I will pin this just in case I ever decide to tear myself away from beach destinations to do a hike! Roughly 2 miles later you’ll find yourself hiking around Loch Vale (photo above on the left), the first lake of three on this hike. Once you make it to the lake it is truly an accomplished feeling rewarded with beautiful, glacial blue water. The hike to Sky Pond starts near Bear Lake. Check out the following details about the Sky Pond trail that you’ll need to know: Local Tip: For the 2020 year, you need to make advanced reservations to visit Rocky Mountain National Park. Most people hike to just see the falls then turn around. The Rocky Mountains and this hike will definitely be on my bucket list now – I’m from the UK and love the US so love finding new places to visit over there 🙂, Thank you, Cathers! Trail Description: The hike to Sky Pond in Rocky Mountain National Park begins from the Glacier Gorge Trailhead, located on Bear Lake Road almost 8 miles from the turn-off at Highway 36. Explore the outdoors in Colorado like a local, not a tourist. Overview This is a difficult out and back trail to Sky Pond in Rocky Mountain National Park. Stay organized with this easy-to-use hiking planner and checklist for your next hike. I visited Denver in September for a long weekend and this was my hike of choice! The trail - rugged and indistinguishable at times - continues up the west side of Glass Lake through krummholz and talus to Sky Pond (4.5 miles : 10,887'). This hike did that for me. Let's strap on our boots and hit the trail! Although the trail is difficult, it’s certainly managable for the avid hiker. By continuing to use this website, you consent to the use of cookies in accordance with our Cookie Policy. Sky Pond is a 9.5-mile hike that gains 1,837 feet in elevation. These spires (mostly on the right) are home to some of Colorado’s most famous rock climbing. best hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park, advanced reservations to visit Rocky Mountain National Park, best time to visit Rocky Mountain National Park, things to do in Rocky Mountain National Park, The Complete Guide to Visiting Rocky Mountain National Park Like a Local, 21 Incredible Road Trip Stops in Colorado You Can’t Miss, 10 of the Most Scenic Backpacking Loops in Colorado, Practical information about the Sky Pond Trail, Additional Rocky Mountain National Park trip planning resources, Drive Trail Ridge Road or the Peak-to-Peak Highway, one of the, Spend time shopping and dining in Estes Park, Smokin’ Daves BBQ and Brew (BBQ and beer), Notchtop Bakery and Cafe (brunch, breakfast, coffee). As always, please be considerate of the environment so we can keep enjoying it and remember to leave no trace. The National Park is absolutely gorgeous and worth visiting. You know those adventures that go spectacularly, end up being better than you could have ever expected, and leave you on an adventure high afterwards? The trailhead is at Glacier Gorge near Bear Lake, one of the most popular so arrive early or use the shuttle. The hike goes over mostly gentle terrain with a few steeper sections, but this part of the Sky Pond trail is generally considered easy. Make your way back the way you came to complete this bucket list Colorado hike. Expect to use your hands in a few spots where the rocks are slick. From here, the trail gets steep and travels through Timberline Falls. To the north the spires of Sharkstooth, Petit Grepon, and the Saber dominate the sky. Bear Lake to Sky Pond via Glacier Gorge Trail is a 8.7 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Estes Park, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as difficult. It’s a long slow uphill hike so be sure to bring plenty of water, snacks, and of course layers. You can continue to enjoy the park after your hike. You’ll love it ☺️. Have I convinced you yet? Fall here is stunning. Get the FREE Colorado trip planning checklist and get the inside scoop on hiking, camping, climbing, and more in the great Centennial State. As one of the best hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park, you’ll want to enjoy this gem early in the morning to beat the crowds. In September my friends and I didn’t experience as much flowing water as ice- so be careful! Yep, it definitely might be the prettiest place on the … Hiking Sky Pond in Winter This is a fantastic winter hiking option. Length 8.7 miElevation gain 1883 ftRoute type Out & back Sky Pond Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park is one of Brad’s favorites and he wanted to share that special spot with me. : Distance: 4.9 miles one-way Sky Pond is known for its shark tooth appearing rocks that surround one side of it. Love this post and wow those pics are amazing! You can easily add on in extension to this hike to see Mills Lake or Andrews Glacier. Now I get to share them with you! Thank you for sharing. There is a lot of uphill climbing and an elevation gain of over 1,800 feet. Her mission is to get you out on your greatest adventure. First, the only way in and out is via the Glacier Gorge Trail. Make your way along the Glacier Gorge Trail for several miles, passing a few marked junctions. Sky Pond is 4.9 mi/7.9 km from the Glacier Gorge trailhead with an elevation gain of 1650 ft/503 m. The trail passes by Alberta Falls and the Loch before climbing up Timberline Line to reach the Lake... Read all 98reviews Planning a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park? Good, let’s begin. Scramble to the top, the steepness and wetness making it a challenge. This hike is absolutely beautiful! Luckily Sky Pond can be reached during all seasons! It is up to you to decide what you want to put up with. I'm Kara and I travel the U.S. solo with my fury companion, Monty. Like all National Parks, there is an entry fee. I highly recommend exploring out onto the little peninsula for a closer, unobstructed view of the lake. ;). Sky Pond is rated as a difficult hike. I visit Rocky Mountain National Park several times a year and know quite a bit about hiking to Sky Pond. To get to the trailhead, drive west on Hwy 34 out of Loveland for 30 … Distance: 9.5 milesType: Out and BackDifficulty: Difficult (Strenuous)Elevation Gain: 1708 ft.Location: Rocky Mountain National Park, COTrailhead: Glacier Gorge Trailhead. Sky Pond via Glacier Gorge Trail is a 8.5 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Estes Park, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as difficult. Of the seemingly infinite hikes to do in Colorado, Sky Pond stands out as one of the best. You’ll see the mighty peaks in the distance, this is your destination. Sky Pond in Rocky Mountain National Park Situated above Timberline Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park are two spectacular lakes. You can take one of two trailheads to reach Sky Pond. Sky Pond sits in a cirque of mountains. Included are The Loch and Glass Lake. However, before you go, understand what you’re getting into. You’ll work up an apeptite on your Sky Pond hike, so be sure to check out one of these local eateries in Estes Park: Have the perfect day along the Sky Pond trail, complete with beautiful mountain vistas and an excellent physical challenge. Charlie’s Bunion- Smoky Mountain National Park, When to Hike Rocky Mountain National Park, Utah Canyoneering Tour Near Zion National Park, Hike to Kendrick Peak Lookout in Flagstaff, AZ, Know the Shuttle times and route beforehand. The best trail to hike between June to September is Sky Pond via Glacier Gorge Trail that offers many activities. It’s less than a half mile to Sky Pond and it’s pretty incredible too. Hiking to Sky Pond. Pro Tip: If you plan on visiting a National Park within the U.S. more than 2x a year it would be worth your money to purchase the annual pass. Hiking Guide To The Sky Pond Lake Trail In The Rocky Mountain National Park- How to get to the best lake hike in the Rocky Mountain National Park. Travel like a local, not a tourist! Well, the side of it any ways. The Glacier Gorge Junction Trailhead is the ideal place to start this hike, since the distance will be the shortest. Therefore, the best time to do the Sky Pond hike is between mid-June through mid-October. At 4.6 miles into the trail, THIS is Sky Pond. Local tip: Hiking is popular this year, expect to see a full parking lot on weekends by 5:30 am. If you only have time for one hike within the Rocky Mountain National Park, I HIGHLY suggest hiking to Sky Pond. Pass the Loch on the north (don’t forget to stop for photos). Hike Profiles for Rocky Mountain National Park and Surrounding Areas: Sky Pond The hike to Sky Pond passes several lakes and waterfalls as it leads through Loch Vale to a shelf below Taylor Glacier and Taylor Peak. Get a beautiful glimpse of Rocky Mountain National Park on this fun, yet challenging hike that takes you by stunning lakes and to a waterfall and two beautiful hidden lakes! During this time there is a lot of ice and travel over avalanche territory is required, making it a serious endevour that is often very unsafe. As a resident expert, I’m giving you all the details about the Sky Pond hike. To get to the trailhead, you will drive Bear Lake Road almost to the very end. The lake has an elevation gain of 1,765 feet and its total distance is 8.1 miles. But before you go, keep these quick Colorado hiking tips in mind: There are plenty of awesome things to do in Rocky Mountain National Park. This is one of the best day hikes in the park, but remember, if you aren’t able to hike the entire trail, there are several destinations along the way that will satisfy you before you turn around. You’ll want to stick to the far right of Timberline Falls and scramble up the rocks. Fill out your email below to get exclusive access to the ultimate Colorado packing list! The Sky Pond and Lake of Glass hike is a favorite hike for locals. I love hearing from my community about all the badass adventures. We immediately noticed how windy it was. The kicker- you have to climb it! While you're waiting why not follow me on socials? I’ve listed them in order below! With lush, green grass and large rocks surrounding you, this is the perfect spot to kick back & relax a while before hiking back down. Sky Pond: One of the Best Hikes in Rocky Mountain NP; Best Things to do in Canyonlands: Island in the Sky District; Hike the Blahnúkúr Brennisteinsalda Loop, Landmannalaugar, Iceland; Kjeragbolten: Our Favorite Hike in Norway It is a somewhat famous, classic, technical rock climb. As a local Coloradan and full-time freelance writer, I know quite a bit about hiking throughout Colorado. Of course to hike other trails, but when I visit again I’ll be sure to hike to Sky Pond a second time. The round-trip hike to Sky Pond is 10 miles and it begins at the Glacier Gorge trailhead. There are a few things to know about visiting Sky Pond Colorado. Hiked with my brother and friend to Sky Pond from the Bear Lake Trailhead on September 2, 2017. Keep in mind, this also coincides with the best time to visit Rocky Mountain National Park, so expect crowds on this trail. Therefore, the best time to do the Sky Pond hike is between mid-June through mid-October. We hope the guide helps you on your hikes and adventures. This looks like an awesome trip and a wonderful hike. There are several distinct destinations along the way that would be good turn around points if you’re short on time, making it the perfect day hike. The large tooth-like formation towards the north west corner of the pond is called Sharkstooth. The parking lot for the trailhead is on Bear Lake Road but is small and can fill up fast. My first visit to Rocky Mountain National Park. The Sky Pond Trail is a difficult out-and-back trail in Rocky Mountain National Park. The avid hikers will continue on to Sky Pond so you’re likely to lose a lot of the crowd after this point. This trail goes by Alberta Falls, The Loch, Timberline Falls, and Lake of Glass. Come early or expect to wait. 😍. Headlamp hiking for the first hour of the trail; This hike can be started from two different trail heads in the park, Bear Lake Trailhead or Glacier Gorge Junction Trailhead. I’m so grateful that he did! 2 waterfalls and 3 lakes. I’d say fall and spring are the best times to visit, however winter would be way less crowded and provide a different experience. Nick Sangetta and Barb Sangetta hike Sky Pond in the Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado on September 12, 2018. The trail crews did some amazing work on the path to Sky Pond. The hike to Sky Pond begins at the Glacier Gorge Trailhead within Rocky Mountain National Park. This packing list includes separate checklists for camping, hiking, backpacking, winter travel, and trip details. Eventually, you’ll reach a beautiful lake, the Lake of Glass. Dare I say more?! Expect it to be packed during the summer months. I dream of going back to Rocky Mountain National Park. Freelance Writing, Travel, and Life Skills. Thank you, Kym! The hike to Sky Pond will satisfy your wanderlust for the mountains all in one day. Far up into the alpine lies a lake so beautiful, it’ll take your breath away. So pretty! Sitting at 10,900 feet you’ll find Sky Pond! Cathedral Peaks from Sky Pond The Trail Guide to The Loch, Glass Lake, and Sky Pond includes trail descriptions, photographs of the trails, comments from our hikes, mileage data, custom topo map, and the routes tracklog on a geo-pdf map. Then a little stone path a few steps lead right to it. I’ve got you covered with these local resources. It has a little bit of everything- scrambling up the side of a waterfall, epic Colorado glacial lakes, and fresh mountain air. Hi there! Keep in mind, this also coincides with the best time to visit Rocky Mountain National Park, so expect crowds on this trail. Fill out your email below for your exclusive hiking freebie, access to bonus hiking tips, and insider knowledge on the best hiking destination around the world. For more, see the Fox in the Forest Privacy Policy. Now you're ready to travel like a local, not a tourist. Working remotely has changed my life and allowed me to experience the places I've been dreaming of. Keep going for Sky Pond is not much further and is the final destination. Here’s everything you need to know to hike the Sky Pond trail. Climbers are often seen (or heard) on Petit. It’s not uncommon to see climbers using this trail (I used it when I climbed the Petit Grepon). Due to the extreme popularity of the Bear Lake Road area you may want to consider using the free park shuttle to access the trailhead during peak tourist season. Trail Review: Rating: Moderate Distance (Round trip): 9.2 miles Elevation Gain: 1,660 ft. Beginning at the Glacier Gorge Trailhead, Sky Pond is the final stop on the trail which passes Alberta Falls, Loch Vale, Timberline Falls, and Lake of Glass. If you manage to get above Timberline Falls, you’ll soon hike upon Lake of Glass which as a matter of fact was named accordingly. This hike is also a great choice because you don’t have to do the entire trail to get jaw dropping views. Depending on what time of year it is you will be scrambling in some water. Together we embrace the nomad lifestyle for it has allowed us to live our life the way we want by traveling and hiking the places we’ve dreamed of! Why, you may ask? If the lot is full, there are other nearby lots where you can park and start your hike from or snag a shuttle from. Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to explore virtually every hiking area in the State. Sky Pond is … Meg aka Fox is a 30-something who's born to explore. The hike to Sky Pond is one of the most famous and best rated hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park. Then there isn’t really a set trail to Sky Pond, but just head past Lake of Glass along the right side and you’ll start to see somewhat of a trail. A little ways past The Loch (about a mile or so) you’ll start trending uphill. As one of the most beautiful alpine lakes in Colorado, it’s well worth a visit. Complete with planning info, hiking packing list, emergency contact and more! The space between the lakes is dotted with ponds, meadows and cascading streams, and worth exploring if time permits. Plus get bonus local travel tips, gear deals, and more to your inbox once a month! I can see why this hike is so popular, it was amazing every step of the way. At about .8 miles you’ll hike upon Alberta Falls, a 30 foot waterfall that pours into Glacier Creek below. If you are afraid of heights this will be where you either turn around or conquer your fears. Sky Pond was my favorite hike in Rocky Mountain National Park. Continue another 0.7 miles until you reach Sky Pond, a beautiful, tranquil lake nestled amongst jagged granite spires. We think it's one of the best hikes in the USA. It might be the most beautiful place on Earth. A lot of hikers stop here because you can’t see beyond, but don’t! Remember that you’ve climbed roughly 1,780 feet in elevation so it will be cooler at the top. If you’re not an early riser or lucky enough to snag a parking space you can park at the shuttle parking lot and the shuttle will drop you off! “The Loch” is the perfect place to post up for a break and hangout while having some snacks. Get organized with local advice on what to pack for your awesome Colorado adventure. The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, and snowshoeing and is best used from June until October. Nestled amongst towering granite spires, Sky Pond, Colorado is an amazing hike in Rocky Mountain National Park. Sky Pond is about 4.5 miles from the trailhead and sits surrounded by cliffs at about 10,900 feet. I can tell just from your pictures that this hike is scenic! The turquoise blue water and close proximity to high mountains made you feel more enclosed. The rocks are extraordinarily slick from water and hikers so take your time. Colorado weather can really change any second, especially in … Sky Pond Colorado is certainly a noteworthy destination. Turn around and retrace your steps back to the trailhead and parking lot or set up camp at one of the three lakes. The hike to Sky Pond isn’t easy, isn’t incredibly hard either. To reach the alpine lakes, Sky Pond and Lake of Glass, you must climb up the side of the falls, which lies at the 4 mile mark. Keep in mind, once this parking lot is full, you’ll need to either park nearly a half mile down the road (adding a total of one mile to your journey) or you’ll have to take the park shuttle. She'd rather be dirty than done up. Our advice is to arrive early so that you can snatch a coveted parking spot at this lot because it does tend to fill up quickly. Sky Pond takes you to many different sights in the Rocky Mountain National Park, Alberta Falls, Loch Lake, Timberland Falls, Glass Lake and finally Sky Pond. In this guide we’ll cover: Before you hit the trail, it’s important to be prepared. Sky pond is a short quarter mile walk past this which is the ending point of the hike. Make sure to get a reservation for RMNP and try to go as early as possible to avoid large lines, crowds, and the heat The guide will familiarize you with The Loch, Glass Lake, and Sky Pond Trails. I sure hope you get to make it to the US and explore this park! As an absolute outdoor PRO (seriously, I get paid to write about the outdoors) and Colorado local of over 12 years, you've found the best outdoor blog on the internet. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. We knew the parking lot was small from our last trip so we arrived early (at around 9:30am) and were able to snag one of the last remaining spots. This uber-iconic challenging hike isn’t just one of the best hikes near Estes Park, but it’s one of the top national park hikes too. Be sure to take it all in- it is a peaceful start! Note: This website participates in affiliate marketing. Denver, CO ItineraryLookout Mountain at Windy Saddle ParkTouring Cities on a Budget- 10 Ways to Save. Hiking all the way to Sky Pond is definitely a difficult hike for most people because of the length and the climb up Timberline Falls. Lake of Glass was the most impressive lake in my opinion. Notice how clear the water is in the picture below. The hike to Sky Pond will satisfy your wanderlust for the mountains all in one day. Start early (before 6am) for the most solitude. The varied views, including of several alpine lakes, and the vistas you see on this trail showcase some of the best that Rocky Mountain National Park has to offer. If you’re looking for a high-altitude challenge offering everything from lakes, waterfalls, and jaw-dropping peaks, then Sky Pond belongs on your bucket list. These are amazing pictures! The best approach is to head for a relatively dry chute of the waterfall, on the right of the main flow. I work from my laptop and travel all across the U.S. with my German Shepard, Monty. Next you’ll find yourself standing below another waterfall- this one roughly 100 feet high (pictured above on the right). The crowds dwindle quite a bit in winter (though this is still highly trafficked), and the experience is entirely different during winter months. Mosquitoes seem to be fairly active at Sky Pond. This is a definite must on my list for the next time we plan to travel. This hike is also a great choice because you don’t have to do the entire trail to get jaw dropping views. Sit down for a while and enjoy the view. Water, snacks, and more hike ’ s a long slow uphill hike so be sure take! Heights this will be the shortest lot of uphill climbing and an elevation gain of 1,800! Highest of the Lake of Glass 1,837 feet in elevation an awesome trip and wonderful. Short quarter mile walk past this which is the ending point of the to... 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