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    This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
    This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
    706 m
    This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
    14.8 km
    This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
    User Ratings
    These ratings are completed by users who have completed this trail and not subject to reviews by 10Adventures.
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    Directions to Trailhead

    Shelf Lake Hike


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    Table of contents

    The Shelf Lake Hike packs a punch! This trail ventures past the infamous Alberta Falls and to alpine lakes that reveal unparalleled vistas of the snow-capped peaks. This scenic adventure demands stamina as you hike high into the alpine environment.

    Route Description for Shelf Lake Hike

    The Shelf Lake Hike is a unique high-country adventure in the Rocky Mountain National Park. As you will be trekking into high elevations, it is important to check the forecast prior to your excursion to mitigate the chances of getting caught in a dangerous afternoon storm. It is also recommended to wear microspikes or snowshoes in the autumn and winter months as the terrain will likely be snow-cloaked and icy. If you plan on venturing this trail, make sure you purchase a park pass!

    Embark on your ambitious alpine adventure from the Glacier Gorge Trailhead. From here, the Shelf Lake Trail follows the Glacier Gorge Trail over the Chaos Creek and to a junction—turn left, following along the path up to Alberta Falls. Then, the crowds will thin as you trek around the base of the Glacier Knobs, keeping left at the next intersection. Ascend the exposed terrain past Glacier Falls and up past Mills and Jewel Lake. Hike past the Glacier Dispersed Campsites and at the next junction, scramble up the steep ridge to Shelf and Solitude Lake.

    From these impressive, shimmering alpine lakes, you will be rewarded a unique perspective of the Rocky Mountain National Park. Revel in the grandeur of the encompassing peaks and when you are ready, retrace your steps along the path all the way back to the trailhead.

    Getting to the Shelf Lake Hike Trailhead

    The Shelf Lake Hike departs from the Glacier Gorge Trailhead off Bear Lake Road.

    Route Information

    • Backcountry Campground:

      Glacier Gorge Designated Dispersed Campsites, view details here

    • When to do:


    • Pets allowed:


    • Family friendly:

      Older Children only

    • Route Signage:


    • Crowd Levels:


    • Route Type:

      Out and back

    Shelf Lake Hike Elevation Graph

    Weather Forecast

    Check Area Weather


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