The Loch Vale Hike

Colorado Glacier Gorge Trailhead

Added by Kyle Frost

This relatively short hike in Rocky Mountain National Park rewards hikers with a spectacular lake and alpine backdrop. Fantastic spot at sunrise!

  • 6 miles roundtrip
  • 1000ft elevation gain

The trail starts at the Glacier Gorge trailhead along the road to Bear Lake. After hiking for just under a mile, you'll pass Alberta Falls and continue up the trail through the gorge. At about 2 miles you'll reach a clear junction, with trails towards Mills Lake, Lake Haiyaha, and The Loch. Take the Loch trail and climb up through some switchbacks until arriving at the lake.

The main trail continues to the right, but make your way to wherever you feel is the best vantage point of the lake, the views are wonderful. There's a small 'penninsula' (pictured) that is accessed by veering to the left as soon as you reach the lake.

Pack List

  • Water
  • Camera
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Skill Level:



Spring, Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:



6 Miles

Elev. Gain:

1000 Feet




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How to Get There

12 days ago

A great hike to a beautiful Lake

I have hiked to this lake once and snowshoed as well. It is one of my favorite in Rocky Mountain National Park. Truly stunning views. Both times it was fairly windy and cold but totally worth it. You can go on and hike to many other nearby lakes and points of interest such as Mills Lake.

12 days ago

18 days ago

Beautiful Lake

We included Loch Vale as part of a longer loop hike, which featured 5 other alpine lakes (Bear, Dream, Nymph, Emerald, and Haiyaha). Of the 6, this one was my favorite. Even though it felt more secluded than the others, it was still busy with lots of other hikers. Regardless, a worthy hike if you're in Rocky Mountain National Park.

18 days ago

about 1 year ago

We attempted to hike to sky pond in early June. there ended up being too much snow and we didn't have the proper gear. However, we made it to the Loch which made up for the disappointment. Absolutely beautiful lake.

about 1 year ago

about 1 year ago

Breathtaking Views

I started my adventure from Bear Lake trail head, which added a few more miles, but those added miles added the views of Bear Lake, Nymph Lake, Emerald Lake and Dream Lake. All of them are spectacular in their own way. However, The Loch was the best of the bunch, definitely worth the hike to get there, we set up a small camp at the edge of the lake and had lunch there. We went on a week day and it was very secluded. We didn't run into many people and we never wanted to leave because of the views we had. The water was clear, plenty of trout swimming around and the hike to get to the Loch was a challenge for me as I am from Florida and no experience in Elevation but it was doable and I feel the intermediate label was accurate. Thanks for sharing this adventure and helping me and my future wife see some of the best views we have seen in our life.

about 1 year ago

Added by Kyle Frost

Designer and Adventure Photographer based in Boulder, Colorado. Fan of mountains, coffee, beer, and witty banter. Available for commissions and collaborations. I'm @kylefrost pretty much everywhere.

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