Sky Pond via Glacier Gorge Trail

HARD 1,127 reviews

Sky Pond via Glacier Gorge Trail is a 8.1 mile heavily 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 June until September.

DISTANCE
8.1 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,765 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

birding

hiking

nature trips

snowshoeing

trail running

walking

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

rocky

scramble

snow

no dogs

Take Hwy 36 out of Estes Park to RMNP entrance, then go to Bear Lake Road and take it to Glacier Gorge Trailhead.

2 hours ago

Amazing trail! My favorite hike I have done in Colorado. We did this hike mid September and got a late start due to a delayed flight but still made it back to the trailhead before sunset. We started around noon and took our time with plenty of picture and snack breaks to accommodate the out of towner not used to the elevation. In total it took us about 6 hours. We passed a lot of people that were heading back so when we got up to Glass Lake and Sky Pond we had the place mostly to ourselves. Climb up to a higher vantage point at Sky Pond to get some great views/photos. From Lake of Glass, follow the cairns and you should find the path to Sky Pond just fine. It does get chilly and windy - I wore a tank, flannel and wind breaker and bandanna to cover my ears and felt comfortable. The scramble up to and down from Lake of Glass wasn't too bad...if you are active and in decent shape you can do it no problem. Just be cautious and take your time!

Parking was difficult because we arrived so late. Shuttle parking lot to trail heads was full at 11:30. They closed the main road to thru traffic around 11:45 so I would not recommend getting there any later than that. We just made it.

hiking
5 hours ago

Sky Pond’s picturesque scenery and unique challenges made it the highlight of my six-day hiking trip to Colorado. My three key takeaways:

1) YOU HAVE TO SCRAMBLE UP A WATERFALL. You’ll thank me later. I must have glanced over that important detail in my research, so I – along with others – was a bit bewildered upon arriving at the obstacle just before the Lake of Glass. It’s easier than it looks, but I would discourage kids from attempting it.

2) Wear/bring a long-sleeve shirt or jacket. Like a fool, I opted for a T-shirt and left my jacket at the hotel to cut down on weight. It’s not an exaggerating when I say the winds at the top were of hurricane force. People, including myself, were struggling just to remain upright. This was probably an anomaly, but you should be prepared nonetheless.

3) Sky Pond is beyond the Lake of Glass. I spoke to a couple that made the mistake of turning around at the Lake of Glass before realizing Sky Pond is a bit farther down the trail. They had to tackle the scramble a second time to visit Sky Pond.

hiking
3 days ago

Gorgeous trail! I’m not the worlds most avid hiker and would still only rate the trail as moderate. The scramble wasn’t nearly as difficult or treacherous as I was expecting. I have a mild fear of heights and it didn’t phase me honestly. Definitely slightly overcrowded despite starting at 6:30am and finishing at 3pm (lots of stopping for views and extra walking around the lakes), although my boyfriend found a little lake to the side of Loch and proposed!!! Beautiful hike overall.

hiking
3 days ago

Make sure to keep going once you’re above the waterfall scramble to get to Sky Pond! We almost didn’t realize that Glass Lake wasn’t the end of the trail. Incredible hike - long, but not too strenuous.

(Be careful of aggressive elk!)

hiking
3 days ago

Great walk out here today. lovely views all the way up passing falls and loch on route. few people on the go but more than enough room to pass on the trail.small scramble before you reach the level of sky pond but ok for most levels of ability with care. would recommend

3 days ago

Great trail. Would recommend for anyone

hiking
4 days ago

Amazing trail hiked on 9/14/18. Arrive before 7 if you want to park at Glacier Gorge trailhead. Hike took us 6 hrs round trip but we took our time at the Loch, Timberline Falls, Lake of Glass, Sky Pond, and also detoured to Mills Lake on the return trip. Trail was long but otherwise not too difficult for a couple of moderately in shape amateur hikers. The waterfall scramble took all of a few minutes and so long as you watch your footing carefully on the wet rocks isn’t bad. Amazing scenery at every stop....tough to say which stop is the best which made for an extremely rewarding hike. Highly recommended.

4 days ago

Great day hike. Worth going up the small falls to eventually get to sky pond. Round trip somewhere between 4:30 to 5hrs.

hiking
4 days ago

Moderate hike with a little bouldering. We took our time and wrapped up the hike, plus Mirror lake and Mills lake in 5 hours. I'm a novice hiker and really enjoyed this hike.

hiking
4 days ago

I really loved this hike until the waterfall scramble. I really had no idea what it would be like, and I'm afraid of heights, but more so coming down. I think it helped me that the trail was busy and I could watch some other hikers come down - otherwise I was ready to turn around! I'm glad that I went on - Lake of Glass and Sky Pond were beautiful (hold on to your hats, though, it was very windy!) Also, there was a marmot that was overly tame at Lake of Glass - when we were there he ran off with a plastic water bottle (not ours). Don't feed the wildlife!

hiking
5 days ago

Beautiful hike! We really enjoyed the variety of this hike including waterfalls, mountain vistas, gorgeous lakes, and groves of aspens. The wind above the scramble was strong today, but it was definitely worth hiking all the way to Sky Pond. The gradual elevation change helped us warm up to take on the steeper sections that start before the scramble. Also, we liked the decent amount of shade along the way.

We took the shuttle from the Bear Lake Park and Ride, which worked well for us. There was a bit of a wait to leave in the morning, but I think we only waited 5 minutes to take it back to our car.

hiking
5 days ago

Awesome hike ! I would highly recommend it . Like the other reviews said, the elevation gain isn’t bad until the very end towards the waterfall. I was a little skeptical at first about the climb but it wasn’t bad at all . Actually the climb down was easier for me than the climb up. The scenery the whole trail is absolutely beautiful.

hiking
5 days ago

Amazing hike! Start early to avoid crowds and wear layers (can get windy and colder towards the top) as well as well shoes w/ good traction (the rocks by the waterfall can be slippery). Make sure to continue past Glass Lake, which is just past the top of waterfall to Sky Pond. Fall colors are gorgeous right now. One of the best hikes in the park!

hiking
5 days ago

This trail was Epic! So beautiful. The forest was extremely peaceful with the Aspen trees changing color and whispering with the wind. The water falls and creeks are very nice. Small trout throughout the pond system.

Once you clear the tree line, thats when it becomes really exciting. Pretty steep elevation gains along the rocks. once you get to the last Falls, you have the rock wall climb up to Glass Lake and Sky Pond. It's a bit sketchy if you don't like heights, but totally worth it!! Just take it slow coming back down, and be sure of your hand and toe holds. it is slippery where the waterfall splashes you.

Sky Pond was very beautiful and the surrounding mountains are majestic. We also observed a mountain climber on SharkTooth to the right, way up there.

Get to the park Early! Bear and Glacier trail head Parking was closed before 8am on a Thursday. the park and ride isn't bad, and we saw a huge elk while riding back to the lot in the late afternoon.

It took me 6.5hours round trip, with plenty of picture time and about 45 mins at SkyPond. Bring lots of water and sunscreen. had spf70 and still got some rays...

Totally worth it. it's very popular, and passed a lot of people on the way back down in the afternoon.

5 days ago

We were in the parking lot by 7h45 in the morning and it was full 15 minutes later. Be there really soon. The view is absolutely stunning when you pass the hardest part of the trail where you have to climb. Walking sticks would be anything but helpful at this point.

6 days ago

Get there early! This trail is super crowded, but a great hike. Arrived at the trailhead at 7am and had to drive up to the main lot as the trailhead lot was already full.

Lots of great views through out and a great hike for someone who is looking for a great moderate trail. Steady elevation gain, but nothing over the top.

Sky pond was freezing and incredibly windy, so make sure you have a warm coat when you get to the top.

hiking
6 days ago

I had initially intended to go to Black Lake because I was wary of the difficulty, but as I passed the fork, I changed my mind... Probably the best impulse decision I've ever made.

I'm a relatively new hiker and found it challenging, particularly climbing up those rocks, but it was fun. Started around 6:30 in the morning when it was still quiet and cool. Made it to the top around 9:30 and spent a decent amount of time up there. I actually prefer the Lake of Glass to Sky Pond, but both were beautiful.

7 days ago

This hike in mid September could not have been more perfect! The Aspens were gorgeous against the most vibrant blue sky we’ve ever seen. Each view got better than the last. The trail is easy to follow, and even when there was a steep incline, it leveled out long enough afterwards to make the trail feel more moderate than hard. Really the only difficult part was the scramble up the falls to get to Sky Pond. Just take your time, make sure you have your footing, and you’ll be fine. If you get going before 8:00am there is much less traffic on the way up, but definitely picked up as we made our descent. We made the round trip hike in just - little over 4 hours, including a 20 minute pause at the top to soak it all in.

it was AMAZING

7 days ago

Awesome hike along Loch, Glass and Sky Pond lakes. Make sure you know you have to climb up some wet rocks by a waterfall.

hiking
8 days ago

It’s awesome. The views at the top ( lake of glass) are breathtaking... literally because it’s hard to breathe up there because of the elevation gain but it’s so worth it. The trail is well marked. Take your time and enjoy. It is hard because you are going up the whole time, and to get to the last 2 lakes, your have to basically rock climb. It’s a little scary but you will get the hang of it, sit down instead of trying to jump down, it will be much easier. I will come back!!

9 days ago

Love

hiking
9 days ago

Great scenery in September with the colors
Very fun hike to get to sky pond! The wind was crazy up there and chilly, but love it all.

12 days ago

Beautiful hike. Hardly any people this morning and the changing leaves were phenomenal! Logged just over 8 miles from the parking lot to the top. The stairs at the end are a good workout but totally worth the views!

hiking
12 days ago

Gorgeous hike! My husband and I arrived at the trailhead parking lot at 6:20am (Saturday) and were able to get the second to last available spot. The second one filled up a few minutes later. We didn't see many people until we were heading back on the trail around 10am. We took our time and hung out near Sky Pond once we made it. Such beautiful views and worth all the incline it took to get there

hiking
13 days ago

We logged 11 miles. This seems to be more a moderate hike until the climbing by the waterfall toward the end. There were absolutely stunning views the entire way up.

hiking
15 days ago

We clocked over 10 miles round trip but this is a great hike. Good stops along the way like the waterfall and views abound above tree line. The final scramble is fun, definitely doable if you take it slow and have good boots. I did get wet climbing the waterfall but it felt nice. The pond and surrounding peaks are beautiful and a great reward for the climb! Probably our favorite RMNP day hike.

17 days ago

Our favorite hike so far. The scramble up the falls will get your heart going if you have a fear of heights, like myself. But it is very doable and worth it. Watch some other people go up and see their line, go slow and sure footed with some good hiking shies and you'll be fine.

hiking
17 days ago

Awesome views the whole way. More like 10 miles round trip.

hiking
17 days ago

What a hike! It's been years since I've done any major hiking at altitude and Sky Pond was great. We started from Bear Lake trailhead (Glacier Gorge was full) and clocked in at 10 miles round trip. The scramble up the waterfall is located just before Glass Lake and wasn't too difficult. Just wear good shoes and take it slow.

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