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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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!

If I were you, I'd do one of two things and neither is just summitting flat top. If youre up for a slightly longer hike, continue past flattop to hallett where the view is 10x better. It only took us about 45 minutes round trip to do this extra bit and we were very glad we did. If you're less up for it, just go up flat top past the two lake overlooks and after you get above the tree line. The views there are very cool and the other reviews are right - the summit views of flattop itself are a little anticlimactic. Still a beautiful hike if you're up for a pretty uphill hike in the sun! Loved it

1 day ago

Did this on 7/23. Parked at 3:00 AM and was only headlamp I could see on the trail above tree line. There were several cars in the lot and many Long’s Peak hikers. Very windy and steep then when trail splits to Chasm it gets much easier. Views were breathtaking and this is one of my favorite hikes of all time. Add this one to your list and do it. Sunrise on Long’s was worth it all.

This ended up being one of my favorite hikes of the trip. It was definitely a challenge for me and my friend, two Midwesterners who have never climbed a mountain or generally even faced high altitudes before. The elevation gain and rocky terrain are brutal at times but definitely manageable, I think having hiking poles would definitely have made it easier. It took us 3.5 hours to get to the top, going at a reasonable pace and making frequent stops to let our lungs adjust to the altitude. The views at the top are astounding, especially if you scramble up to one of the peaks to get the full panoramic view, but the first 3 miles of the hike itself isn't terribly exciting. You are surrounded by beautiful huge trees for most of it though, so it was peaceful, and when we began our hike around 8:30 AM we saw several elk right off the trail. All an all I would definitely recommend this hike if you're looking to summit a mountain but are an inexperienced hiker.

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!

Great hike. Decently steep towards the top before the lake but gem lake is beautiful. Went further to balanced rock which was an 8 mile round trip and had some good views along the way. Would hike again!!

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!

The hike up isn’t the most interesting, but the view at the top is definitely one of the best in the park. The trail gets pretty steep at a bunch of points, and the altitude can really get you if you are not used to it, but if you can, hike Twin Sisters.

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.

Part of the RMNP but start outside of park. Started at donut shop on the way to trail. Great donuts but made hiking a little tougher.

This hike is different than being in the RMNP, the rocks-boulder different shapes and sizes. Made for numerous little caves, which the 2 and 5 year old loved.

On the way up, get some good views of Estes park.

There is a actual toilet near the top. My 5 yr old loved this!!

Lake is very ok. Also leaches in the lake, so don't get all the way in. But plenty of exploring and climbing near the lake for the kids.

Did this hike with wife and kids (2 and 5). 5 yr old hiked off and on.

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

Second time doing this hike. We got to trailhead at 6 am. Parking lots was full but I parked on the side along the entrance so didn’t have to park down the road. We got to lake at 9am. So took us 3 hrs to get there with minimal breaks. It was sunny and no clouds in the sky. Couldn’t hAve asked for a more perfect weather. There’s definitely an incline and last half mile requires scrambling up rocks but it’s so worth it!! One the best and moderate trails to do!

hiking
4 days ago

Absolutely beautiful - one of the best, if not the best lake hike in Colorado!

We arrived 6am Wed. Parking lot was full. We parked 1/4 mile down the road from the trailhead.

The trail runs 8.4 miles roundtrip per Rocky Mtn Natl park website. It is a moderate hike, IMO (some will find it easy, some hard, depending on conditioning). The final climb to the lake is a steep rock scramble, under 0.2 miles. This portion of the trail is generally intuitive and partially marked by cairns. If you can't ascend, you'll miss the lake but still be treated to the majesty and splendor that lies before you.

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE respect the mountain and weather. I saw one person who had no water or backpack, and people hiking in sandals and one in overalls. If the weather holds, you'll be ok. But cotton is the worst thing you can be wearing if you get wet. Rain means windy and temps in the 40s, or lower.

Be prepared, that includes but not limited to, hiking shoes, plenty of water, food, trail mix, energy bars, rain gear, sunscreen, jacket. Enjoy!

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.

Was a pretty good workout for this Nebraska boy, but enjoyed the views and the little rain shower. Recommend the hike overall!

Excellent hike! We did this on August 7, 2018.

5 days ago

This is definitely not a moderate trail. There's an extended area of narrow trail and you have to do some scrambling that's actually climbing. It's beautiful and challenging!

hiking
6 days ago

This and Mt Ida are my favorite RMNP trails. Really amazing and spectacular. Parking lot was full by 8:15am. We parked about 1/4 mile down the side of the road which isn't too bad. We had perfect weather with clear skies. No dark ominous clouds. Rangers were making trail improvements on a segment of the trail. Turns out they use horses to carry logs up.
Steady incline throughout entire trail with gorgeous view once above tree line. There is excellent view of Long Peaks about 1 mile out where there is also the first privy stop. Great place to take a break. Then the trail flattens a bit along a narrow path by the side of mountain with view of waterfall. The trail crosses on top of that small waterfall. At the base of Chasm lake, there is another privy stop. The last 0.1 mile was a bit of scramble up the rocks to get to Chasm lake. It was steep but that was also quite fun especially knowing that the lake is just above on the other side. Well worth the last bit of scramble.
Took us a little over 3hr to get up (with plenty time to rest and take pictures and absorb the surrounding scenery) and a bit over 2 hrs to get down. We spent a good 40 min by lake to have lunch and soak up the beautiful scenery. Highly recommend.

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!

6 days ago

Amazing hike, started at 4am and got to chasm lake by 7am. Hike is pretty strenuous for someone from the flatland. Overall amazing views and would do this hike over and over again!

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.

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