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This is two hikes in one. You start traversing above the glacial valley of the Middle Fork of the Elk through aspens on a smooth dirt trail. Halfway through, you make an abrupt turn into a hanging valley. The trail becomes much rockier and steeper as you switchback through a profusion of granitic dikes. The Aspens give way to subalpine firs. Three Islands Creek cuts through the adjacent granite. After a nasty hour, you arrive at one of the most beautiful and pristine lakes in the state. This is not a long hike, but a steep one and the road to the trail head features all the washboard you could want, but we traverse the state in Prius, so if we make it you can. Don't go. I want it for myself.

Great hike. Should be considered 'Medium' difficulty instead of hard. Lake Loch, Lake of glass, and Sky Pond all three are absolutely amazing.

absolutely amazing hike! the trail is pretty packed for maybe a mile or two but thins out. the trail for the most part is pretty moderate untill the last mile and a half. I will say if you are not comfortable with a scramble or not wearing proper boots don't finish the hike. I saw three people almost slip and fall down the waterfall and personally had to catch someone who was wearing Nike running shoes.

camping
2 days ago

We hiked this trail on the way to Andrews Creek campsite and it was awesome. We caught some nice sized rainbow trout that we cooked up for dinner. You need a permit if you are staying overnight and the campsites are by reservation only.

nature trips
2 days ago

Easy trail but slightly steep. The falls were a little dry due to the season. Nice little stop on our way into Pagosa Springs.
Noticed Many kids were able to make it up.

This is a fantastic hike. Probably one of the most beautiful I’ve done in Rocky Mountain NP. Closer to 9.8 miles, but worth every step. Saw lots of elk along the trail and some brave marmots. Please DO NOT feed the wildlife! They are too comfortable around people, trying to steal food. The views at the top are incredible, but don’t get fooled and stop at the first lake. Sky pond is beyond that one. Bonus getting to see Alberta Falls on the way up, and the crowd thins once you pass this point. Took a nice dip in the lake on the way down. Cold, but worth it!

My tenth 14er and goes down as my favorite because the scenery is absolutely gorgeous. It’s a little deceiving because you’re surrounded by a forest and creek for about half the climb and you can’t see the exposed tree line area at all, but it’s nice this trail spoils you a little bit before the hard work starts. The trail was nice until the very top of the summit where there were big boulders. We had a Boston Terrier who struggled on this part a bit, definitely more class 3 terrain at the top. We only saw 4 other people and had the summit to ourselves, a first for me! The descent was nice and easy since it’s not too steep and you also end in a beautiful forest to reward yourself from the tough climb! Highly recommend.

Over 7 miles to first camp site.
Springs not marked

Never been hiking in my life.. decided to hit the hardest most beautiful trail right out of the gates. GREAT DECISION. One of the most gratifying afternoons of my life. We managed to snag a parking spot up at Bear Lake lot around 10:30am. Took the shuttle down to Glacier Gorge and were off. IMPORTANT: Take your time going up, don't be afraid to go off trail 50-100 yards.... because that is where the most stunning views are! The Loch will make you cry, and so will the satisfaction from making it all the way to Sky Pond. DO THIS HIKE! Took us about 3.5 hours up, 1.5 hours down with a few breaks here and there. Sights and feels that I won't soon forget!

Want to include some clarification...

- The picture listed for this trail is actually Glass Lake, not Sky Pond. Sky Pond is another 0.5 miles further in once you've made it up the scramble.
- This hike, all the way to Sky Pond, is about 4.9 miles from the Glacier Gorge trail head to the end.

Overall, an absolutely beautiful hike and not too strenuous. I would rate this a more moderate / hard hike. My friend and I stayed at the Glacier Basin campsite and drove across the street to the shuttle stop and took the shuttle up. They run about every 5-10 minutes. Parking will be full if you get to the trailhead after 6:30am.

The waterfall scramble at the end of the hike is the most challenging part, and there are a fair amount of steps to get to that point (for those who may struggle with steps). There's a decent amount of shade but you will want to go as early as you can to avoid most of the sun. Make sure to bring a lot of water as well!

My friend and I took our time and stopped at a lot of the viewpoints and we finished the hike in 6.5 hours (in and out). One of my favorite hikes I've done - make sure to add this one to your trip if you're heading to Rocky Mountain National Park!

Perfect hike, perfect day!

Overall, a great hike. Scaling the waterfall, while not too physically demanding, can prove treacherous if you have big feet and/or aren’t adept at climbing. Worth the trip to the top though!

off road driving
5 days ago

I did it with stock new Silverado. it was brutal for this kind of car, though it has 4x4 low and all that crap, this trail is not for stock SUV like KIA sportage or so, because it is really rocky and you dont enjoy the drive.
I would recommend a jeep or something like Expedition for this.

other than that, lake is nice and all, but not breathtaking.

Beautiful views the entire way. Definitely go to glass lake, too. I thought the trail was moderate. The waterfall scramble was interesting but not too difficult.

Not easy for worth it.

Alberta falls to start, cool but keep moving to further away from people.

Lock is pretty, easily find a good spot for a meal. Then you get to walk along the lake for awhile.

Made it the scramble, waterfall while my wife and I carried our 2 and 5 yr old. But not able to get them up the climb. So we took turns going up solo to glass lake, gave the kids a chance to play in the water at the bottom of the fall.

Missed out on sky, bummer. My 5 yr old hiked around 6 miles, which was a huge help.

Tough trail for someone who is not used to hiking but worth the view at the end!

According to the trail maps on sight, it is close to 10 miles to Sky Pond if you start at Bear Lake.

Wonderful hike! Was our first hike of our week long trip, and was perfect. So many great stops along the trail.

We arrived at the trailhead at 6:30am and snagged one of the last parking spots.

Toughest part was climbing up and down timberline falls, but it was also the coolest part!

Very very busy on our way back.

Almost no shade once it got to be noon- wear sunscreen!

Many places to use water filter to fill your water bottles!

Did this last summer. Favorite hike of all time. Definitely recommended.

Great, short trail with steep sections. Reward is a dip in the pool under the falls to cool off. 6 year old made it no problems, just got to hold their hand on the steep parts

Loved! Hiked up past Alberta Falls, which is where the trail gets more difficult. Definitely doable, though, and not busy at all on a Friday. Absolutely beautiful.

Great views at the top and along the way. Plenty of wildlife to see. For most efficient route, start at bear lake and head to pond and finish at glacier gorge. Eliminates unnecessary elevation gain.

hiking
10 days ago

NIce hike. the 9 miles of dirt road to and from was a bit much. only a few people out and back. If you aren't from here or acclimated to the elevation the way up can be slower. Ended just over 9900 feet per Garmin.

One of our favorite hikes in RMNP. We got to the Glacier Gorge trailhead around 6:30 AM on a Thursday (8/2) and snagged one of the last parking spots.

One of the best things about this trail is that there are memorable destinations (Alberta Falls, Loch Vale, etc.) throughout, rather than simply at the end. Lots of people made it all the way to Sky Pond, but the crowds definitely thinned out as we went along. Despite the human presence, we encountered several nonplussed elk browsing very close to the path. The trail itself wasn't particularly hard until right before the Lake of Glass, where there are a few hundred yards of steep steps and a brief climb over wet rocks. Sky Pond is the second lake beyond this point. Both Lake of Glass and Sky Pond were pretty windy, so be sure to bring layers if you want to spend more than a few minutes taking in the views, which are spectacular.

This trail has lots of branch-offs for exploring other interesting destinations (Lake Mills, Lake Haiyaha, etc.). We chose to take the spur to Andrews Glacier, which was a brutal but absolutely worthwhile extension. Would definitely recommend for fit & experienced hikers.

Such a beautiful day! Made it to the Loch by sunrise. There wasn’t a ton of water coming off timberline falls. The scramble was a little tougher than we expected but Lake of Glass was more than worth it. Made it to sky pond and caught some great views of climbers up on the spires.

Long hike, but so many different views and places to stop and take in the sights along the way. Very crowded, but that didn’t take away from my experience.

hiking
11 days ago

Hiked it on 08/01/18. Beautiful trail with great views. I recommend it

One of my favorite lakes in RMNP. Relatively easy to get up to and stunning once there.

Amazing hike! Very crowded and super windy at the top lakes but stunning scenery.

hiking
12 days ago

Very busy for first 1/2 of trail. But, no where near as busy as the Bear Lake area. Plenty of scenery with river next to trail. Loch Lake is very beautiful. Strongly recommend you don’t stop at Loch and plan to go all the way up to Sky Pond.

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