Explore RMNP - 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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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!

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
2 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.

hiking
2 days ago

This was my first hike at RMNP, and it didn’t disappoint! My husband and I started at the bear lake trailhead, took a portion of the flattop mtn trail then when flattop mtn trail branched off to the left, we continued straight on the fern lake trail. We took the trail for a few miles and turned around right before two rivers lake. The incline was a good, challenging pace, not scrambling but not flat. We are beginner to intermediate hikers so this was perfect for us. The higher you get the rockier it gets on the trail. Some nice streams along the way and while it started off sunny and warm, it cooled at bit on the way up while in the pine forest. There was a portion of the trail that is next to a mountain that is nothing but rocks, so we slowed down a bit on this. This portion was also very sunny, but did not last long. Did not see any wildlife. I would do this again and next time probably go farther! Beautiful views along the way and not too crowded. I noticed the farther we went on the trail, the less foot traffic we came across. We arrived at the trailhead around 8:20am and it was full. Was able to snag a spot though. Might consider arriving a little earlier next time. First time at RMNP and I’m hooked. I never want to leave!

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!

Pretty darn good hike. We parked at fern lake trailhead and hiked to the bear lake trailhead and took the shuttle back. Note that the shuttle does not go all the way back to the fern lake trailhead. You will still have 0.7 miles to get to the actual trailhead. Overall it’s almost 10 miles and about 2700 ft gain in elevation. It would be a lot easier to go bear lake to fern lake. Bear lake is higher so the climb is much less daunting. Parking is more difficult at bear lake. Either way the scenery is gorgeous and the streams and lakes are beautiful as is fern falls.

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

hiking
4 days ago

Secluded and peaceful. Great views of rockies on the way.

Great trail. I would emphasize that if you find yourself on a single track footpath, you’re off the trail, not that I know anything about that. Would be wonderful if the horse people would take a little responsibility for the poop all over the trail.

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.

Nice views overlooking Estes Park and the Rockies. Could have been nicer but unfortunately was a hazy day.

The lake is just okay. The best part is the nice views going up and down the trail. Went during a huge thunderstorm with lots of hail so we couldn’t spend much time at the lake.

This hike was lovely - truly the stereotypical mountain lake ideal view. It's as gorgeous as you'd imagine. :) Yes, if you hike it in the summer, it'll be well populated, but that's the case for most trails at any national park.
As I approached Mills Lake, I watched the water that would become Alberta Falls rush by, flowing heavily from MIlls Lake. After that, I crested a hill with large boulders around, that opened up to the spans of Mills Lake, flanked by idyllic rocky mountains.
As an Arizona hiker who visited in August, I layered my clothing: yoga tank under a long sleeved t, under a sweatshirt, under a waterproof windbreaker. I'm SOOOO glad I took all layers (I almost left the sweatshirt in the car), because in the 30ish minutes I sat by the lake, the weather went from full sun, dy, then thunder, rain and hail...and then sun again. ....and then rain. Mother Nature was verrry moody the day I hiked this trail, and judging from what the Park Rangers, guides and locals told me, this is common. So, be sure you're prepared!
This trail felt like a true hike, whereas Bear Lake was not at all. The hike to Mills Lake is rated moderate, but I believe it's somewhere between Easy and Moderate.
There aren't any steep grades, despite you ascending almost all the way. The grade is subtle.
Because you are walking on a trail with loose rock and stepping around larger rocks, I also recommend you wear grippy shoes/boots.
You'll love it.

Beautiful hike to Mills Lake. It was challenging but well worth the effort. Only drawback was too many people on the trail.

Great trail, with diverse landscapes and reasonable uphills. However I recommend to do an extra effort and continue to Bear Lake instead of coming back. This would imply a “hard” hike, taking into account the uphill between Fern Lake and Lake Helene. But it pays off!: You don’t repeat landscapes and you will experience the rocky world of the RMNP, with vistas of some glaciers. And you arrive to the crowded Bear Lake, where the bus is waiting for you to bring you back to Lake Fern trailhead. Give it a try!

Loved every minute!

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.

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
8 days ago

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

hiking
9 days ago

Moderately difficult trail with rewarding views at the summit. Saw a rabbit and lots of chipmunks but no other wildlife to note. Watch out for those chipmunks, they'll try to get into your bag of you set it down. Wish there was a sign at the top.

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

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