Andrews Tarn and Andrews Glacier Trail

HARD 40 reviews
#43 of 191 trails in

Andrews Tarn and Andrews Glacier Trail is a 8.4 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Estes Park, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from July until October.

8.4 miles
2,260 feet
Out & Back




nature trips



bird watching





wild flowers




no dogs

Take Hwy. 36 out of Estes Park to the RMNP entrance, go to Bear Lake Rd. then take this road to the Glacier Gorge Th.

13 days ago

Started 0600 at Glacier Gorge TH. Attempted to reach and climb Andrews Glacier. Trail from TH to Loch lake very snow packed and firm... no traction or flotation needed. After Loch lake, flotation recommended. Trail to Sky lake very defined.

However the split for the trail for Andrew's Glacier was non-existent.... there was no trail. I broke trail through the snow headed to the glacier... very slow going, often sinking up to thighs with my snow shoes on. Due to the wind pattern east sides of the hills and knolls are very powdery and you sink. Stopped about .75 miles from the base of the glacier. Would have taken at least an hour to go that far. Lots of snow.

4 months ago

Just did this trial at the end of September with amazing weather and views.
Keep an eye out to the left once you reach Andrews creek campground to stay on the trail. I lost the trail here for a bit but following the creek up was able to reach the trail again.
The trail was a bit more strenuous than I thought it would be once reaching the rock field. There’s plenty of cairns up to help mark the way but you could still easily wonder off trail if you’re not looking.
Once you come up over the tarn the view of the glacier and pond are absolutely amazing as well as looking back down into the valley. There was a very noticeable increase in wind as well right as you come over the tarn so be ready for another layer if needed.
Highly recommend this route for the more adventurous hikers out there!

6 months ago

We did four days in Rocky Mountain this spring - two nights at the Andrew's Creek site and a night at Glacier Gorge. I thought both regions of the park were incredible, but Andrew's really blew me away.

So much water everywhere. Not only will you be well hydrated, but you'll be spoiled with some of the best tasting water I've ever had.

The last leg of the hike up to the glacier is a tough one, especially in early June. Signage is lacking and the footprints of previous hikers led me to a dangerous scramble up the gash. Unless you're hiking in late summer, I'd suggest you either really study up or take your time with a topographic map and compass.

I shouldn't complain though, because the final destination was breathtaking - endless wildflowers and little critters surrounded the tarn and made for a perfect lunch break.

Highly recommended.

6 months ago

Made this trip on 7/27 as the way down from Flattop Mountain and Hallett Peak. Was hard to pick a line to glissade down so spent the trip down the glacier slipping and sliding on foot and on my rear end. Took me about 7 hours round trip. Great trip but route down from the tarn was more rock climbing (descending) than hiking. Add this to your list and do it.

6 months ago

We used this as our exfil after traversing from Hallett Peak and glissading down Andrews Glacier. Makes about a 12 mile loop and it was amazing. Andrews Tarn is like an infinity pool.

6 months ago

6 months ago

Did this on the way back from Sky Pond on the morning of August 2. In contrast to that trail, we had the trip to Andrews completely to ourselves. This is by no means an easy hike -- the trail is poorly marked and eventually peters out, there's a ton of boulder scrambling, and the final approach to the base of the glacier is very steep -- but the adventure, the views, and the solitude were all outstanding. Would definitely recommend for serious hikers interested in a worthy challenge.

rock climbing
6 months ago

great hike, spectacular views. however, do not underestimate the difficulty. honestly, I would recommend helmets and gloves as the odds a lot of bouldering, many not stable. absolutely no trail guidance.

Did this with Sky Pond for an epic half day adventure. Two thumbs up!

7 months ago

Nice hike for sure. Please do yourself a favor and add at least skypond! As of mid june, still some snow

8 months ago

Really enjoyed this hike and was very challenging!! Once I reached the base of Andrews it was hard to find the trail!! I went up the middle which was not the best route but it was tracked by others. Many boulders and very difficult to find the beaten path so pick a line and go!! Made it to the Glacier it was pretty amazing and thank god there were a few experienced hikers of this trail on top top show me the best way down. Would like to try again and summit Ottis!!

8 months ago

Some snow starting just before Loch Lake. Lots of snow once you take the fork to Andrews Tarn. I had micro spikes and poles and that was enough to get up the snow field to the tarn. You probably could have made it without either but I wax cautious. Didn’t attempt the glacier but it looked like you would need crampons. Super gorgeous, only saw one other person on the last leg of the trail. Plenty of people hiking up to Alberta Falls the Loch Lake so I would start before seven if you’re going on a weekend. I started around 7:45.

9 months ago

I did this hike with a larger group of five people ... it was an awesome experience. Completed over two days, we began at Bear Lake and camped one night at Andrew's Creek. As with the Odessa Lake Via Fern Lake Trail the mosquitos were a big issue, be prepared for them if you're there during spawning season, they're hungry. Despite the rangers blasé attitude that they wouldn't be an issue, they were; a mosquito net and bug spray are light and easy to carry, just do it whether you think you'll need them or not..

Starting very early the next morning we ascended Andrew's Glacier to summit Mount Otis. Be sure to have micro-spikes and an ice axe, honestly crampons would be ideal as this is a steep hill to climb, very challenging. At one point I was having to stop often to catch my breath. The slide down is a lot of fun though.

From Andrew's Creek to Mount Otis is about 2K in elevation gain, after completing Andrew's Glacier you'll need to do some bouldering to summit. This isn't a cake walk so come prepared!

Monday, December 04, 2017

where the trail splits to go to Andrews glacier is it covered in snow. snowshoes are required at this point. I hiked maybe 1/4 mile in microspikes but the postholing was just too often so I had to abort and turn around.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Follow the cairns! The glacier is not visible until you reach the top but it's amazing!

Saturday, September 02, 2017

Amazing hike with breathtaking views throughout the entire hike. We started at the Glacier Gorge Trail Head and headed for Alberta Falls, it was pretty crowded in the beginning but cleared out a lot after you pass this point. About 2 miles in you will get to a point where you can go left to Mills Lake or right to Loch Vale and Andrews Glacier, I would highly recommend taking a slight detour and checking out Mills Lake. Once you get to Loch Lake follow signs to Andrews Glacier which takes you all the way around the lake, there are multiple spots to hang out and have lunch while enjoying the gorgeous views. After you pass the lake you will reach a fork in the trail where you can keep going straight or go right to head to Andrews Glacier (The trail is kind of hidden so look out for signs). The climb up wasn't too difficult but took a little longer due to the high elevation. Once you get up there there are options for back country camping, would love to do that next time!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

This was an amazing hike! Started at Bear Lake trailhead and hiked up to the Loch. The hike to the Loch was a little crowded but after leaving this area the crowds pretty much disappeared. Near the Andrews campsite area we saw an extremely large bear across the meadow! He saw us and worked his way up the rocks and observed the meadow for 5-10 minutes and came back down and disappeared. We continued on our hike and it was well worth it. A little bit of scrambling is required for the last 45min or so but nothing too hard for any experienced hikers. I would still rate this hike as hard but it wasn't overwhelming for me. This is one of my favorite hikes in the park and Ill be going back again before the weather changes!

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

My wife and I took this hike on what started out as a gorgeous clear day 8-8-17. We got to the trailhead a little late - about 9:30am. Unfortunately, as we scrambled up the numerous boulders towards the tarn, the weather turned cold, windy and then started to rain. Then we heard thunder in the distance, and it started to hail. We were about 50 yards short of the crest where a lone wood marker stood, but we had to turn around - the hail was almost horizontal, and the potential for a lightning strike too great. Moral of the story - depending on what season you attempt this hike, start as early in the day as possible, as showers can pop up in the mountains with very little notice. Besides the fact that we didn't reach the tarn, it was a great, but quite strenuous hike. The alpine meadow after the camp site and before the bulk of the boulders was awesome, with a delightful waterfall with crystal clear glacial melt water.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

I loved this hike! Although it was cold and extremely windy, my gf and I had an awesome time. Tons of amazing views throughout. We'll be back!

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

This was haaaard for the last mile with scrambling across boulders and then a very steep incline for a final push to the top. That said, overall it's a stunning hike that passes the Loch. Once past there the people thin out and you almost have the trail to your self.

Sunday, October 02, 2016

This trail is one of the handful of forks along the Glacier Gorge Trail. Past Loch Lake, follow the sign to Andrew Glacier on the right. I did this trail on the way back from Sky Pond and Lake of Glass, so was not full of energy to complete the trail. It begins within a pine forest and quickly opens up above treeline and into the exposed rock faces of the surrounding mountains. Following the trail here can get tricky as there is only the occasional cairn marking the way and the rocks aren't always flat and don't create an obvious path. My breathing sped up and endurance slowed down quickly as the trail grew steadily more steep. The first glacier you see is on the left across the basin. This is Taylor Glacier. It is here that I decided to turn around. The trail continued up and over a rock wall that looked too daunting for me. I couldn't see over the wall but knew that Andrew Glacier was there. This is a difficult trail especially if you encompass other trails with it first. I'd advise hiking this first if you want to be able to finish it.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Wow!! Wonderful and challenging trail. Boulders , boulders , and more boulders . Loved it

Sunday, August 28, 2016

This was a great hike today. We went up the glacier and across Flat Top for an 11 mile loop that started and ended at the Bear Lake Trailhead. We had poles to use and they helped although didn't slide on the glacier. Windy and chilly up top but wow...the views. We hiked over to Chaos Canyon and looked down that.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Fantastic! We did this in two days. Started at bear lake, and hiked to Andrews Creek campsite. Spent the night there. And loved it. One big drawback was a giant amount of mosquitos. Bring LOTS of bug repellent if you plan to stay at this campsite.

We hiked from the campsite to andrews glacier and then climbed the glacier too. We came prepared with ice axes and crampons, which made it pretty easy to climb the glacier. I do not recommend trying to ascend here without at LEAST microspikes.

We then climbed from the top of the glacier up through the tundra to the summit of mount otis.

This was an amazing hike. Very strenuous and i do not recommend if you are out if shape. The distance from the campsite to the peak is about two miles and two THOUSAND feet elevation gain. That isban extremely steep ascent.... Much more than a mere hike!

Not as tough or lengthy as Longs Peak though.

Every bit worth it though! I give this one 5 stars!

-- also... In regard to the reviewer below me:
1: $26 for a backpacking fee is cheap!.. Thats $26 for as many nights as u want... And as big a group as you want. We had 5 ppl for 3 nights.. Thats less than $2 per person per night!
2: get a national park pass to use the park and u can have as many entries as you want to any park. Thats a bargain.
3: if you are complaining about nature costing money... Who do you think naintains these parks?... RMNP is one of the best organized and maintained parks Ive been to, ill gladly pay the fee and keep good rangers employed.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Just make sure you are aware there is a $20.00 entry fee, also every patrking lot to every trail was full, so get there before 9 am. Keep in mind maybe if you are not backpacking or do not have dogs, park and take the shuttes so people with dogs can actually park and hike. Also this place was a beautiful, but what a scam! Not only did we have to pay $20.00 for n entry pass but it would have been another $26.00 to backpack.... how pathetic that we charge fees for nature...

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Loved this trail, We went out with the intent to circle Andrews Glaicer then over to flat top and back to bear lake, but was turned around at the glaicer due to white out conditions.

But we snowshoe in at bear lake TH and went to the locke then onto the glaicer. there is a short cut rgt past the second bridge to the right that you can take and shave about a mile off if you want in the winter. But the trails are hard packed and easy to move one. We camped below the Locke and headed back out the next day. Micro spikes would be good enough most of the way up if you wanted to use them.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Always like hiking in RMNP. Great day for hiking.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Even in a dry year this hike was great. Trail, to skree scrambling, a bit of bouldering, and a final push up a ridge to the glacial tarn at the end. Well worth it. Go early and get down before the afternoon Tstorms though, as you will be exposed past Andrews Meadow, a bit beyond the Sky Pond turn off.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Another great hike from Glacier Gorge Trailhead in RMNP.Go up past the Loch were a trail to the right goes up a valley, through rocks and a a steep hill to the lake below Andrews Glacier. The views of the mountains are awesome. This trail takes you higher in elevation than most trails in the park,excluding the trails to the top of some peaks.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Awesome Trail, there were a lot of trees down on the trail after the split for Sky Pond/Andrews Glacier. Completed it in June, still a lot of snow up to the Glacier. Awesome views the whole way up.

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