Panoramic views on Sky Pond and Lake of Glass hike in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
Panoramic views on Sky Pond and Lake of Glass hike in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Sky Pond and Lake of Glass hike

Rocky Mountain National Park
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River crossing on the Sky Pond and Lake of Glass Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park, ColoradoNotch on the Sky Pond and Lake of Glass Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park, ColoradoSky Pond and Lake of Glass Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park, ColoradoBeginning of the Sky Pond and Lake of Glass Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park, ColoradoLooking back at the Glass Lake on the Sky Pond and Lake of Glass Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park, ColoradoThe Loch on the Sky Pond and Lake of Glass Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park, ColoradoWaterfall on the Sky Pond and Lake of Glass Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park, ColoradoGlass Lake on the Sky Pond and Lake of Glass Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park, ColoradoSky Pond on the Sky Pond and Lake of Glass Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park, ColoradoAlberta Falls from the Sky Pond and Lake of Glass Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park, ColoradoViews from Sky Pond and Lake of Glass hike in Rocky Mountain National Park, ColoradoSnow on Sky Pond and Lake of Glass hike in Rocky Mountain National Park, ColoradoHiker on Sky Pond and Lake of Glass hike in Rocky Mountain National Park, ColoradoSky Pond and Lake of Glass hike in Rocky Mountain National Park has beautiful views from the topBeautiful lake on Sky Pond and Lake of Glass hike in Rocky Mountain National Park, ColoradoViews from the top on Sky Pond and Lake of Glass hike in Rocky Mountain National Park, ColoradoShark teeth on Sky Pond and Lake of Glass hike in Rocky Mountain National Park, ColoradoBlue water on Sky Pond and Lake of Glass hike in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Sky Pond and Lake of Glass hike

Distance: 8.5mi
Elevation: 1,726ft
Time: 4-5.5h

Difficulty Rating:

User Ratings:
9.8 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty

The Sky Pond and Lake of Glass hike is a favorite hike for locals. Get a beautiful glimpse of Rocky Mountain National Park on this fun, yet challenging hike that takes you by stunning lakes and to a waterfall and two beautiful hidden lakes! We think it's one of the best hikes in the USA.

Sky Pond and Lake of Glass hike Map

Getting there

From Estes Park, take highway 36 west and enter RMNP at the Beaver Meadows Entrance Station. Just after the pay station, turn left on Bear Lake Road. Follow the road for 8.5mi to the Glacier Gorge Trailhead. This is a heavily used area and it’s often easier to park at the shuttle lot (4.0mi before the trail head) and take the bus to the trailhead.

I’ve done this 65 people have done this
I want to do this 94 want to do this route

About

When to do

April to September

Backcountry Campsites

No

Toilets

In parking lot

Family friendly

Yes

Route Signage

Average

Crowd Levels

Extreme

Route Type

Out and back


Sky Pond and Lake of Glass
Elevation Graph


Route Description for Sky Pond and Lake of Glass

The hike up to Sky Pond is popular for a reason. It’s stunning. This hike goes past The Loch, Lake of Glass and Sky Pond, on the way passing the beautiful Timberline Falls. Get there early if you don’t want to hike with crowds.

From the Glacier Gorge trailhead, head southwest. You’ll walk for about a 0.3mi before getting to the first intersection. Stay on the main trail, staying to the right and then make a left at the next intersection that shortly follows, following the signs for Alberta Falls. The trail gradually climbs until Alberta falls, which you’ll reach after 0.8mi.

After hiking 1.5mi, you’ll reach the Mills Lake intersection. Stay right, still following signs for the Loch. You’ll come around the corner and the trail opens up into a clearing where you’ll see Notch Top straight ahead, on the left side of the trail.

After a short descent back into the woods, you’ll see a three-trail split. Follow the trail that is in the middle, signs will read to the Loch and Sky Pond.

You’ll reach The Loch 2.8mi into your hike. This large lake offers reflective views of the surrounding peaks as you follow the trail through the surrounding woods as it skirts to the right of the lake.

Once you exit the woods, the trail gets significantly more difficult and steep. Follow the rock steps as they climb closer to Timberline Falls. After you reach the falls, you can follow the stone step way to the left over the water to get a good view right in front of the falls.

To follow the trail up to Sky Pond, stay to the right and you’ll see the signs pointing up for Sky Pond. The waterfall climb is relatively easy for experienced scramblers, but may be terrifying if this is your first time. Take care and assess if you’re comfortable doing this, and don’t be afraid to turn back. It’s always harder going down then up! This can also be challenging if it is wet or icy.

If you continue up, carefully place your feet on the ledges and use the plenty of hand holds available. Just three moves will get you to the top. Follow the worn trail for a short climb and you’ll see Lake of Glass come into view.

After the Lake of Glass, look for the cairns on the rocks to the right of the lake. After the boulders, the trail is easy to find and see following the stream. It is just a little over a 0.3mi and you’ll reach Sky Pond nestled in the base of the cliffs. There’s usually snow in the grooves of the cliffs to create a beautiful view. On a calm weather day, you can see reflections of the sky in the lake’s water. This is a wonderful place to take a break. If you started at dawn, then you can enjoy some serenity before the mass of day hikers start to arrive to this wonderful place.

To get back to the trailhead, retrace the path you came on, back to your car.

Want to find more amazing hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park? Check out Chasm Lake hike or Lake Haiyaha hike.

Insider Hints

  • If you’re uncomfortable climbing the waterfall, the hike to the base of the falls is still worth it for views looking back, out into the valley.

  • Start early, as this hike can get very busy.

  • This hike deserves a celebration! Stop at Smokin’ Dave’s BBQ for some great BBQ.

Comments

TwoBoots 1 year ago

Stunning! We enjoyed the views, the waterfalls, the wildlife, the weather, and the greenery.

10.0 Overall Rating
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MissGiggles 1 year ago

I enjoyed this so much! Beautiful views! very adventurous towards the end. Such a pain coming back, but totally worth it.

9.0 Overall Rating
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Physical Difficulty
5h 00m Time Taken
BoulderBound 1 year ago

This hike was amazing. Loved it

10.0 Overall Rating
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Sammy L. 1 year ago

Loved the trail and took us 4 hours to do and the lake of Glass is beautiful

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Lola M. 1 year ago

The environment here was gorgeous. Great area for various activities such as climbing and picnics.

10.0 Overall Rating
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Lloyd Frank 2 years ago

Marvelous hike! The waterfall climb was thrilling and exciting. It was a nice experience.

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lilibethl 2 years ago

This is a peaceful hike if you do it early in the morning. Best time to go is before 8am.

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Xyla O. 2 years ago

Decent hike with too many people. I wasn't able to enjoy the views because some people are so rude. They all want to take a great photo.

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Brexit Smith 2 years ago

Killer views. Must-do trail. Recommend to start early to avoid the crowd.

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merry g. 2 years ago

We had a wonderful time ascending to the top. There were few steep inclines along the way but nothing too strenuous. Absolutely stunning!

10.0 Overall Rating
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31 Comments Show all

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