Sky Pond via Glacier Gorge Trail

HARD 1,195 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 days ago

Beautiful. Even with deep snow, the entirety of the hike was wonderful. Moose, Steller’s Jay and lost of views. Scrambled up the frozen waterfall to Lake of Glass, but the trail disappeared into chest-deep snow. Loch Vale was lovely too. Truly, we loved it all.

8 days ago

Great hike, but beware, October brings unpredictable weather. We just hiked this in rain, sleet, and snow. Beautiful views, and amazing colors!

hiking
8 days ago

One of the best trails I've ever been on in my life. All sorts of different scenic views and the grand finale of Sky Pond (after climbing a waterfall) to reward you for your hard work on the hike.

hiking
8 days ago

What an amazing hike! This is the second time I have done this hike, the first being in January where everything was covered in snow. We arrived at the Glacier Gorge trail head around 730am and got one of the last parking spots despite the weather being not ideal. Guess a little snow doesnt stop anyone here. There were a lot of low hanging clouds and fog but it started to snow lightly as we got to the Loch. The little snow fall, no wind, and cloudy skies made for amazing scenery! The waterfall was flowing and as beautiful as it is in the summer. The best part of the hike is the waterfall scramble you have to do to get up to the lake of Glass is not frozen which made it so much easier. The Lake of Glass was incredible but dont stop there! Sky Pond was and is one of the most gorgeous sites in the park and probably the rockies. The Shark Teeth are even better from the top of the lake. There was a little wind but nothing that should stop anyone from hanging out and taking it in.
We went through the trail seeing very few people starting off the day but on our way down, the crowds really picked up. Always start as early as you can to really enjoy the park.

hiking
10 days ago

This hike remains one of my favorites in RMNP. There is so much to adore in 8 miles: you traverse aspen groves, walk the shore of The Loch, Pass Timberline Falls, scramble up steep and gorgeous rocky sections of the trail and then are rewarded with Lake of Glass and Sky Pond almost back to back. Sky Pond has a stunning turquoise color in the sunshine. Keep an eye out for elk near the Trailhead - they frequently hang out there. Plan to park in the Glacier Gorge Park and Ride and take the free shuttle to the trailhead. The Trailhead parking lot is small and fills up almost instantly. The hike has strenuous sections that will give you a good workout but isn’t uphill the entire way.

10 days ago

Started at 12pm to Sky Pond by 2:30pm. Stopped to take lots of pictures and eat. Took the loop back thru Lake Haiyaha. Gorgeous views. Fun hike.

10 days ago

Fantastic trail with great views throughout. Variety of stops on this trail provided places to stop and grab snacks with a great view. The hardest section is the scramble, and my wife and I almost turned back just a half mile or so from the end. So glad we decided to go through with it. There were plenty of other hikers around, though I wouldn’t describe it as crowded. Highly recommended!!

13 days ago

Amazing trail! There were beautiful views...and I loved that the stretches of incline were balanced with easier portions of trail where I could catch my breath. The last mile was pretty tough, but we had a lot of fun scrambling up the rock to Lake of Glass. The views from the Lake of Glass were the BEST, but keep going to Sky Pond - the view of Sharks Tooth peaks were worth the extra trek.

Definitely my favorite hike from our RMNP vacation!

13 days ago

Started at 7:00 on a weekday in early Oct. A handful of cars in the parking lot but saw no one above Alberta Falls until the descent from Sky Pond then there was a constant stream of people going up. Parking lot was full upon my return at 10:30.
Nice hike. Personal opinion is this is a tweener hike, mostly moderate but can reasonably be rated hard based on a couple sections.
Enjoyed the picas at Sky Pond and the Stellar’s jay and snowshoe hare along the way. Would like to repeat this hike when there’s snow on the peaks.

hiking
13 days ago

This was an amazing hike with incredible views! Hike is definitely more moderate especially from Glacier Gorge trailhead until the second fork. Elevation gain/stairs/switchbacks between the second fork and The Loch. Last mile is challenging with tons of stairs and elevation gain. If you're from somewhere flat and low elevation like me, make sure to save your energy for that last mile! You do have to scramble up Timberline Falls which is wet and icy - so make sure your shoes are right for the job. Lake of Glass is beautiful but the last little bit between Lake of Glass and Sky Pond was some of my favorite of the whole hike! The trail isn't marked super clearly, but you'll be able to find your way if you follow the cairns. Right down the hill from Sky Pond is a great little waterfall with some grass that makes for an awesome/quiet lunch spot away from the wind and crowds.

14 days ago

This was a gorgeous hike! I left at 12:30pm, arrived at Sky Pond at 3pm and was back at the Glacier Gorge Trailhead at 4:50pm, but that was going at a pretty quick pace and taking short breaks at the lakes(was hurrying so I could catch a concert at Red Rocks), so I’d recommend giving yourself at least 5 hours to really enjoy it.

15 days ago

Started at noon and only made it to Loch Vale Lake before turning around so that I could catch the last park and ride and still have daylight. Very nice hike and somewhat crowded.

hiking
16 days ago

I would consider this hike more moderate. Pretty steady incline throughout the beginning to middle of the hike. Towards the end you have a steep climb to Sky Pond, which is worth the effort. Took me about 5hours to do in totally including lunch at Sky Pond. I recommend getting early to the parking lot as there is limited parking.

16 days ago

Amazing hike woulr highly reccomend. I did it in nikes all the way to sky pond, only thing I would change is hiking shoes due to the wet rocks. It was still manageable, went with my mom who’s is good shape but still old. It was a ton of fun, and I’m really glad we finished it. Bring a lot of water, 5-8 hrs depending on how long you stay at the top. Started at 8a.

hiking
18 days ago

It's really pretty

hiking
19 days ago

Absolutely spectacular. If you do one hike in RMNP, do this one. So worth it!!!

hiking
19 days ago

Beautiful trail with many scenic rewards along the way and at the top. We only hike once a year, took us 8hrs to complete. Had many breaks: lunch break, picture breaks, snack breaks, pee breaks, out of breath breaks, omg I need a break before we climb up the steep rocks covered in ice break. SUPER windy at the top, almost knocked me off my feet a couple times. What you THINK is Sky Pond may actually be Lake of Glass, keep going though the trail is unclear. Other hikers were helpful to navigate. Though it’s warm when you start, you’ll need layers for the top - it’s freezing up there, literally, ice on the rocks!

20 days ago

checked this off my bucketlist on my 35th birthday. Very doable, you will not regret this hike!

20 days ago

realy alpin trail

hiking
23 days ago

One of the most beautiful hikes! You get to see at least five different water features. For the most part, the trail is fairly easy up until you get to the rocky area leading up to the Glass Lake. The trail can get a bit confusing when you get up there, but it’s still so worth the trip!

23 days ago

One of my favorite RMNP hikes! It is 9 miles, not 8 as stated in the app.

hiking
23 days ago

Gorgeous trail, did this for our anniversary. It’s definitely more of a moderate hike. The elevation gain is so gradual up until the waterfall, we were able to power walk the whole thing with very little, short stops.

The waterfall wasn’t nearly bad as I thought, either. The scramble up is intimidating to look at, but just watch your step and wear good shoes and it’s totally manageable- There are practically stairs leading up the whole thing, nothing too precarious. I’m terrified of heights and only had one minor freak out LOL. For real though, not nearly as bad as you’d think, and the climb down was even easier. SO SO WORTH IT. This trail was gorgeous, and the colors have just began to change. Waterfalls, lakes, the river, forest and high elevation views. This trail has it all.

hiking
23 days ago

Would not rate this as difficult - more like a moderate trail. There isn't too much elevation gain. The only real gain you see are first at the switchbacks and then later on right before timberline falls, and up timberline falls. Other than that it is really mellow and virtually impossible to get lost. Great trail and very accessible to hikers of all ages. Please wear shoes with better grip than regular Nikes/gym shoes. Saw many people try to climb timberline falls in those and were slipping and sliding all over the place which makes it dangerous for yourself and everyone around you. So many good views on the way to sky pond. Get there before 7am on a saturday if you want to park at the trailhead. If you don't you will need to park at the lower lot and take the shuttle.

hiking
23 days ago

My new favorite hike in RMNP!! Great place to see the aspens changing colors in September. The scramble at the end is a fun challenge. Don’t forget to continue on past the Lake of Glass, about 0.3mi past the scramble.

hiking
24 days ago

Absolutely worth the hike. Our watches clocked it in at around 9.5 miles though. We are fit runners from the flat land and it wasn’t a problem. Take your time and really enjoy the views on this hike. Took us 5 hours. Parking was an issue as the road was already closed so figure an alternate way to get there.

hiking
24 days ago

The reviews below cover just about everything. If you are worried about the scramble up the waterfall, stay to the right, take your time and bring some microspikes. They will help immensely. Especially now that it's getting colder. The short jaunt passed the steep steps to the waterfall was icy.

24 days ago

Great hike. Very serene up at sky lake

hiking
25 days ago

Good hike. Cold and windy at sky pond, so be sure to pack a jacket

25 days 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
25 days 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.

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