Sky Pond via Glacier Gorge Trail

HARD 625 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 September until October.

DISTANCE
8.1 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1771 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.

hiking
3 days ago

Attempted this hike 2 times before in January and February but failed due to not having snowshoes and hiking through extremely dangerous winds, but finally finished the entire hike to Sky Pond on 4/15 with the proper equipment. The trail from Glacier Gorge should be 9.8 miles RT (rather than 8.1 miles according to this site) since it’s 2.2 miles to the split point between Loch Vale and Mills Lake, and then another 2.7 miles to Sky Pond from the split point.

By far my favorite hike I’ve done so far! Views throughout the entire hike were very scenic, rather than just one nice view at the end of the trail. The canyon and basin views were amazing throughout the hike and the frozen lakes (Loch Vale, Lake of Glass, and Sky Pond) were all extremely breathtaking. The first 2.2 miles of the trail were moderate with some slippery snow so I used my yaktrax. Once you pass Loch Vale you will definitely need snowshoes as the snow can get knee deep. The hike up to Lake of Glass from the basin area above the tree line was extremely steep and slippery, definitely the most difficult part of the trail, so take your time with this part (snowshoes not recommended for this part.) It took me 6.25 hours to finish the trip because of the snow and ice, it probably would have only taken me about 4 hours to complete if the trail was clear. Will definitely come back in the summer to hike it!

6 days ago

Gorgeous hike on a gorgeous day. Spikes were essential up to the Loch, and poles were helpful after the trail splits to Hiyaha. Wind was brisk at the Loch but calm enough to break for a snack. We’d made good time and decided to try for Sky Pond. Definitely a good decision, but snowshoes would have been helpful. Wind was pretty calm at Sky Pond, and the views were fantastic. Definitely recommend doing the full hike in the winter if you haven’t!

10 days ago

Hiked 4/14. Trail was mostly snow pack all the way to the Loch, after that snowshoes are a must unless you like postholing every step all the way to timberline falls. We had only poles and crampons but made the extra work easier. Otherwise trail was clear for the most part and views were awesome, with all the lakes well frozen.

24 days ago

My first hike in the Rockies 45 years ago, and still one of my favorites in the world. I prefer the early fall, after the crowds but before the snow.

snowshoeing
24 days ago

It is better to have snowshoes after Loch lake. The trail was clear most of the way but not close to the Timberline Falls.

25 days ago

Hiked 3/24 with spikes and poles. Beautiful hike, well worth the effort !

hiking
27 days ago

Family hiked to Sky Pond today in snowy conditions. It was challenging, but gorgeous. Well worth the effort. Looks easier after Loch on topo maps than it is. The scramble alongside Timberline Falls is challenging in the middle due to ice, and that is where the black strap is located and very helpful. Use winter path to Loch. Spikes were fine to Loch today, but snow shoes highly recommended from there today and after today's snow until path gets worn again.

hiking
1 month ago

(Hiked 3/24 in the AM) Not sure what everyone is talking about with the strap around the waterfall. Must have missed it. The trail was not broken after The Loch so I had to break it myself without snowshoes. Brought only micro spikes based on these trail reports. Forgot that it snowed in the park this past week so wish I had brought snowshoes. Broke trail (post holing the whole way) up to Sky Pond. Used my ice ax for some stability going up the frozen waterfall. Exhausting breaking the trail but absolutely beautiful at Lake of Glass and Sky Pond. Bring snowshoes if snow was in the forecast just to be safe, otherwise microspikes are fine.

1 month ago

3-24. Great trek, need poles and micro-spikes. Last obstacle, challenging, need upper body strength, a black strap has been affixed to the right side to help you over the top.

hiking
1 month ago

(3/22/18) I hiked this trail today. Probably my favorite hike to date in RMNP. It was an absolute blast. Lots of snow the entire trail but it was packed. My wife and I only used spikes. Never needed the snowshoes we brought. After the Loch it does become quite a bit more challenging but definitely doable. The last obstacle was difficult today. Very slick and not much to grab but was able to do it using poles. Several other people in front and behind us stopped right before the obstacle. Would highly recommend at least spikes and poles. We saw several other people not using them but would be much more difficult. AWESOME TRAIL.

hiking
1 month ago

Hiked on 3/14. One of the most beautiful hikes I have ever done! The views are well worth the steepness battle after Loch Lake. Did it only using microspikes, and like someone before me I did not use the strap on the icy steep part, but instead crawled with my hands around the left side of the boulder that's there. Wind is pretty brutal at all of the lakes and the steepness after Loch is no joke, but well worth the efforts! Would highly recommend!

1 month ago

Hiked this yesterday with my daughter. It was awesome! Some tough climbs at the end with ice and snow pack but well worth it. Micro spikes are a must. A frozen Glass lake and ice fall made for some great pictures.

hiking
1 month ago

Wow! The description of this trail is on point, as well as everyone's reviews. We had hiked Emerald Lake the day before and wanted something more challenging... we got it! We wore microspikes and used trekking poles the whole way up. We were hit by a snow storm about halfway to Sky Pond and pushed through. The most difficult part is right before you hit the pond. The trail is barely hiked and therefore you sink pretty deep at such a steep incline. The part where the strap is is extremely icy and therefore I "Spidermaned" my way up the left side of the boulder instead of the right (not using the strap). The pond was gorgeous and frozen solid. *caution** heard a bear as we began our decent down the steep incline. You should bring : snow shoes, microspiked, snow pants, and trekking poles at the very least. *** Also, I dropped our little fox somewhere around Loch Lake, when the snow melts and if he is seen please feel free to contact me via Facebook, he's a precious part of our lives ;(***

hiking
1 month ago

Hiked 3/12. Only used microspikes for the entire hike. Someone has bolted a strap by the only sketchy part of the hike. Slid most of the way down on my coat. Definitely recommend if you are in shape for it. If you’re questioning it at the lock its best to not go up. It only gets steeper from there. If you take snowshoes make sure to also bring spikes for the sheet of ice you have to climb before glass lake

hiking
1 month ago

Hiked on 3/3 and it was spectacular! Minimal wind and plentiful sunshine. Not much need for snowshoes until you continue up in elevation. The ice on the falls made it difficult, so ditch your snowshoes and go with microspikes at that point. Make sure you download the map and have adequate GPS as the snow can often lead you astray from the main trail. I also misplaced my cell phone at the bottom of Glass Lake (Lake of Glass?) if anyone finds it in the snowmelt. :)

hiking
1 month ago

Hiked this a few months ago and was just as amazing as everyone says. Definitely a difficult hike and not for everyone. Getting above Timberline Falls was very sketchy and difficult with the ice and wind but is necessary to make it all the way. I can't wait to come back up here in Summer

1 month ago

Took a pack of flatlanders up for a morning hike and had an amazing time. Wind was brutal so make sure to bring a face mask and lots of layers. No snowshoes are needed but I would advise using boots this time of year at the bare minimum. Download the map to use offline as the trail splits in a few places that can be confusing. Amazing views, and a challenging but rewarding hike.

hiking
1 month ago

Started early in the morning to make sure I got a parking spot. Wore spikes and carried snowshoes. The trail was well traveled with hard pack/ice at times. No need for the snowshoes. The weather was absolutely perfect! Sun, blue skies and not much wind (relatively) at all. The Loch, Glass Lake and Sky Pond all ice with no/little snow cover. The climb up Timberline Falls not bad at all and someone placed a strap at the point where it there is ice. At the lakes, a lot of exposed rock, ground so easy to get around. On the way back, the snow was softer after the sun on it all day long. Hiked it in the summer and first in winter and both beautiful in their own ways.

hiking
1 month ago

Such a stunning hike! You can’t go wrong with hikes in Rocky Mountain but on this hike you pass so many other falls and lakes there is so much along the way. We had our trekking poles and spikes on. I don’t think we could have competed this hike without them. Very slushy in some areas and ice in others.

hiking
2 months ago

This was an amazing hike/snowshoe, the trail is fully covered in snow and snow shoes definitely advised. We didn’t make it to the sky pond sines the last climb near the frozen waterfall is ALL ice, we felt it was to dangerous to climb.

2 months ago

Wow! My favorite in Rocky!

snowshoeing
2 months ago

For 2/2 we turned around at the lake of glass with winds literally blowing us over. Broke trail most of the way past Loch vale second to wind blown snow- will definitely be back!

hiking
2 months ago

Great weather. 5 hours round trip from TH. Snowshoes definitely needed. Able to scramble up falls on rocks but microspikes were helpful. Trail was easily visible.

hiking
3 months ago

I found prior reviews to be largely accurate--this hike would be rated "moderate" save for the final scramble up to Sky Pond, at least in winter. I found a heavily-compacted trail from the parking lot to Lake of Glass, with occasional ice and bare spots, easily handled in microspikes. The short distance from Lake of Glass to Sky Pond appears to be much less travelled, so less compacted. Snowshoes were necessary and very useful. The mapped trail is difficult to pick up in snow cover along the west side of Lake of Glass, so it appears many previous hikers just walked to the far end of the (fascinating) frozen lake where it narrows to a point. From there, I advise staying along the right side of the gorge going uphill, as the pass to the top of Sky Pond occurs on that side. I mistakenly followed a pair of snowshoe tracks up the left bank of the ravine for a half mile, only to reach Sky Pond on the wrong side of monumental ice and boulders, and no way to continue. Took an extra hour re-routing off-trail (must've been a mountain goat wearing those 'shoes).

snowshoeing
3 months ago

Challenging hike in the snow. Considering having under weighted snowshoes - the hike was doable with only boots to about halfway. I'd recommend snowshoes from there just to make the hike more enjoyable. The steep climb up to Glass Lake is a bit tricky as it's icy, just confirm your footing and proceed cautiously.
Recommendations: A light pack, snow shoes, start early.

4 months ago

I did this in the snow. My favorite part was sliding down from Lake of Glass on my derrière

4 months ago

beautiful hike. views are amazing. trail is packed snow and a bit icy, yack tracks did the trick for me. the last part up is some what sketchy. a little icy and a sort or rock scramble but really not that bad. deffinetly recommend doing this hike now. great experience in the winter! enjoy

hiking
4 months ago

It was a beautiful day to hike. Did this hike w/o crampons but can come in handy once you pass Loch. Here is snow but manageable. It’s definitely worth trying now! It looks great w/ snow w/ breathtaking views!

hiking
4 months ago

I thought I would be able to access sky pond based on the reviews... I made it halfway up the frozen waterfall using microspikes and trekking poles. It got way too sketchy for me. It was completely ice and I could not get good grips; If you fall, you could die. So I turned back at this point. I think crampons and an ice pick or something would be more ideal. Although, I'm sure some people made it past this point with only microspikes and trekking poles, but I did not feel like risking my life.

hiking
4 months ago

One of my favorites in RMNP. Bring your crampons or microspikes in the winter!

Load More