Love this post and wow those pics are amazing! Explore the outdoors in Colorado like a local, not a tourist. Thank you, Kym! At about .8 miles you’ll hike upon Alberta Falls, a 30 foot waterfall that pours into Glacier Creek below. Sky Pond is … While Powell Peak is to the south. There is a lot of uphill climbing and an elevation gain of over 1,800 feet. It is a somewhat famous, classic, technical rock climb. 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. To get to the trailhead, drive west on Hwy 34 out of Loveland for 30 … 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. 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. Although the trail is difficult, it’s certainly managable for the avid hiker. At 4.6 miles into the trail, THIS is Sky Pond. My first visit to Rocky Mountain National Park. Remember that you’ve climbed roughly 1,780 feet in elevation so it will be cooler at the top. Sky Pond is a 9.5-mile hike that gains 1,837 feet in elevation. The crowds dwindle quite a bit in winter (though this is still highly trafficked), and the experience is entirely different during winter months. It has a little bit of everything- scrambling up the side of a waterfall, epic Colorado glacial lakes, and fresh mountain air. Planning a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park? Sky pond is a short quarter mile walk past this which is the ending point of the hike. Stay organized with this easy-to-use hiking planner and checklist for your next hike. 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. The National Park is absolutely gorgeous and worth visiting. Fall here is stunning. I will pin this just in case I ever decide to tear myself away from beach destinations to do a hike! If the lot is full, there are other nearby lots where you can park and start your hike from or snag a shuttle from. Fill out your email below to get exclusive access to the ultimate Colorado packing list! 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. You can easily add on in extension to this hike to see Mills Lake or Andrews Glacier. I visited Denver in September for a long weekend and this was my hike of choice! Most people hike to just see the falls then turn around. If you are afraid of heights this will be where you either turn around or conquer your fears. Of course to hike other trails, but when I visit again I’ll be sure to hike to Sky Pond a second time. The Sky Pond and Lake of Glass hike is a favorite hike for locals. Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to explore virtually every hiking area in the State. 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. 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. Sitting at 10,900 feet you’ll find Sky Pond! I can see why this hike is so popular, it was amazing every step of the way. Working remotely has changed my life and allowed me to experience the places I've been dreaming of. Get the FREE Colorado trip planning checklist and get the inside scoop on hiking, camping, climbing, and more in the great Centennial State. While you're waiting why not follow me on socials? 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. From here, the trail gets steep and travels through Timberline Falls. Depending on what time of year it is you will be scrambling in some water. I’ve listed them in order below! 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. I’m so grateful that he did! Make your way back the way you came to complete this bucket list Colorado hike. Let's strap on our boots and hit the trail! This looks like an awesome trip and a wonderful hike. “The Loch” is the perfect place to post up for a break and hangout while having some snacks. In September my friends and I didn’t experience as much flowing water as ice- so be careful! No matter the season, Rocky Mountain National Park never fails when it comes to epic vista views. Well, the side of it any ways. Simply fill it out and send it along to a trusted friend. Check your inbox for instructions on your FREE hiking checklist. Traction is highly recommended (microspikes or snowshoes). Hiking to Sky Pond. 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. I hope you get to! The best approach is to head for a relatively dry chute of the waterfall, on the right of the main flow. Thank you for sharing. As a resident expert, I’m giving you all the details about the Sky Pond hike. 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). 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. Overview This is a difficult out and back trail to Sky Pond in Rocky Mountain National Park. It’s a long slow uphill hike so be sure to bring plenty of water, snacks, and of course layers. This trail goes by Alberta Falls, The Loch, Timberline Falls, and Lake of Glass. 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. The round-trip hike to Sky Pond is 10 miles and it begins at the Glacier Gorge trailhead. That means if you click on some of the links and purchase something, I get a small kickback at no added cost to you. We immediately noticed how windy it was. You’ll literally be hiking up a gentle waterfall. 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. Included are The Loch and Glass Lake. Sky Pond Colorado is certainly a noteworthy destination. We hope the guide helps you on your hikes and adventures. It’s not uncommon to see climbers using this trail (I used it when I climbed the Petit Grepon). At the beginning of the hike you’ll be trekking under tall pine, following along and crossing a rushing creek. Check your inbox for instructions on your FREE Colorado packing list. I was glad to have brought layers but do wish I had remembered gloves. Sky Pond and Lake of Glass hike Map The Sky Pond Trail is a difficult out-and-back trail in Rocky Mountain National Park. ;). You’ll be wowed by the amazing scenery along this world-class hiking trail. 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. There are a few things to know about visiting Sky Pond Colorado. Length 8.7 miElevation gain 1883 ftRoute type Out & back 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! Sky Pond is known for its shark tooth appearing rocks that surround one side of it. Far up into the alpine lies a lake so beautiful, it’ll take your breath away. The space between the lakes is dotted with ponds, meadows and cascading streams, and worth exploring if time permits. Continue another 0.7 miles until you reach Sky Pond, a beautiful, tranquil lake nestled amongst jagged granite spires. Denver, CO ItineraryLookout Mountain at Windy Saddle ParkTouring Cities on a Budget- 10 Ways to Save. The guide will familiarize you with The Loch, Glass Lake, and Sky Pond Trails. 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. Make your way along the Glacier Gorge Trail for several miles, passing a few marked junctions. Now I get to share them with you! Nestled amongst towering granite spires, Sky Pond, Colorado is an amazing hike in Rocky Mountain National Park. Expect to use your hands in a few spots where the rocks are slick. I visit Rocky Mountain National Park several times a year and know quite a bit about hiking to Sky Pond. Note: This website participates in affiliate marketing. 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. This hike is also a great choice because you don’t have to do the entire trail to get jaw dropping views. Then a little stone path a few steps lead right to it. As one of the most beautiful alpine lakes in Colorado, it’s well worth a visit. You can take one of two trailheads to reach Sky Pond. The end of the trail leading up to Sky Pond is often impassible from November through early June. Once you make it to the lake it is truly an accomplished feeling rewarded with beautiful, glacial blue water. The Glacier Gorge Junction Trailhead is the ideal place to start this hike, since the distance will be the shortest. Sky Pond is about 4.5 miles from the trailhead and sits surrounded by cliffs at about 10,900 feet. Have I convinced you yet? : Distance: 4.9 miles one-way She'd rather be dirty than done up. When we started the trail was quite crowded but really thinned out towards the top. Good, let’s begin. The turquoise blue water and close proximity to high mountains made you feel more enclosed. By continuing to use this website, you consent to the use of cookies in accordance with our Cookie Policy. The hike to Sky Pond begins from the Glacier Gorge Trailhead, which is located on Bear Lake Road. In this guide we’ll cover: Before you hit the trail, it’s important to be prepared. Freelance Writing, Travel, and Life Skills. Hi there! Turn around and retrace your steps back to the trailhead and parking lot or set up camp at one of the three lakes. Here’s everything you need to know to hike the Sky Pond trail. (Psst, perfect if you've just moved to CO too!). These are amazing pictures! The trail is 9.5 miles long and is an out-and-back type trail, meaning you will hike back out the same way you hike in. Start early (before 6am) for the most solitude. You’ll love it ☺️. I highly recommend exploring out onto the little peninsula for a closer, unobstructed view of the lake. So pretty! As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. 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! You’ll want to stick to the far right of Timberline Falls and scramble up the rocks. I’m adding this to my bucket list! Make sure to get a reservation for RMNP and try to go as early as possible to avoid large lines, crowds, and the heat I'm Kara and I travel the U.S. solo with my fury companion, Monty. For more, see the Fox in the Forest Privacy Policy. With lush, green grass and large rocks surrounding you, this is the perfect spot to kick back & relax a while before hiking back down. The hike to Sky Pond will satisfy your wanderlust for the mountains all in one day. It all comes down to what you prefer! Luckily Sky Pond can be reached during all seasons! September offered cooler temperatures, a slight breeze at the lower elevations, and sunny skies. The large tooth-like formation towards the north west corner of the pond is called Sharkstooth. We think it's one of the best hikes in the USA. 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. I sure hope you get to make it to the US and explore this park! 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. 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 Nick Sangetta and Barb Sangetta hike Sky Pond in the Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado on September 12, 2018. A lot of hikers stop here because you can’t see beyond, but don’t! Sky Pond is rated as a difficult hike. Here are a few tips from the hike I want to share that will make your day more enjoyable! The good news is that all trails in Rocky Mountain National Park are well maintained and marked. Keep in mind, this also coincides with the best time to visit Rocky Mountain National Park, so expect crowds on this trail. As always, please be considerate of the environment so we can keep enjoying it and remember to leave no trace. It has a little bit of everything- scrambling up the side of a waterfall, epic Colorado glacial lakes, and fresh mountain air. However, before you go, understand what you’re getting into. Next you’ll find yourself standing below another waterfall- this one roughly 100 feet high (pictured above on the right). Yep, it definitely might be the prettiest place on the … Once you reach the Glacier Gorge and the Loch junction, head towards the Loch (away from Glacier Falls). Either way, don’t forget to turn around and look behind you. 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. The hike to Sky Pond isn’t easy, isn’t incredibly hard either. The rocks are extraordinarily slick from water and hikers so take your time. 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. 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 Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park is one of Brad’s favorites and he wanted to share that special spot with me. The trail is primarily used for hiking and nature trips and is best used from May until September. I love hearing from my community about all the badass adventures. Distance: 9.5 milesType: Out and BackDifficulty: Difficult (Strenuous)Elevation Gain: 1708 ft.Location: Rocky Mountain National Park, COTrailhead: Glacier Gorge Trailhead. The kicker- you have to climb it! Hiking Sky Pond in Winter This is a fantastic winter hiking option. 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! A little ways past The Loch (about a mile or so) you’ll start trending uphill. Plus get bonus local travel tips, gear deals, and more to your inbox once a month! I dream of going back to Rocky Mountain National Park. Therefore, the best time to do the Sky Pond hike is between mid-June through mid-October. 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? 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. It’s less than a half mile to Sky Pond and it’s pretty incredible too. This hike is absolutely beautiful! I’m just another 26 year old solo traveler here living life on her own terms. Sky Pond sits in a cirque of mountains. The parking lot for the trailhead is on Bear Lake Road but is small and can fill up fast. Colorado weather can really change any second, especially in … Of the seemingly infinite hikes to do in Colorado, Sky Pond stands out as one of the best. Mosquitoes seem to be fairly active at Sky Pond. It might be the most beautiful place on Earth. The hike goes over mostly gentle terrain with a few steeper sections, but this part of the Sky Pond trail is generally considered easy. The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, and snowshoeing and is best used from June until October. 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