Explore Estes Park - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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hiking
14 hours ago

I've done this trail many times, but most recently hiked yesterday (11/7/18). It was all snow covered but packed down marking a clear path. Many people went without spikes, but it did make it easier having them from Dream to Emerald where it got a little steeper. The road up to Bear Lake is icy/snow covered but doable in a 2 wheel drive if you go slow.

Great trail!

I made it to Sky Pond on 11/12 after about 6 inches of snow the night before. The trail all the way up to the Loch was well traveled and I was able to do it with good winter boots only, no traction devices needed although as the fresh snow goes away and turns into ice I would highly recommend Micro spikes. After the Loch snowshoes were essential and the climb up to Lake of Glass should only be attempted with crampons/ice axe it is almost entirely ice and rock at this point. Put your snowshoes back on for the last half mile to Sky Pond and enjoy, definitely one of the best destinations in the park.

Waterfall is currently iced up and slow flowing. Not one of the most exciting destinations to visit amongst the Rocky Mountain trails. Would recommend traversing past and head over to Mills Lake.

Made it to Lake of Glass last week after a scale up glacier and snow. There wasn't really a trail so went off the cuff with my boy, snow was deep af. Was a lil past 3:30pm so didn't want to head full way to Sky Pond just to be stuck in the dark trying to make way back down cliff side. Such a sick ass trail and experience though.

Such a beautiful hike! I wore microspikes the entire trip up to the waterfall which is around 9 miles round trip. I would definitely recommend wearing snowshoes though. I sunk up to my thighs in certain places by the Loch lake. I saw quite a few people up on the trail today they said that people were using icepicks to get up to sky pond.

hiking
5 days ago

Great there and back walk on a great path - was snowing on the way out, sunny and clear on the way back - great views. Starts at 9000ft above sea level but we were fine

Was an amazing trail with quite a few spectacular sights. Happened to be snow up there in October and made it difficult without proper gear. Crampons needed during winter months for sure. We didn’t make it up the waterfall scramble with just hiking shoes. Was way to slick. But still recommend this trail. Turning around near waterfall ended up being about 13 miles round trip with one wrong turn.

Beautiful even in snow-packed conditions. The falls are mostly frozen over right now, but there’s lots of easy trails in the area. Good grips on shoes (or traction clamps for shoes) would have made it easier, but still fun! And dress warm!!!

hiking
8 days ago

Great trail. My family and I hiked it in July. Still snow on the ground in places. Beautiful views. Bring a camera and a water bottle.

hiking
9 days ago

Hiked this trail 10/26/18. If you’re looking for a nice, easy and scenic hike this is the place. Every corner you turn is picture worthy. At the time the lakes were partially frozen over. The closer you got to Emerald Lake the more slippery the trail got. I didn’t need crampons but I’m sure now you’ll need them. 10/10 hike it’s a must see.

Definitely a hike you should go on when you’re in the rocky! The views are amazing! The hike was not too difficult, but it will get crowded towards the day! Overall amazing place to explore!

A very exciting hike, at least during wintertime. Looking forward to coming back during the summer when the lakes aren’t completely iced over. Hiked it with a friend about 3 weeks back and definitely recommend micro spikes. I couldn’t really imagine doing it now without them. Most of the trail is pretty manageable with some decent inclines but, as most people have said, the trickiest section is the scramble right next to the waterfall before glass lake. It was very icy and very slick, I would not do this one without micro spikes. The views once you get to the top are very nice, and make for a nice experience. We arrived at the trailhead at around 6:50 AM to avoid crowds. On the way up, we bumped into a few people, but on the way back down there was a steady flow of hikers. I would recommend doing this hike nice and early to avoid the most crowds as possible.

Hiked 11/2/18. Lots of snow and wind chill, but overall awesome hike. Hiked in my hiking shoes + poles without spikes and was just fine. All the lakes are frozen which makes for gorgeous photos!

Steady climb on this, not too taxing for a local. Had a friend in from MN who did all right. Trail is a boot pack, snow the whole way up, 0"-10" and slushy on the way down. Would have been prudent to have snowshoes past the NP/SF boundary marker, but we summited in approach shoes and got a little wet. Good views on top with high winds and clouds sailing past. 4.5 hours round trip and only saw 7 other people out today.

I hiked to emerald lake on 11/1/18 and it was a snowy wonderland! I am glad I had micro spikes because it was slick in spots but with the spikes it was not a problem. I started hiking around 9:30 and only 4 couples were in front of me hiking. As I came down there were many more people. It was nice to have the Trail mostly to myself on the hike up so I could enjoy the views uninterrupted. I am not a hiker and came from sea-level the evening before and I could certainly tell my lungs were adjusting to the altitude. I did the the whole hike and 1x around bear lake in just under 2 hours.

Hiked this on 10/22. Parking is limited, but pretty sure the trail is accessible from another (Bear Lake) lot further down the road. We had a limited amount of time so this was perfect. I would consider this more of an out and back trail, than a loop. The first mile zig zags immediately UP a dirt path. There is zero tree cover, so you might want a hat. You are rewarded with stunning views looking out towards Longs Peak during the entire ascent. It’s not too difficult, but we did see a woman turn back because of her knees. It’s a good quick workout that leads you quite suddenly into a dense forest at the top — for a short trek to the lake. Overall, two different experiences on one trail. We probably missed the best views because we didn’t go around the lake (the loop part of the trail.) So I’d recommend doing that. But as mentioned, exquisite views the whole way up and down! (See photos) I’d definitely do this again, and allow more time to explore the lake and connecting trails! (I might add that a few in our group did this successfully in gym shoes, but there was ice in the woods and lots of snow around the lake.)

trail running
13 days ago

Fun trail. Good grade for trail running, but there can be crowds. Was lucky enough to catch a rainbow on my run.

I just want to clarify some of the statements on this thread. A lot of people seem to refer to "climbing a waterfall". There is no climbing of a waterfall on this hike. There is however, scrambling on slick ice "on the trail" adjacent to the Timberline falls. As mentioned by many reviewers, this scrambling is no joke and I wouldn't recommend it without microspikes. However, you will not be climbing a waterfall on this trail, or at least you don't have to. Such statements on the reviews made some of my friends very nervous about doing this hike. I thought I'll clarify it for others.

Very slippery in winter, wear good shoes with grip. Husband slipped three times. Beautiful falls.

trail running
16 days ago

10/28/18 Went out first thing in the morning. Gorgeous views on the climb up to the lake. Couldn’t really run the first portion due to the climb but no biggie since the elevation and incline alone is a great workout.

trail running
16 days ago

10/29/18 Beautiful trail. There were some icy spots but not too bad. Was able to run most of the trail, but ended up stopping several times to take in the waterfalls.

Absolutely gorgeous trail... scenic the entire hike! We rented micro spikes from an outdoor shop in Estes.. wouldn’t recommend the last half of this hike without them. The waterfall is iced over and caused difficulty getting to Glass Lake but once you’re over that climb, the rest is easy. We had lunch in a Little Rock shelter by Sky Pond that helped block the crazy wind. The trail is clean but there are a ton of people hiking it so there’s not much solitude. We did a hotel in Estes Park and drove into the National Park so we could be there bright and early... VERY cute town! Plus it was nice to take a hot shower and sleep in a nice bed after this hike in the cold windy weather!

Beautiful fall hike (10/27/18) with great views. Don't worry - there actually is a lake at the end

hiking
17 days ago

Amazing opportunity for incredible views with not that much effort. If you have time head to Lake Haiyaha. Its well worth it. (Review for Lake Haiyaha and Emerald Lake Trail). I got to Bear Lake trailhead at 8am Sunday. Very few cars. I had the whole trail to myself pretty much. I did Emerald Lake and then on the way back turned and headed to Lake Haiyaha. I'm glad I did because it was the best part. Its steeper and harder then Bear Lake trail. At the end there are a bunch of boulders to scramble over to get to the lake. Be careful, I fell, snow is deep and make sure you know how to get back to the trail. Its not as easy as it looks. Really incredible. Wear traction. Wear traction. When I came down the whole lot was full and there was a mile long line of cars trying to get in but they were routed to the visitor center.

did this in Sept 2016. great hike

Beautiful hike!! Rent shoe spikes and poles at a local hiking store in town or bring a walking stick at least. Parts of this trail are SLICK ice. I’d rate this trail as moderate. I could definitely feel the elevation climb! Well worth your time. We got there at 930 on Saturday with a few parking spots left. By the time we left at noon parking lot was full/closed.

Great hike (Sat) Oct 26. This was a great choice for a cool Fall day. The hike up would be brutally hot in the summer. The lake is gorgeous. We chilled out and drank some coffee and just enjoyed the gorgeous view. We hiked around the lake and then added on 1-1/2 miles on another trail for fun since this was a relatively short and easy hike. All uphill at the beginning with beautiful views of the mountains. We arrived around 9am and there were three parking spaces at the Bierstadt TH which was awesome because we were an hour later than we planned and there was no parking at Glacier Gorge (as usual) when you show up after 7:30-8am.

hiking
18 days ago

Just what I was looking for! My second day in Colorado and this was a great challenge. Took 2 1/2 hours up, wish I had spikes on my running shoes at the top, but I made due. Windy at the top!! I also want to mention, I am not a hiker.

This is one of the most popular trails in Colorado and for good reason! If you go on the weekend it will be tricky to find a parking spot. This is a moderate hike with huge rewards, stunning views!! If you only have time for one hike in CO do this one or st Mary’s Glacier.

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