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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.

hiking
5 days ago

I went sunday, 11/11/18. The final 0.6 miles of road was closed so the whole hike is about 9 miles round trip. It was absolutely gorgeous, it was snowing when I went, wasn't too bad till you get past Fern Falls, then it was about a foot of unpacked snow. If it's fresh snow, I'd recommend taking snowshoes, tho not completely necessary, I went in trailrunners and the whole thing was about 3 1/2 hours round trip, tho I may hike faster than average, I'd plan for probably 4 1/2 to 5 hours. Highly recommend it, especially in the snow, if possible, get the lodge at Fern Lake, that would be absolutely amazing to wake up to that!

Mills Lake is beautiful! Wanted to head as far as Black Lake but it was getting dark and the snow was high af, not really a visible trail once you reach the sign a ways after Mills Lake.

View at the top is flamesssss. Traversed up here because I heard there is a dope view of the continental divide as well as the YMCA. Smoked a fat bowl at the top and chilled with some Blue Jays, amazing time. Wore some spikes for this run but could have done without; they did help getting back down the mountain rapidly in the snow as dusk approached.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Did Mills Lake 11/4. Fair amount of snow and the trial is hard packed with some icy spots. My micro spikes were definitely helpful. Super windy but most of the trail is in tree cover so not too bad. Beautiful views!! One of my favorite hikes.

hiking
14 days ago

Beautiful hike on 11/04/18. I was actually the first on the trail in the morning as it was snowing and got to make the first tracks which was great. It was the perfect distance for me and the summit was gorgeous and so fun to see over Estes and RoMo. Would do this hike again!

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.

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.)

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.

hiking
18 days ago

Absolutely beautiful hike! It was definitely cold and snowy, so I would recommend micro spikes or at least chains for snow boots. At points closer to the lake, the trail would almost disappear in the snow drifts, and the rocks by the lake were very slippery.

If the weather was a little better, I would definitely give this hike 5 stars!

trail running
20 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.

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!

Phenomenal. Parking is the only drawback.

hiking
21 days ago

Beautiful hike. Went up to Fern Lake and Spruce Lake today (10/28/18) total time about 5 hours. There was still parking at the trailhead at 10:45am. Trail conditions were good. No ice or snow on the trail up to fern lake. The trail from fern to spruce can be tough to follow at a few points so pay attention. There was a little snow on this portion but I never had to use spikes. Neither trail nor lake was crowded at all—perfect peaceful solitude for a final summer hike.

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

hiking
21 days ago

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.

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.

Wonderful hike! Worth the scramble up the the waterfall.

hiking
23 days ago

Great hike even when some snow cover is present. Did this Black Friday of 2017 and at that time of year, plenty of snow was on the trail. The first half of the trail, the snow will be packed from the heavy usage of snowshoers going to the closer lakes, but the final leg to Lake Haiyaha can be much deeper and looser. Did fine running in trail running shoes with Yaktrax, but almost everyone else was in snowshoes. Saw only one set of prints headed up the final leg on a holiday afternoon in late November. Very beautiful in the cold time of year.

Great hike! Beautiful small waterfall to be seen after climbing the larger fall immediately before Sky Pond. Scaling this is not difficult. You pass several alpine lakes, which can have mosquitoes during the summer. Marmots at the pond can be aggressive in their pursuit of your pack and snacks.

4 stars on account of the parking situation.

hiking
26 days ago

Very nice forested area following the Big Thompson River or Fern Creek the majority of the way to the lake. It's very easy and flat up until The Pool, at which point it begins getting steep. About halfway to Fern Falls, ice becomes more and more prominent on the trail. Microspikes are recommended to get to the Falls and beyond. From the falls to Fern Lake is primarily iced over on the trail. Gorgeous views once you reach the lake, which isn't iced over yet.

I made it there right around sunset, considering going to Odessa, but some hikers said it was completely frozen over and steep to get there, so I ended my hike at Fern Lake for this trip.

Hiked this today, I'd definitely recommend microspikes. I ran into a lot of people having very bad times on the trail with just shoes. Personally, I turned around right after the waterfall - lots of steepness/ice and I was a bit anxious since snow and ice earlier on the trail had started melting. I did run into a few people who either got to Lake of Glass or all the way to Sky Pond, so it's definitely doable if you know what you're doing.

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!!

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