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

Near Estes Map
VIEW FULL MAP

Super doke lake, one of the most beautiful someone I meet on the trail said. Once I arrived I was in agreement with him on several accounts.

super great trail! Would definitely recommend snow shoes or at least spikes on your boots though. I just had my yaks on and I sunk a couple times but overall gorgeous hike especially with snow and I will be going back.

went in the snow early November and it was so so so cool to see the Loch like it was. super worth the hike but be careful! trail was pretty icy at some parts

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
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.

Hiked to Loch Lake yesterday. We were on the trail at 7:30am. We like to get up early to beat the crowds and always get a great parking space. The trail was great, only icy in spots. So I definitely recommend bringing your traction devices. You will need them. It was cold and very windy at the lake. It is about 2/3 iced over but still very thin. Dress in layers.

Phenomenal. Parking is the only drawback.

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

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.

Called RMNP ahead of time, and they suggested yak traks and poles. We had yak traks, and we were definitely happy we had them. Many spots (esp the ones w/ inclines) had packed snow/ice coverage, but some spots exposed to sun were just fine. Didn't need poles. Fantastic hike! Lake is frozen over. On a clear day, the variety of views on this hike always make this a great one!

Parking: we showed up at 8am and there were maybe 20 spots left. By the time we finished the hike at lunch time, people were waiting for spots. The shuttle is NOT running this time of year, so get there early to ensure a spot!!

Fun hike my only warning is most of the trail is icy so crampons, microspikes,etc would really be beneficial. If you don’t have them it might add to the hike time.. wanted to continue on to Andrews glacier but without proper equipment it left me wondering for another day.

Absolutely beautiful lake and hike! make sure you go when the weather is clear so you can see the amazing views.

Absolutely stunning end view! A great place to have a little bite to eat and head back down!

Stunning views. It's rated moderate, and had it not been for the snow and ice, it might have been. Us noob hikers didn't anticipate the conditions well (it had snowed lightly a few days prior), and it was difficult. With that said, it was worth the effort and we were afforded a view that you wouldn't get during the summer. Would love to do it again sans snow.

An incredibly rewarding hike. Took about two hours there and back; beautiful range of scenery.

This was my first trail & I loved it! definitely a good workout & we stopped at a couple switchbacks, but overall this trail made me fall in love with the hike!

Nice trail with beautiful sight lines especially at the loch. Easy to the falls then moderate seems right, lots of rocks after the falls and 1200+ ft of gradual elevation. Didn't see any 5 yr olds in crocs lol. Go early as the nearby parking fills up fast and bring a second layer as it's noticeably cooler at the loch. .

The fall colors are amazing on this hike!

Made it to the trail pretty early, so there weren’t too many people. Beautiful lake! Continued on to Timberline Falls afterwards, but did not make it to Sky Pond unfortunately. I definitely recommend dressing in layers.

hiking
1 month ago

Easy hike, I don’t consider it moderate. Once you get past the falls, there are less people. I arrived around 1:30 and passed a lot of people coming down so I can imagine it gets pretty busy in the morning. Not to mention parking being full, both at the top and at park and ride. The lake is beautiful. Dress in layers, definitely colder wind once you’re up there.

Easy day hike to one of the most magical lakes in Rocky Mountain National Park. Get to the trail early to avoid parking hassle and tons of other hikers.

Nice hike. I recommend starting from bear lake and doing the loop around to Bierstadt trail head. This will reduce the cloning significantly. The lake is pretty and hike is easy if you do this route. The views are great in the fall.

Hard hike, but the views are incredible. It was VERY cold up at the lake. Also saw a male moose on the way back down.

Fun hike. Very much worth it to continue up to sky pond

Sept 20th: Beautiful but definitely a crowded spot in RMNP. Lots of people and groups around by the afternoon. Great views as always; the leaves were a mixed bag. Some aspens were still green and some didn't have any leaves left. Seems like it's a odd year. Seeing all the elk by the road on the drive in was a highlight too.

I almost made it to Sky pond but was unprepared for the wind and couldn't quite tell where the trail went along Glass Lake. (it was super windy, maybe 45 degrees; I just had a sweatshirt and shorts on) Next time I will make it all the way to Sky but Loch is a great spot.

One of my favorite hikes in RMNP! This review is from July 2016.

The trail will be very easy and quite packed until Alberta Falls. During the early to mid summer the falls will be flowing strong. Less intense in the fall. The hike will become less packed as you head up to the Loch. We hiked it with our kids (18 and 12) and both loved this hike! The views at the Loch are gorgeous. Such an amazing place to have lunch and relax among the glorious views.

If you plan on hiking to the Loch I recommend wearing trail shoes or hiking boots and bringing ~2L of water per person!

Beautiful views and on the way to Sky Pond. A lesiurly hike with some elevation.

This review is for The WHOLE Loch Trail that starts at he drop off point for “Glacier Gorge”. First you reach Alberta Falls, then Loch Vale(The Lake in many of these photos which is EASY/light moderate), then Timberlane Falls(My second picture) Then Glass lake (Moderate/light hard) (My first pic) and further up is Sky Pond. Stunning beautiful hike. Two days ago, we made it to Glass lake which has an elevation of near 11K feet. This is definitely a moderate to difficult hike past the vale especially to Glass Lake because it’s basically rock climbing UP the waterfall. Lol although it’s just a small part of the hike it’s tough if you’re not experienced... and honestly, you need hiking boots with grip not gym shoes like I saw a lot of people wearing. The view of Glass Lake is GORGEOUS. And the view down the valley to the entrance of the park is/was spectacular especially since the leaves are changing. One of the best hikes of my life and I’ve done Angel’s Landing in Zion. Lol

We saw lots of people along the trail, but as you get closer to the lake, it filters down. The lake is the perfect spot for a picnic lunch!

Load More