Hike to Sky Pond

Larimer County, Colorado

4.7/5
based on 9 reviews

Details

Distance

10 miles

Elevation Gain

1780 ft

Route Type

Out-and-Back

Description

Added by Ryan Dewane

Incredible views of Rocky Mountain National Park. Escape all the main crowds below and be in complete solitude. 3 unique and beautiful lakes - The Loch, Glass Lake, and Sky Pond. Camping is available at all 3 lakes if you overnight but it is certainly doable in one day.

Start at the Glacier Gorge trailhead on Bear Lake Road. Parking is limited so it is advised to get there very early. It's a longer hike so plan on taking a full day to complete or stay overnight to enjoy more of the scenery.

Within the first mile on the Glacier Gorge Trail you will pass by Alberta Falls which is a really popular tourist destination. Continue past this to get to the really good stuff and ditch the crowds, looking for and following the junction to Loch Trail. About another 2 miles later you should reach the Loch which is the most scenic and largest lake of the three. You'll find the best campsites here. Continue past Loch Lake and begin a somewhat strenuous climb up to Glass Lake as the Loch Trail turns into Sky Pond Lake Trail. At the last point before you reach Glass Lake a bit of scrambling is involved up some rocks which can be dangerous in icy conditions - step carefully and you will be fine. Sky pond is a short quarter mile walk past this which is the ending point of the hike. Turn around and retrace your steps back to the trailhead and parking lot or set up camp at one of the three lakes.

To get to the trailhead, drive west on Hwy 34 out of Loveland for 30 miles until you reach Hwy 36 where you'll make a left. Drive about 4 miles on Hwy 36, make a final left onto Bear Lake Rd and follow about 8 miles all the way to the Glacier Gorge traihead.

If you need a place to refuel after the hike, head back to Loveland on the 34 and hit up Big Beaver Brewery.

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Features

Camping
Photography
Backpacking
Hiking
Forest
Lake
River
Scenic
Waterfall

Reviews

This was our favorite hike during our trip to RMNP. We arrived to the trailhead early enough that the hike up to Sky Pond was generally clear, but the hike back down was pretty crowded. Note, when you arrive at the "top" make sure you are actually at Sky Pond and not just at the Lake of Glass! Sky Pond is just a bit further up the trail from Lake of Glass. Its a bit over 9 miles long round trip and by the end we were all quite exhausted, but my wife and I at least had the excuse of being out of shape and still adjusting to the elevation. We'll for sure come back some day!

As beautiful as the park gets, also one of the most crowded hiking routes in the entire park.

Absolutely gorgeous- both en route and at sky pond

Always loved this hike. If the light is good, try scrambling to the left a short distance for some photography when you get to Timberline Falls.

This hike will leave you breathless for 2 reasons. The altitude and the views. If you choose to do this hike you will not be disappointed. Its one of the best in the RMNP.

Oh wow, I don't have enough good things to say about this one! I did it for sunrise twice this past summer, and each time, watching the sun come up over the alpine lakes and Rockies was even better than the last. This trailhead area is VERY popular, but once you get past the falls around the first mile, you also get past the crowds. Love everything about it!

This was an adventure I will never forget. The hike to the first lake Loch, was just outstanding. You follow the creek all the way up and it is just beautiful. Then once you get to the lake you can see the falls which you are about to scale if you plan on going to Sky Pond and Lake of Glass. The hike to the falls was more than expected. You have to climb many many rock stairs then you finally get to the falls. These falls are about fifteen feet tall and look intimidating but actually wasn't as hard as expected. It was a thrill to climb them and then see Lake of Glass. Then just a small hike away is Sky Pond, this was just breath taking. I would recommend bringing a jacket because it was rainy and very chilly when I went up there. This is a 10/10, would recommend doing this hike.

This hike was well worth it! The trail was fairly busy up to the waterfall before Sky pond lake, but pretty quiet once at the end. We parked at the car park as opposed to the trailhead after hearing reviews. We took a free 15 minute shuttle to the trailhead from there. The buses came quite frequently, roughly every 8 minutes, so despite there being a cue we only waited 10-15 minutes to get on. The car park was already full by 9am and we were told to park on the perimeter on the pavement. Don't park on the grass, the ranger told us that could get us a ticket. The views kept getting better each turn. This is definitely a must do hike if you're in RMNP!

Aside from the views, I think the best thing about this hike is the amount of solitude one gets when hiking it. Many hikes in RMNP have you hiking with numerous tourists, but not so much this one. I started this hike around 6 AM on a late July morning and I don't think I encountered 10 people on my way once I was past The Loch. As you approach the last part before seeing Glass Lake/Sky Pond, you have to climb up Timerline Falls (100 ft. waterfall). Stay to the right of the falls and the rock scrambling isn't too hard....just the initial few steps. Once you have conquered Timberline, you'll come upon Glass Lake and then finally Sky Pond. Be aware, it is super (I mean super) windy up there. So worth the trek though!

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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