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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.

beautiful, moderate hike, very crowded on the weekends. recommend arriving at trailhead before 730am. diamond lake has plenty of space for the masses but is busy by 930am. recommended!

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!

hiking
2 days ago

Great hike! Definitely not too difficult... fairly trafficked on the weekend as of you approach the Lake. Lots of fun waterfalls and little features along the way.... If you’re doing this on a weekend definitely make it to the trail head by 7-7:15AM or you’ll be in a jam to find parking! We made it at 8 and parked about a half mile down!

hiking
2 days ago

Great trail. Lots of climbing on the way up, but it’s all worth it for the views at the top. Go early to avoid the crowds – it was already pretty busy at 7am and people were lined up inching along the narrow paths on on the way down. Free parking is available about 10 blocks away.

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!

hiking
2 days ago

Great morning hike! Took me 2 hours with a 15 min stop at peak.

Took about three hours to complete, two out and one hour on the return trip. Took upper path on the accent, and descended via the lower trail. Great views almost the entire hike. Advise getting to the trail head pre 7am as parking is very limited on the Old Fall River Rd near the trail head.

My first solo trip. Weather was perfect and the trail lived up to all my expectations. CLockwise and glad I did!

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!

Certainly challenging, but nothing to lose sleep over. Expect to wait in line if you’re hoping to get decent pictures at the top.

Perfect hike, perfect day!

hiking
3 days ago

8/11/18 - Hiked this amazing trail. My Inreach Exploer tracked 14.0 miles. The trail is well marked until the last .25 miles or so. The last .25-ish mile is traversing up rocks. Very step is well worth it. Love it - lots to see along the way. Beautiful wild flowers, water falls and more. The lake is stunning. I will do this hike again for sure.

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!!

hiking
4 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!

hiking
4 days ago

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.

hiking
4 days ago

This is definitely a “hard” trail, bust super proud when I finished! Practically all up hill on the way there but that means down hill on the way back! The views at the top are beautiful! I would recommend starting it sooner rather than later so the traffic is low and the sun isn’t too high!

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.

hiking
4 days ago

We enjoyed this hike! It was definitely a high incline and rocky but it was worth it. It was a bit harder then expected the the views are beautiful and the arch is pretty neat. Bring lots of water, take stops and enjoy the outdoors! There are trees on a lot of the hike which gives some much needed shade every now and then.

Thought we would start here on vacation to get used to the elevation before heading to RMNP but this was a tough hike for us. Arch bigger than expected and nice view of flatirons

Bunch of knobs on the trail

hiking
4 days ago

This was a very nice short first day hike for our CO vacation to get acclimated to walking at this altitude/weather. I would put the overall difficulty more towards moderate, but it’s a tough call as parts are easy, parts are moderate, and there are some steeper stretches that are more difficult. We went relatively early on a July weekday and the number of people going up was not bad at all, but we passed a ton of people going the other way as we can back down. Yes, bring water, wear good hiking shoes, sunscreen, etc and otherwise use common sense. Although short, the trail has more of the feel of a “hike” than a walk in the park.

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.

We arrived to start the loop on Saturday morning at 5:30 am. Were greeted with overnight lot full sign. There were two parking spots in the overflow area just before the overnight lot. When we walked thru the overnight lot, there was one open spot. When we returned on Tuesday both of those parking areas were full. You might have to check out the other overflow parking area to find a parking spot.
We did the loop CW to West Maroon pass first. We did this because one hiker was not acclimated, and this direction is not as steep. The valley was crowded with hikers and runners up to the pass. The camp sites between West Maroon and Frigid Air are about 1/4 mile off the trail in the trees. There is a stream for water between the trail and campsites.
Thunderstorm started at 6 pm and rained and sleeted for a couple of hours. Intermittent rain thru the night. Only about 800 ft elevation change from camp to Frigid Air pass, a 100 yard section was steep and slick from the rain, so it was a relatively easy morning hike. 2100 ft elevation change downhill into the next valley.
We camped just after the intersection with the Geneva lake trail. Several nice camp sites in the area and water is close at the river.
Third day was a tough one. First 2170 ft elevation change up to Trail Rider pass. 1700 ft elevation change down into the Snowmass lake area. Then 800 ft elevation change up to our next campsite. The area was dry due to the summer conditions, so a lot of streams were dried up. There is water in Snowmass lake but we didn't need water at the time. We didn't really want to pull water out of the swamp, though the beaver dam was busted and it was flowing. At the campsites halfway up to Buckskin pass, there were two good streams for water.
Fourth day another roughly 800 ft elevation change to Buckskin pass, then close to 3000 ft downhill to the parking lot.
Outside of the main valley the trail was not crowded. Beautiful flowers, lakes and mountain scenery. Lots of animals, pikas, marmots, deer and a mountain goat guarding Buckskin pass.
Doing the trail in the CW direction was right of us, so the unacclimated hiker was able to make it. But it does make the last half of the hike the hard section. If you are a flatlander and live at low elevation like me, I do recommend spending a 3 or 4 days to acclimate before doing high altitude hiking.

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