Glass Lake and Sky Pond, Glacier Gorge Trailhead, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
Glass Lake and Sky Pond - 9.0 miles
Glacier Gorge Trailhead
|Round-Trip Length:||9.0 miles (4.15 miles to Glass Lake : 4.5 miles to Sky Pond)|
|Start-End Elevation:||9,210' - 10,808' (Glass Lake) : 10,887' (Sky Pond)|
|Elevation Change:||+1,677' net elevation gain to Sky Pond (10,906' max elevation)|
Glass Lake and Sky Pond - 9.0 Miles Round-Trip
Glass Lake and Sky Pond are located 4.15 and 4.5 miles from Glacier Gorge Trailhead in Rocky Mountain National Park. The lakes sit just above Timberline Falls in a deep valley capped by Taylor Glacier, Taylor Peak (13,153'), Powell Peak (13,208') and The Sharkstooth (12,630').
Visitors will enjoy a stop at Alberta Falls, The Loch and a challenging scramble up Timberline Falls on the hike to Glass Lake and Sky Pond:
The Loch Vale Trail rises over Glacier Creek through young aspen and mixed pine to Alberta Falls (.85 miles : 9,423'). A moderate climb continues to the North Longs Peak Trail split (1.6 miles : 9,768'), where it banks southwest and levels through a gap between Thatchtop Mountain (12,668') and the Glacier Knobs.
The trail drops to Glacier Junction (2.1 miles : 9,804'), a point marking the convergence of two glacial valleys with access to some of Rocky Mountain's most renowned destinations.
Follow signs to The Loch. Travel eases over Icy Brook, then steepens away on switchbacks in a thick forest (2.5 miles : 9,985'). The valley opens upon reaching The Loch (2.95 miles : 10,192'), where the main trail veers right up its north shore.
The trail hugs the shore before re-entering a dark, stream-crossed forest on the Loch's west side (3.3 miles : 10,215'). Fishing is notably good on slow moving sections of the inlet.
Travel moderates to a pair of footbridges spanning Andrews Creek at the Sky Pond Trail - Andrews Glacier Trail split (3.65 miles : 10,379').
It steepens considerably in a thinning forest to the base of Timberline Falls (4.0 miles : 10,642'), a misty cascade that drops sharply from the edge of Glass Lake.
Here you'll begin a short but demanding climb up the north side of the falls. Though not technical, only confident hikers should attempt this.
The trail is not marked but the path is quite intuitive (there's essentially only one way to go). Heavy run-off or lingering snow can make the climb treacherous - exercise caution. Groups should allow space between individuals.
The trail abruptly crests atop the falls and levels in open alpine to Glass Lake (4.15 miles : 10,808'). Glass Lake features an emerald green hue and large, populous trout. Views back down valley are exceptional from the lake's north shore.
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').
The space between the lakes is dotted with ponds, meadows and cascading streams, and worth exploring if time permits.
Sky Pond, which is actually quite larger than Glass Lake, fills a rocky bowl encased by Taylor Glacier, Taylor Peak, the Sharkstooth and the Gash. Sky Pond's outlet can be safely crossed to find some of the best views over the two lakes.
Interactive GPS Topo MapKey GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84
- N40 18.621 W105 38.424 — 0.0 miles : Glacier Gorge Trailhead
- N40 18.237 W105 38.289 — .85 miles : Alberta Falls
- N40 17.982 W105 38.391 — 1.6 miles : North Longs Peak Trail junction
- N40 17.842 W105 38.757 — 2.1 miles : Glacier Gorge Junction
- N40 17.664 W105 39.049 — 2.5 miles : Begin final switchbacks to reach The Loc
- N40 17.639 W105 39.270 — 2.95 miles : The Loch
- N40 17.482 W105 39.546 — 3.25 miles : End of Loch, enter thick forest
- N40 17.278 W105 39.856 — 3.65 miles : Andrews Glacier Trail junction
- N40 17.002 W105 39.925 — 4.0 miles : Begin steep climb up Timberline Falls
- N40 16.950 W105 39.903 — 4.15 miles : Glass Lake
- N40 16.730 W105 40.069 — 4.5 miles : Sky Pond
- The scramble up and down Timberline Falls can be hazardous, especially with lingering snow or moisture. Always begin your descent before storms develop. Consult the Park for trail conditions in advance.
- Fishing is notably good at the Loch, at the Loch's inlet along Icy Brook, and at Glass Lake.
- The Sharkstooth - part of the valley wall encasing both lakes - is named so for the multiple needle-like rock spires that resemble a row of shark's teeth.
Camping and Backpacking Information
Andrews Creek Backcountry Campsite is the only official backcountry site between the Glacier Gorge Trailhead and Sky Pond. It's located along Andrews Creek, approximately .9 miles beyond The Loch.
Andrews Creek Campground
- Andrews Creek Backcountry Campsite is the only official backcountry site between the Glacier Gorge Trailhead and Sky Pond. It's located along Andrews Creek, approximately .9 miles beyond The Loch.
- There is only one designated site and one privy at the Andrews Creek Campsite. A maximum of two 4-person tents are allowed.
- The site is located at 10,560' in a spruce-fir stand adjacent to avalanche debris on the east side of Andrews Creek, about 0.2 miles from the Sky Pond - Andrews Glacier junction (3.8 miles from the Glacier Gorge Trailhead).
- Near the site is a large area of trees downed by an avalanche in the winter of 1985-86. A wood sign indicates the path to the site from the Andrews Glacier Trail; the path is faint but supported by red arrowheads on trees. Pitch tent(s) as close to the indicated site as possible, safely away from standing dead trees.
Rules and Regulations
- A $20 Day Use Fee is required to enter Rocky Mountain National Park (or $30 for a 7 Day Pass).
- Dogs are not permitted on hiking trails in Rocky Mountain National Park.
Directions to Trailhead
The Glacier Gorge Trailhead is located 8.4 miles from the Beaver Meadows Entrance Station on Bear Lake Road.
Just beyond the Beaver Meadows entrance station, turn left onto Bear Lake Road. The Glacier Gorge Trailhead is located on the left side of the road and has limited parking. Additional parking and alternative access can be found at the Bear Lake Trailhead. This will add an additional 1 mile roundtrip to the hike.
Rocky Mountain National Park
1000 Highway 36
Estes Park, CO 80517-8397