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Bear Lake to Sky Pond via Glacier Gorge Trail [CLOSED]

hard(169)
Rocky Mountain National Park

Bear Lake to Sky Pond via Glacier Gorge Trail is a 8.7 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Estes Park, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and nature trips and is best used from May until September.

Distance: 8.7 miles Elevation Gain: 1,883 feet Route Type: Out & Back

hiking

nature trips

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

snow

closed

no shade

no dogs

It has been reported this trail has a temporary closure due to COVID-19. Please see the park's website for up to date information.

hiking
rocky
scramble
5 months ago

A very challenging it rewarding hike. The hike to sky pond includes several other hikes that are worth visiting in their own right. The hike to Alberta Falls is not terribly difficult and great for any skill level. The next leg is to the Loch. The Loch requires getting to a soil that goes to Mills Lake or the Loch and then Sky Pond. My wife and I did Mills Lake in May and I thought it provided a lot more bang for the amount of effort. Consider Mills Lake if you’re running low on daylight or endurance. The hike to the Loch is mostly uphill and rocky. But then you’re greeted with a beautiful mountain views around a pristine lake. But you’re not done yet. The trail is a bit difficult to identify but you’ll keep going around the loch, which includes very nice alternate views of loch. Eventually you start going uphill again until you reach the crucible; a small waterfall that you will have to scramble up. It’s a little treacherous but totally worth it if you’ve made it this far. After that you reach Lake of Glass. Then it’s another rocky .5 miles to Sky Pond. Sky Pond lives up to the hype but it is rather difficult. I enjoyed it but we are paying for it today.

hiking
5 months ago

Glacier Basin was full by 6:30. Hiked from Bear Lake. Good hike with great views. Trail was in great shape.

hiking
rocky
scramble
6 months ago

This trail was a lot of fun with awesome views, waterfalls, lakes and wildlife! It’s definitely a good workout, anyone with a good base of fitness can complete it. Just don’t be the people hiking it with minimal water! I could have completed way quicker, but i easily spend 1 hour of time taking pictures of the Elk and scenery!

Lake of glass is gorgeous. Relatively easy hike, fair number of stairs just before lake of glass. Extremely crowded. Expect to wait in line during the scramble.

hiking
6 months ago

Awesome hike with spectacular views.

hiking
6 months ago

The views !!!! Make sure to bring waterproof shoes for going up the waterfall scramble or at least a change of socks. Once on top go all the way to sky pond it’s worth it. !

Great trail and beautiful views and scaling a small waterfall to get to the Lake of Glass was fun. Windy up above there though and a fair amount of traffic.

hiking
6 months ago

I got to the trail head at 7am and the parking lot was less than half full. The hike was more moderate with the waterfall climb being the most technical part, but overall not that bad. The only downside was it was a very popular hike and there were lots of people the entire way, especially those heading there while I was heading back. At a steady pace with one break on the way up, the whole hike took 3 hours

hiking
6 months ago

Great hike! A bit blustery at the top so be sure to bring layers! Awesome variety on this hike with waterfalls, lakes, and overlooks.

hiking
scramble
6 months ago

Gorgeous hike, and a lot to see along the way. I did this hike on Labor Day weekend, so there was a lot of traffic. When I was leaving around 11, there were tons of people especially on the first segment heading to Alberta Falls. Make sure you get there early; I couldn’t get parking at Glacier Gorge at 6, so I started from Bear Lake parking (half full), adding about a mile to the total round trip distance. Im not sure about the distance listed, since I clocked closer to 10mi. The altitude definitely made this hike strenuous for me since I just arrived from sea level. The scramble up Timberline was a bit crowded but a lot of fun, especially when a curious marmot crossed my path on the way down. I don’t think I would have enjoyed that bit in the rain or if there was any snow/ice. The entire hike is beautiful and it is definitely my favorite trail in RMNP.

Such an amazing hike! Definitely go up to Sky Pond!

Awesome views! Not too hard. The only difficult part is scaling the falls up to the lake of glass.

Absolutely stunning at the top, the scramble up the waterfall is fun and really cools you off! Would definitely recommend!

hiking
7 months ago

If you have the time and energy, I highly recommend going up by bear lake to emerald lake and then swinging over to glacier gorge via the cross hike by dream lake to do sky pond before heading all the way down. Makes for a long trip (about 13 miles if you include lake mills) but worth it. That way you can avoid the crowds coming up the majority of the way on glacier gorge and you get amazing views. It’s quite possibly my favorite hike I’ve ever done, especially the valley between lake of glass and sky pond.

Started at 7 am and finished at 12 pm. Close encounters with several elk along the way at Loch Lake. Nice scramble at end on a waterfall / trail to get to SkY Pond. Rain was consistent once we got to Sky. Great Hike. Crowded but not too bad for a Saturday due to the rain.

hiking
7 months ago

One of the most AMAZING trails in RMNP! This one has it all — waterfalls, alpine lakes, boulder fields, forest, flowers, wildlife and altitude... bring sunscreen, extra layers, plenty of water, and decent hiking boots. I can’t wait to do it again!

Great hike. Got one of the last parking spots at the trailhead at 7:00. Had only planned to go to Loch Lake but extended up to Sky Pond. A bit challenging going through the waterfall and tough on sea level lungs but well worth it. Liked with a young woman who waited 2 hours for the shuttle on the way in and offered her a ride out as the line stretched for about a 100 meters. so go but go early

Easily one of my favorite hikes so far. Absolutely beautiful trail. Much less travelled than the other sister lakes (probably due to distance). Challenging for sure but what a payoff. Sky Pond is, simply put, INCREDIBLE. Felt like I was sitting in God’s Amphitheater. Not to take away from The Lock or Lake of Glass either. Only thing I’ll caution is the waterfall portion on the last push to Sky Pond. Be ready for a high-class 2, maybe low-3, type climb. Very doable, just take your time. I saw several people obviously not used to hiking attempt it and freeze halfway in a panic. Just takes caution and time. But man is it fun. Though there’s nothing wrong with turning around. At least you got to see that little marmot and pika Heaven near the top. So cute! Happy Hiking!

hiking
rocky
scramble
snow
7 months ago

hiking
7 months ago

Awesome trail one of the best in the area. Had a great hike with my dad and grandpa.

Best trail I have done in a long time. Great day with my son and dad.

hiking
8 months ago

Arrived at the Bear Lake trailhead at approximately 5:15am. Parking was easily available, the glacier gorge trailhead appeared pretty full as we passed by. Trail is in great condition, a little mud and snow. Waterfall scramble was the best part, and sky pond was fun to climb around. Lots of people on the way down.

Glacier Gorge parking closed for the day. Payed at Bear Lake. Hiked 5 miles to Sky Pond. Beautiful features all the way including rock gardens, rivers, waterfalls, rock climbing, beautiful lakes and majestic mountains. Will do this again.

hiking
8 months ago

Great hike not all that difficult crowds thin out the further Back you get

hiking
8 months ago

Trail was great, first carpark was full before 6.30am, carpark at bear lake was fine though. Total time 3h up, 1 hour at the top, 2 hour retern. 6 hours. No issues at the moment on this track. some snow, but track easily distinguished. Snow melt ment some water going over the waterfall, but slow and deliberate assent/decent is well within the majority of peoples ability. Overall not more than a moderate track, except the waterfall, which was only 20 meters of tricky-ness.

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