The Loch Lake Trail

MODERATE 414 reviews

The Loch Lake Trail is a 5.4 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Estes Park, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Horses are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
5.4 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1072 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

birding

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

snowshoeing

walking

forest

lake

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

snow

no dogs

The trail is great for hiking and normally takes a half day. Once you make your way to The Loch, you will experience some of the pristine beauty that the Rocky Mountains hold. The view of the canyon and surroundings once you arrive is breathtaking. You also get a view of Andrew's Glacier.

14 hours ago

Really laid back hike with beautiful views the entire way. Heavy traffic to the falls, but if you keep heading to the lake, the number of people decreases a lot.

hiking
1 day ago

Easy, pretty hike! We started at 0730 and had to park at bear lake trailhead as glacier gorge was full, but from there the trail joins up. Not too many people on the trail with us after Alberta falls but of course seemed much busier at noon. Would definitely recommend pushing on to sky pond.

hiking
3 days ago

Beautiful hike to a gorgeous part of RMNP. Can get crowded so start early.

hiking
5 days ago

Excellent hike. Lots of shade along the way with gaps in the trees that open to views of the mountains and creeks. Take a dip in the lake after your hike.

hiking
5 days ago

I hiked this trail on Saturday June 9. We left from Denver at 9:30am, and due to traffic, primarily at the entrance to Estes Park, we didn't get to the trailhead until 1:30pm. On weekends, I recommend parking at the free lot and shuttling to the hike because finding a spot at the trailhead is rare.

Despite the discouraging start, the hike was gorgeous. So much so that we joked that it seemed "too perfect... like it was landscaped."

While the trail itself was crowded, few actually made it to Loch lake, so upon reaching the top, we thought was the best "plop spot" all to ourselves.

Would highly recommend (as long as you are prepared for some crowds and possible traffic on entry).

hiking
6 days ago

This was our second 6-mile hike of the day and we were hungry to find something different and interesting. We were not disappointed with this hike. Where we met on the road by two elk calmly eating the leaves from the trees. Our luck was exceptional and being seated in the last spot of the parking lot. For those who couldn't make it in they have frequent shuttle service from a nearby lot. Our salad course was a delightful mix of numerous wildflowers sprinkled with occasional butterflies and bees. We then moved on to a wonderful salad course of Alpine forests with Aspen's followed by Pines. The Pines were occasionally decorated with bright red or yellow pine cones. The second course were marvelous views of the valley and glacial peeks as you meandered this moderate although very popular hike. The main course were numerous streams and falls paired with interesting igneous rock formations and tree sculptures. We finished with an icy trek of about a hundred feet to the wonderful alpine lake fed by numerous glaciers. The frosty wind coming off the water intensified the chill views of the cold clear water. On the way out a friendly deer munching some greens along the trail gave us a fond farewell as we exited to the parking lot. This was a very satisfying and fulfilling hike which I would recommend for anyone.

hiking
6 days ago

Really moderate hike with excellent views throughout and the lake is beautiful! Hiked on 6/8 and there were a few patches of snow right before the lake, it was a little slushy and not overly icy.

hiking
7 days ago

Hiked on Sunday, June 10th. Trail was almost entirely dry except for a couple short patches of snow right near The Loch. Non-waterproof shoes would be totally fine, as the snow is hard pack and maybe 100 ft of it, tops. We took the fire trail back down which was a nice way to see some different scenery, but it's worth following the trail on the way up to make sure you see Alberta Falls.

hiking
7 days ago

Awesome hike. Get here early because the parking lots fill up quickly. The weather was nice and sunny but windy in some areas along the trail and at the lake. My wife and I just started hiking so this a good hike for us. This trail is less crowded then others we have hiked this year.

hiking
10 days ago

A rocky mountain classic. Don't miss this one. One of the best lakes in the park! Consider it a must do if only here for a week. And if you have the energy and time go on to sky pond. If not. Loch is still satisfying enough!

14 days ago

I perfectly timed my visit to where the snow was still melting but the trail was almost clear of it.
The Loch is stunning. It had plenty of access points for inflatable rafts or toe-dippers. And the trail was just hard enough to keep lil kids away.
I’d take the Glacial Gorge trailhead there and I’d heavily recommend the extra three hours to get to Sky Pond and back, where view of the Loch is pretty epic.

hiking
14 days ago

Nice hike in RMNP. Got there at 11 am on a Sunday and had to go park in the shuttle parking lot and take the shuttle to glacier gorge trailhead. Saw several elk. Plenty of people around but not overly crowded. You pass Alberta falls on the way up to the Loch and get plenty of good river and waterfall views along the way. The Loch was swarming with gnats when we got there, but it was beautiful.

hiking
17 days ago

One of our favorite hikes! Got here super early- around 7:30am and had the trail almost to ourselves! Some snow still on the trail, but just hiked in hiking boots and we were fine! Did not have poles or crampons. Need to have both to hike to sky pond though (hiked 5/30). Gorgeous views at the end!!!

hiking
17 days ago

Love this hike. Got to the trailhead at 8 am. Very few people on the trail going out but it was packed w hikers on the way back. I started hike at 8:15 am and was back at car by 11:45 am. There was snow at the final approach to the lake but I completed it without any crampons or hiking sticks. Very beautiful hike. Next time, I will plan to get there by 6 am and hike all the way out to Sky Pond. I tried getting there today but there was too much snow for me. Needed spikes on shoes to get me thru the snow on the trail to Sky Pond so I turned around at the Andrews Creek junction.

19 days ago

An absolute must if doing Rocky Mountain National Park. Saw elk, moose, marmots, and a few other things. Very happy with the decision to do this hike. Lots of snow the last mile, but worth the trip. Have good boots. Hiked (5/24)

fishing
20 days ago

Completed the hike today (5/28). There was a bit of snow on the trail and a decent bit at The Loch but I made it without taking spikes or trekking poles out of my pack. The lake was completely ice free and there were a lot of trout cruising near the shore but they weren't very willing to go for a fly. Very crowded, especially near the falls, but this is an excellent hike that I'll be doing again in the near future

21 days ago

This is a gorgeous hike! There are amazing views the entire way to the Loch, including Alberta Falls. Still some packed snow on the trail here and there and quite a bit just as you are arriving but we were able to manage in hiking boots. The Loch itself is beautiful with the reflection of the surroundings on the glass-like surface.

We didn’t have too much trouble with mosquitos due to the temperature but it would be a good idea to have some bug spray with you.

hiking
21 days ago

Very easy hike if you’re acclimated to the altitude. Took us 4 hours roundtrip. A few snow patches before the lake but manageable. Mostly just slippery. Walking sticks help but many did not have. Saw a cute red fox. A bit too congested coming back — but heh it was Memorial Day weekend. A few slobs left litter — seriously? Be more considerate!

hiking
23 days ago

Easy hike up to the Loch. Snow starts heavy just before the loch so im sure this could be easily done in trail runners.

hiking
25 days ago

Hiked this 5/23, and the snow was packed a little ways into the trail. It’s manageable with hiking boots, just follow the foot trails in the snow so you know where to step. We made it up fairly quick. We considered trying Sky Pond but the only people heading that way had spikes and snowshoes so we decided against it. Also, at the top of Lake Loch the snow was already packed high so we figured it would only get worse from there.

hiking
26 days ago

05/20--Snowpack starting around 1.8miles and is prevalent off and on up to 2.5miles in. Then pack turned to drifts. Managed fine in hiking boots though. Wanted to go to Sky Pond but the trip was cut short due to a thunderstorm. I did not feel shorted whatsoever though, the Loch is awesome!

Wanted to make a loop by Lake Haiyaha but after talking to the Park Ranger I decided against it. She stated the junction isn't maintained by the park during winter season and strongly discouraged the use without proper gear.

hiking
1 month ago

I went out on 5/9 and I thought I was prepared for hiking to Loch Vale. I had poles, microspikes, changes of socks, and had acclimated - or so I thought.

I was wrong. I was quite wrong.

Once I made it down from the Glacier Knob from Alberta Falls, the environment changed. The snow went from solid footing to post-holing about every 5-10 feet once the trail split from Glacier Gorge towards Mills Lake. The ascents were treacherous if you were off the path six inches - and you could easily break an ankle or damage a knee if you didn't land just right.

I made it up to the last plateau before the final ascent to the lake and couldn't make it up there. It didn't help in the least that I had to be back at the car by a certain time for other obligation. It also didn't help that due to the elevation and hiking in snow with microspikes wrung me out (after hiking Saturday at Staunton State Park outside of Shaffer's Crossing, CO.)

On the way down I ran into two groups of ladies who made it up to the lake - one of which was pregnant.

On the way back down, there is a trail path towards Lake Haiyaha. Don't take it. The trail isn't the Haiyaha junction trail, on account of the snow and creek running through it - and losing the trail almost immediately. After the first post hole to my hip I turned back around and went back up around the Glacier Knobs.

Maybe if the snow was melted away it would have been easier for someone who is from very low elevation and above 160lbs, or if I had snowshoes in addition to microspikes and poles.

It was Type 2 fun and I look forward to making the lake next year.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful views. Went about end of April , and there was still a lot of snow on the ground.

Tried to make t to Andrews glacier point but that was an unrealistic goal considering that Loch trail was covered in snow, and it was a scramble without the proper shoes/ snow tracks.

1 month ago

We went on 5/11/18. Trail was clear in parts but still a lot of packed down snow. Parts of the snow path were melting underneath so we had to be careful of our feet plunging through. I’d definitely recommend renting those micro spikes and take poles.

The hike itself was absolutely incredible and I’d do it again and recommend it to all that I know.

1 month ago

Great trail to hike. Hubby and I were a little unprepared considering that we weren’t aware of all the snow that would be present. However we made the very most of our hike.

Amazing views up to Loch Lake, and I’m so glad we were able to push through.

1 month ago

This trail was awesome!!! There were people doing the hike without crampons, but I'd advise against it. The trail is pretty icy/slushy. The lake looks amazing in the snow.

1 month 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!

hiking
2 months ago

Did it yesterday, MicroSpikes are a must, however some people did it without them.

2 months ago

dope

hiking
2 months ago

Just did this today, took 2 hours to get up at a steady pace not rushing with a couple small breaks maybe 5 min each. Micro spikes are fine as well a must. I saw people with out them and didn’t look fun for them. Took 90 mins to come down as well a steady slower pace. Great views!

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