Timberline Falls and Sky Pond Trail [CLOSED]

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Rocky Mountain National Park

Timberline Falls and Sky Pond Trail is a 9.3 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Estes Park, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from May until October.

Distance: 9.3 miles Elevation Gain: 2,162 feet Route Type: Loop

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

snow

closed

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
icy
snow
4 months ago

I made it to Timberline Falls today 12/12/2020. I needed my snowshoes after Loch Lake. Thankful another snowshoer broke a great trail to the falls. Incredible in the winter.

hiking
7 months ago

Hiked from Bear Lake parking lot to Timberline Falls. Started the climb of the falls to get to our final destination of Sky Pond but decided not to continue since it was icy and I am short and was more concerned about climbing back down. Beautiful and challenging hike with almost 2k ft elev gain and very windy. It was 32 degrees out at 8 am when we started and we finished around 1:30. Lots of stops for us including to hang out at Alberta Falls, Loch Lake, and Timberline Falls..Our watches tracked 11-12 miles. It was in the 50s by the time we got back. The foliage was beautiful with many yellow/golden trees.

hiking
7 months ago

Parked at Bear and started around 6 AM. Hiked past Dream and Haiyaha on way to Loch. Hike up to Timberline falls was steep but manageable. Falls were frozen and climb up to Sky Pond was tricky. Coming down was the difficult part. The view of Loch from above was great. The sun had just made it to Loch when I was there around 9am. I would like to have seen the valley in full sun but it was getting busy on the trails as I hiked down. Took a detour up to Mills Lake before heading back to Glacier Gorge. Mills is my favorite lake to sit and relax. It is so peaceful and serene with many places to rest while enjoying lunch and take a break. Awesome trail and awesome day of hiking.

hiking
7 months ago

Great trail for lake and leaf peeping enthusiasts alike! Very technical part at the end climbing THROUGH a waterfall, but very worthwhile for the sky pond views at the end!! (I wore my emergency poncho to help stay dry, only $8 at Walmart!)

hiking
rocky
8 months ago

This is a gorgeous hike. If you do the whole loop you’re covering a majority of the big features people hike to from Bear Lake trailhead. Anyhoo, I set out from the Bear Lake trailhead around 2:30 and made it to sky pond around 4:45, though I stopped for a bit to ogle at Alberta Falls and a bit longer at Loch Lake, which is stunning. The approach to sky pond is along a waterfall and it makes for the greatest reveal when you get your head up to see the lake and surrounding mountains. I stayed up at sky pond for around an hour, and made it back to The trailhead at 7:15, but I was really moving to make sure I caught the last shuttle. I didn’t stop long at the other lakes, but didn’t feel like I missed out much as we hiked to nymph lake in early summer and I was familiar with it. I highly recommend doing this in the afternoon to evening if you’re fit enough to get up there and down before it’s dark. If you go straight back down to Alberta falls instead of the loop you’ll save some time (if it’s already getting dark when you hit that turnoff. Awesome day! // just realized I did this in the opposite direction. Thought I’d add that for clarity.

hiking
scramble
8 months ago

Amazing! Took 5 hours on the dot with multiple breaks at the views!

Favorite hike so far!! You go by multiple lakes, ponds, streams and see wildlife. Loch lake is incredibly beautiful!!! The last mile is the hardest in my opinion. Super rocky as you approach sky pond, not for beginner hikers unless you’re comfortable scrambling on rocks. The rocks were wet from running water (literally a waterfall) and it was a bit tough getting down. The name of this hike threw me off. You don’t see signs for Timberline Falls anywhere and don’t start to see signs for Sky Pond until you’re well into the hike. Start at the Bear Lake trail head for this specific hike. My battery died but this ended up being more than 9.3 miles, it was a little over 10 according to my Apple Watch

hiking
8 months ago

This is not as difficult as I expected. I would call it moderate except for the scramble up to sky pond at the end and the elevation. I left a little after 3pm from Glacier Point and arrived at the top around 6 and finished by 7:20. Mostly wooded, no bugs, easy well maintained trail. Tons of ponds and rivers. Very busy trail but able to park at 3pm.

hiking
rocky
scramble
8 months ago

I forgot this trail was in a national park so was caught off guard by the $25 day pass fee. The hike is fantastic though and absolutely worth the time and energy. The pick your own adventure climb up and down a waterfall makes it even better.

Oh yahhh phenomenal hike with sister Laura

hiking
8 months ago

One of the best hikes I have ever taken! So much to see! Beauty around every turn! It has everything: waterfalls, elevation, lakes and ponds, wildlife, glaciers, boulders, and forests. A thrilling, but do-able scramble near the end makes it exciting. Take a nice lunch or snack for the half way point and take your time up and back. Parking on nice days can be VERY difficult to get. We waited at the Park-n-Ride for someone to leave and took their spot. The shuttle is very good and there are plenty of buses, so you won't wait long. We took our time and started at 11:00, but we should have tried to find parking earlier in the morning. Even so, it all worked out and we had a wonderful, memorable hike!

hiking
8 months ago

Absolutely beautiful. I couldn’t be more pleased with my first hike in the Rockies. Bear Lake parking lot at 7am was easy (saw lots of elk grazing on the way in!) and still several of open spaces at noon on my way out. I might try starting at Glacier Gorge next time, as the hike between there and Bear Lake upon return was basically uphill and not super scenic. I was a little worried about climbing the falls at the end but it wasn’t bad at all and plenty of older/less fit folks were doing it - just take your time and plan to get a little wet. Glass Lake is beautiful, and don’t forget to keep going past the lake to Sky Pond! You won’t regret this hike!

hiking
scramble
8 months ago

hiking
9 months ago

Amazing beautiful hike! We climbed a waterfall, which is amazing! It’s hard though, especially when you get to Timberline Falls. What makes this hard is the last mile after you get to the falls before Sky Pond and just the length makes it tough. Bring lots of water and wear the right shoes.

hiking
snow
9 months ago

Best trail I've hiked! Be prepared with the proper equipment though. My dad and I hiked it in shorts and tennis shoes. Probably the most painful hike because of our lack of equipment.

hiking
9 months ago

Absolutely beautiful, after passing Alberta falls it opens up into a really scenic valley. From there it’s a bit more to Loch Vale which, if look off you can see the Timberline falls on the upper far left side as you approach the lake. The loch is very pretty and it’s only a bit more till you get to see the falls. Be careful going up, the rocks can be very slippery but it’s nothing that challenging. After probably 5 minutes worth of climbing up rocks with running water it opens up to Lake of the Glass which offers a beautiful view of the glacier in front and mountain side, and a great view of Loch Vale. From here it’s just a bit more (.4-.5 miles) to Sky pond, this is just a small walk with some slight rock scramble. Sky pond offers a similar but still unique view of the glacier and mountain. Overall, a fantastic hike it took my dad and I 5.5 hours but it could be done quicker as we spent a lot of time just taking in the views.

hiking
scramble
9 months ago

hiking
bugs
9 months ago

8/03 Hiked - micro spikes will not be needed the trail is pretty much dried with some muddy spot. - $25 park fee at entrance - restrooms available at trailhead - bear lake parking is not full at 5:00 a.m. - they have parking lot at lower level and you can take the bus to trail head if bear lake parking lot is full. - a lot of mosquitoes - climbed up the waterfall to sky pond. It’s not difficult you just need to use your hand. - trail to dream lake and haiyaha is steeper and less people. Dream lake is pretty but I think lake haiyaha is ok. A lot of mosquitoes around lake haiyaha. - the other trail that is not going to dream lake is a lot easier but also a lot more people. - spotted picas, chipmunk, squirrel, marmot, and elk. - I enjoyed this hike a lot, it has the best waterfall I have seen on a trail so far. The amount of mosquitoes is a bit annoying, but a lot of bug spray helps.

hiking
rocky
scramble
9 months ago

Hiked trail on 8/1/19 on a cool and cloudy day. Went from Bear Lake trail head on up to Loch Vale past Loch Lake to the Falls. Final approach to the Falls challenging with steep steps and wet rocks. Falls are awesome with large volume of water cascading down. Did not try to scale the cliff to reach Lake of Glass. Round trip distance 8.5 miles in about 5.5 hours. Great hike and great views from the falls.

hiking
bugs
rocky
scramble
snow
10 months ago

Great hike! Made it to Sky Pond without much difficulty. Poles helped, but aren’t necessary. I had microspikes, but didn’t need to use them. The only tricky area is the waterfall. If you step carefully and watch where others are going it isn’t that difficult. Expect to get your feet a little wet going up the falls...it’s worth it though.

hiking
10 months ago

Hiked to Sky Pond the Sunday after the 4th of July. Trail was fairly full up to Mills Lake/Loch split, after that it thinned out. Trail was muddy at times, but nothing horrible. Fantastic views the entire way up. Vast snowfield as you approach Timberline Falls. Spikes and poles would have been helpful, but if you take your time it isn’t bad at all. Waterfall was raging! We made it up fairly quickly and nearly dry, as did everyone else who made it that far. However, I recommend waterproof shoes or boots as your feet will be underwater at times. Great hike!

hiking
10 months ago

Wonderful trail, I started from Bear Lake and heading the route towards Nymph Lake, Dream, then Haiyaha. That stretch was beautiful, and pretty much just me. Once you reach Loch-Mills Junction, it’s people from there on out, still wonderful trail though. Spikes and poles helped for the final push towards Timberline Falls (7-3-19), but weren’t necessary. Climbing the falls is very suspect ha, but a fun scramble, just be careful please. Sky Pond was incredible as well, more so in the feat of reaching in then anything else. Wrapping up the day, I took a detour to Mills Lake. It’s absolutely beautiful, prettiest lake I saw all day (and this trail takes you along many). I would certainly recommend Mills.

hiking
11 months ago

This is a beautiful hike. We finished the entire loop, but stopped to take in the views "too many" times, phone died, no more recording. As previously stated, still quite a bit of snow. Spikes could be helpful toward to upper area. Trax/chains didn't seem to help much for those that had them. Poles were extremely helpful.

hiking
11 months ago

Hard hike. Lots of snow still. Falls is covered in snow. Best if started early before it’s too hot. Took us 5 hours with no snowshoes or stakes. But amazing and totally worth the time.

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