble across some boulders to reach the true summit.

Reaching the summit is well worth it, as you have incredible 360 degree views of Longs Peak, the Flatirons, the city of Boulder, South Boulder Peak, and so much more!

This was a somewhat difficult hike with exceptionally rewarding views upon reaching the summit. Definitely not for the faint of heart, as this was as taxing, if not more taxing than some of the easier 14ers I've completed in the past. Absolutely worth it for those of you looking to test yourself with some beautiful landscape along the way!

(It took me about 4 hours to complete the hike, with a few stops along the way)

hiking
9 days ago

Enjoyed a hike near Boulder.... it felt a lot like the fourteeners I’ve climbed.... quite a lot of elevation gain in short amount of distance..... fun! I’d do it again

One of our favorites, and doesn't require having to go through the national park to get to the trail head. Loved the scramble at the top, and the windy views are worth it. Would not recommend this trail of you have small children that do not like scrambling.

Hiked 4/14. Trail was mostly snow pack all the way to the Loch, after that snowshoes are a must unless you like postholing every step all the way to timberline falls. We had only poles and crampons but made the extra work easier. Otherwise trail was clear for the most part and views were awesome, with all the lakes well frozen.

My cousin and I started our trek around 7 am and arrived back at the parking lot around 11:30 am. When we first began it was lightly snowing and visibility was poor. But around 8:30 am the skies began to clear and the sun made it's way through the clouds to warm us up.

The mist surrounding Long's Peak from across the valley made for an incredibly picturesque viewing of the peak. The trail was in relatively good condition, only covered lightly with snow most of the way up, and we pretty much followed the footprints of a prior trekker the entire ascent. We did lose the trail about a mile from the summit and had to scramble up some boulders before we found it again.

Microspikes/crampons were abundantly helpful on the way down, as there were some areas on the switchbacks that were exceptionally icy, and the traction enabled us to descend safely. We only saw two other hikers on our descent, which made the peaceful tranquility of this trail one of my favorite spring hikes thus far.

This is an amazingly beautiful hike that I would love to revisit later in the summer when the snow has melted and the trail's a bit easier to follow. The views along the way and from the summit are incredibly rewarding and the long, steady hike to the top is absolutely worth it. I would highly recommend!

hiking
18 days ago

A must! Was last here Weds the 16th of March when Boulder got dumped by at least 4-6 inches of snow. It was so different from my first hike when it was dry. It was instead very windy! I had to hold on to rocks, branches or get pushed off the trail. Both hikes were extreme n both times I summit the peak. Each occasion made difficult by ice/snow/wind. But this is gorgeous!

hiking
20 days ago

This is a wonderful hike. It is easy to find and offers amazing views from the summit.

I started from the Long's Peak Ranger Station parking lot. It is easily accessible from Highway 7. The road were plowed, paved and easily accessible.

We started later in the day, around 1 pm. That was probably a mistake because the snow was a bit messy and slushy due to the warm weather. The trail to Long's Peak and Chasm Lake was fairly busy, we saw 5 groups going in both directions over the first half mile. We saw only one group on the trail once we turned North toward the Cone. This was a nice surprise to see the trail nearly empty.

The trail is well packed and easy to hike in micro spikes. Snowshoes were not necessary. The snow was not very deep and potholing was not an issue. The initial 2 miles of the hike are rolling hills with relatively little elevation gain. It was a very laid back hike. The final 1.2 miles is where the majority of the elevation gain comes from. Once you cross Storm Pass Trail you are on the final .7 miles of ascent. The snow is very sloppy here and you could see areas where people slid 5 to 6 feet through the slush. The trail is very steep here and very slick. Also, follow the cairns. I got a little lost because a set of foot prints that looked like the trail lead to a dead end. I used my GPS to find my way back to the trail.

It may be getting to be a little late in the snow season to attempt this trail. Know if you are comfortable hiking on steep slick terrain. The snow is beginning to melt and there were small trails of melted water that made the trail even messier. There were marks in the snow from what looked like falls by other hikers. The descent was difficult and I did fall one time, though I was not hurt.

The view is one of the best in Colorado because you can see the entire continental divide as it winds through Rocky Mountain National Park. It is pretty amazing and humbling. Long's Peak is definitely the highlight of the view, but the whole thing is pretty amazing.

on Estes Cone Trail

hiking
20 days ago

Memorial Day weekend 2017. Icy in spots toward the top, slippery in spots. Nice view of Longs Peak from the summit.

My first hike in the Rockies 45 years ago, and still one of my favorites in the world. I prefer the early fall, after the crowds but before the snow.

It is better to have snowshoes after Loch lake. The trail was clear most of the way but not close to the Timberline Falls.

trail running
25 days ago

Always spectacular

Nice quiet trail with great views at the top. Snowshoes not needed as the trail was almost all packed snow, but I was very happy I brought my micro spikes. There were some rogue snowshoe tracks a bit after the sign saying 0.7 miles to the top, right as you start to really gain elevation up the cone, but I was able to find the trail easily with the many cairns. Took me 3 hours round trip.

Excellent trail. A bit muddy this time of year but offer the perfect amount of scenery and challenge mixed into a single hike. Great trail for dogs!

Hiked 3/24 with spikes and poles. Beautiful hike, well worth the effort !

Family hiked to Sky Pond today in snowy conditions. It was challenging, but gorgeous. Well worth the effort. Looks easier after Loch on topo maps than it is. The scramble alongside Timberline Falls is challenging in the middle due to ice, and that is where the black strap is located and very helpful. Use winter path to Loch. Spikes were fine to Loch today, but snow shoes highly recommended from there today and after today's snow until path gets worn again.

One of the best trails I've ever done. We did this trail in early September. Weather was nice and cool and we saw 4 moose while on the trail. We could not finish the trail because they camped up just off the side of the trail. Looking forwarsld to going back and completing it

29 days ago

I wouldn’t say simple but also wouldn’t say hard, it was nice and beautiful. Could be strenuous for those new or working to improve their skills. Completed the hike today (3.27) fresh snow at the base of a couple inches, upwards of a foot near the top. My 8 y/o son did it with little motivational pep talking. Rewarding views once you get to the top, we had a slow pace with the kid and made it up in just over 2 hours with the fresh snow. Had Micro’s with but didn’t need them, good boots all around. By the time we got to the bottom, nice and muddy and no snow. Good, fun Colorado trail.

Difficult and rewarding hike with astounding views. We ascended NCAR and West Ridge to the summit, and descend via Fern and NCAR. I highly recommend it!

(Hiked 3/24 in the AM) Not sure what everyone is talking about with the strap around the waterfall. Must have missed it. The trail was not broken after The Loch so I had to break it myself without snowshoes. Brought only micro spikes based on these trail reports. Forgot that it snowed in the park this past week so wish I had brought snowshoes. Broke trail (post holing the whole way) up to Sky Pond. Used my ice ax for some stability going up the frozen waterfall. Exhausting breaking the trail but absolutely beautiful at Lake of Glass and Sky Pond. Bring snowshoes if snow was in the forecast just to be safe, otherwise microspikes are fine.

3/24/18 - Only made it to the lower lake but a beautiful hike! The forest of pines in the beginning is scenic and the view from the lake is awesome.

Wore only mircospikes and we post holes the last half mile - Would heavily recommend snow shoes.

hiking
1 month ago

Made Summit 3/24/18. Microspikes highly recommended. Some ice/snow covered steep sections going up and then of course soft and slippy stuff going down. A few small sections up high where you'll post hole 6+ inches but the sections are short so snowshoes are not needed. For now (until that area gets new snow) there is a clear path or trench established by hikers all the way to the trails end at the high ridge below the summit. At the trails end you'll hike left and boulder hop/scramble up to the true summit (class 2+). for someone used to summits above treeline this is quick, easy, & rewarding. For someone not used to going off trail to scramble to a summit, this is good beginner introduction. I was hiking heavy and slow (bc I carried more gear than needed) but the hike only took me a total of 3 hrs 45 mins round trip (including 25 mins on the summit) from the winter closure gate (lower parking lot right off Hwy 7).

3-24. Great trek, need poles and micro-spikes. Last obstacle, challenging, need upper body strength, a black strap has been affixed to the right side to help you over the top.

I went here for the first time, on St. Patrick's Day, because the Bear Lake Trailhead was packed. This is a great trail with fanatic views of Longs Peak and the surrounding mountains. I will be coming back again. Strongly recommend microspikes because there are a few slippery spots that require them.

(3/22/18) I hiked this trail today. Probably my favorite hike to date in RMNP. It was an absolute blast. Lots of snow the entire trail but it was packed. My wife and I only used spikes. Never needed the snowshoes we brought. After the Loch it does become quite a bit more challenging but definitely doable. The last obstacle was difficult today. Very slick and not much to grab but was able to do it using poles. Several other people in front and behind us stopped right before the obstacle. Would highly recommend at least spikes and poles. We saw several other people not using them but would be much more difficult. AWESOME TRAIL.

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