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The Loch Vale Hike

Larimer County, Colorado

based on 9 reviews



5.53 miles

Elevation Gain

1056 ft

Route Type



Added by Kyle Frost

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

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 'peninsula' (pictured) that is accessed by veering to the left as soon as you reach the lake.

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Stopped here to enjoy lunch on our way up to Sky Pond. The trail is incredible and I highly recommend going all the way up! Plan to spend most of a day doing so, however, it is over 9 miles round trip.

The hike is rather easy and the water is gleaming here, I also love Alberta Falls

Trail was well marked and only crowded in the first mile to Alberta Falls. After that we basically had the trail to ourselves. Still hiked through some snow near the lake but totally manageable and the views were still lovely.

Easy enough for a beginner plus amazing views

The Loch is always a fun hike. Definitely consider hiking around the right side of the lake and checking out either Andrews Canyon or Timberline Falls with Sky Pond beyond.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Leave No Trace

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


Mills Lake via Glacier Gorge Trailhead

The Loch Lake Trail via Glacier Gorge Trail

Sky Pond via Glacier Gorge Trailhead

Green Lake via Glacier Gorge Trail

Alberta Falls Trail

Black Lake Trail