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Went Aug 12-13th and stayed at campsite 17. Absolutely a beautiful trail from start to finish. Ran into 2 small groups of hikers on the trail which was amazing. Made you feel like you were the only people on the trail. Plenty of alone time. The hot springs itself was crowded at night...kind of annoying, but the people were nice....the morning however was very quiet and peaceful. We only stayed one night and I don’t think that was enough. I would have liked a full day of relaxing at the hot springs instead of feeling rushed to do the 9 mile hike back to the car. Campsite 17 is about a 20 min hike up to the springs FYI. I heard some negative reviews about the hot springs being dirty and It wasn’t at all. I think the new permit system has really helped cut down on the over crowding. Please be respectful of this beautiful gem! Pack in and pack out!

Great hike. Should be considered 'Medium' difficulty instead of hard. Lake Loch, Lake of glass, and Sky Pond all three are absolutely amazing.

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.

Great hike. Not a lot of shade going down. Switchbacks and plenty of water stations on the way up. Challenging full day hike. Start before sunrise and rest at Phantom Ranch. Classic hike.

My dad and I set out for an ‘easier 14er.’ Headed out around 6:45am and got back to the car around 12:45. We started at Summit Lake and did Spalding to Evans, and then back down Evans and Spalding again (so basically out and back). The hardest part we thought was the return over Spalding after already having climbed across some tricky rocky scrambling to Evans. Did see goats which was the highlight for me, and the view on top of Evans was really beautiful. Would recommend maybe going down the road after summitting Evans to make the trip a little more pleasant.

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
3 days ago

We were told by the bus driver that Crater Lake was a lot more dried up this year, and that was completely obvious once we saw the lake. I’m sure it would have been a lot more attractive if the water were higher. But pretty views throughout the hike! Saw a ton of families, so should be doable for most kiddos. And if you have a dog, they’ll probably enjoy cooling off in the lake at the top.

I’m physically active so I thought the trail itself was mostly easy, but we flew in from GA ~18 hours before the hike and I definitely felt some negative affects of the altitude adjustment. If you’re not used to high altitudes, bring plenty of water and remember to take deep breaths.

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!

Beautiful views the whole way up. There’s some scrambling near the summit. We saw lots of mountain goats and big-horned sheep.

spectacular
we did it with our 4 year old
she loved it
bring enough photo memory

AMAZING hike! We started at the North Kaibab trailhead around 3:45am and arrived at Phantom Ranch just before 10am. Stayed two nights in the dorms at Phantom and then hiked up Bright Angel at 3am to avoid the August heat in the sun and arrived at the South Rim just before 11am. Plenty of water sources along the way, but they’re unpredictable, so check with the rangers on which sources are running before you leave!

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!

I liked that this trail had variety of sceneries. Many shaded area as well as some meadows and rocky terrains. Great for dogs since there is a creek running by, and the lakes to get to. Wild flowers are beautiful in August. I saw a coyote (I think) and moose!

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!

Scenic and forested. The last 3/4 of the hike got hard and had me wondering if I was ever going to make it, but it was worth the effort to get to beautiful mountain lakes.

hiking
5 days ago

Great trail!

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.

This is my first 14er this year so far. Initially planned for Mt. Spalding but once that was crested, Mt Evans needed to be attempted as well. Started at Summit Lake with a good friend (her 1st 14er attempt) and we got to Spalding and then went on to climb, scratch and claw our way up to Evans Summit from this trail. It was damn tough but man, are the views worth it!! We were running out of time so we descended via hitchhiking back to summit lake. Without this ride, I would’ve been late for work!

J.F. You absolutely killed this today! Great job!

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

The hike is great, lake is underwhelming. Views along the hike are awesome.

hiking
6 days ago

I don't really consider this a "hike", but rather more of a walk down stairs, into a canyon that offers you some of the most memorable views in your life. In fact, the only way to enter the canyon is through a tour. If you are a nature lover of any kind, this is a must-do.
As the information above shows, you are not allowed to enter this canyon without a Navajo guide and a permit. Permits are cheap (under $10), and then the price of the tour. It's a large parking lot, so unless you're there in peak season on a weekend, you'll not have too hard a time parking.
The tours are grouped of maybe 20-25 people at a time, with a Navajo guide who offers you details about the canyon and the surrounding land along the way.
Again, you are not allowed to just part and walk down into the canyon. This is for your own safely because if you are in the canyon when it rains, you will drown. Sounds dramatic, but it's true. The guides let you know that only 1 inch of rain above-ground will flood this 80 ft deep canyon. So, heed the warning to never sneak in. Plus, it's about respect. This is tribal land that we're privileged to walk on. So, don't grumble about the fee or that you can't wander around alone. The guides will give you ample opportunities to stop and take pictures.
For those who aren't into hiking, are disabled, or don't exercise regularly, the only way down, into the canyon is by climbing down narrow, grated stair cases.
Fair warning, too, about the amount of tourists here. LIterally busloads. I've been twice, once in October, where there was minimal wait time (maybe 10 min max). The second time I went, I visited in mid-July, around 10am. The wait to get into the canyon lasted 45+ min as you stand outside in direct sunlight. There were hundreds of people standing, waiting for their tour group to enter down into the canyon. And because you're standing in direct sun, there were a few people in line when I was there who fainted. No joke. So if you're not acclimated to desert heat and don't have 2+ bottles of water, DO NOT GO IN THE SUMMER.
Otherwise, this will be one of the most beautiful things you ever see.

For those of us not used to the altitude (we are from GA) this was a pretty difficult hike on the way to Crater Lake. Mostly uphill and very rocky. Took about an hour hike to get to Crater Lake but the view was gorgeous! Plan on packing a lunch or snacks and taking in the view—and a short rest! Definitely want to get there early as it gets very crowded on the narrow, rocky trail as the day progresses. We got to Highlands at about 8:15 to take the bus up to Maroon Bells. Go early—very popular destination! Bring lots of water too.

I hiked this trail from 5am to 4pm, totally 11 hours. I parked my car in the visitor center and took the shuttle to South Kaibab trailhead, went down to the river, visited the Phantom Ranch and mailed some postcards, and went up from Bright Angel trail. It will be the most impressed hiking in my life. I feel this hiking is meaningful for me.
The day I hiked is not hot on the rim and it's a little raining in the hike. I took 2L water in the beginning, but not drink too much when going down because of the cool weather. In the campground beside the rive you can refill your water. Remember that the temperature in the bottom of the canyon is much higer that the rim. Even in that cool day I felt so hot when hiking in the bottom, which made me a little uncomfortable.
When going up along the Bright Angel trail, there is water in the Indian Garden, 3-mile and 1.5 mile rest houses, so you don't need to take too much water. Near the Indian Garden there will be a small river and many trees. It's a beautiful place to rest. The last 3 or 4 miles is very steep. Don't be hurry, especially at that time you are already tired.
I suggest to take two alpenstocks to protect your knees. Have a good trip on this trail!

This trail was amazing. I went two nights 8/6-7. I suggest going two nights. Spending a whole day just relaxing is worth it.

I went up solo. It took Me quite a while to make it up. Start early and take breaks as needed. It’s not a race. The altitude was pretty rough for me. The trail is pretty rocky so bring solid foot wear. Also many parts of the trail are through thick brush. Long sleeves will save some scratches. On the way back down by the ponds past the creek ford I encountered moose. But I came up on the with no coverage or protection. The bull was chill enough that I could back off slowly and not spook it, but easily could have been bad. Be mindful out there.

The people up there were all great. Just a group of strangers all there to relax and enjoy the hot springs. Everyone was there for a great time. Don’t be uptight cause there will be drinking, probably nudity and a few were smoking pot.

I would suggest bringing foot wear you can wear in the spring. It’s great but the bottom and edges are super rocky. It’s very painful getting in and out. Sunscreen and bug spray cause flys and mosquitoes were all over me. Also don’t skimp on cold weather stuff. The days were very nice, but even early August as soon as the sun sets behind the mountains it got VERY cold.

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.

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.

on Crater Lake Trail

hiking
8 days ago

I found the low level of the lake and the dirty water to be a little underwhelming. The view of the surrounding mountains is very nice, as is the aspen forest on the way in.

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