The Loch

Rocky Mountain National Park
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The Loch

Distance: 8.9km
Elevation: 325m
Time: 3-4h

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The Loch is a large alpine lake at the intersection between Andrews Glacier and Taylor Glacier. The snowshoe to the Loch is serene and scenic and the Loch itself boasts many vantage points to take in the full beauty of RMNP.

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 13.7km to the Glacier Gorge Trailhead.


When to do

Late November to Early April

Backcountry Campsites

Yes get permits at RMNP Visitors Center


Yes, primitive pit toilet

Pets allowed


Family friendly


Route Signage


Crowd Levels


Route Type

Out and back


Detailed Description

Anyone on a snowshoe trip should have Avalanche training, we recommend AIARE 2 for all backcountry travellers, and AIARE 1 is the minimum. It is important to note that when travelling through avalanche terrain it is extremely valuable to always have a companion.

From the Glacier Gorge trailhead, follow the signs for Alberta Falls and Loch Vale. The trail gradually climbs for approximately 1.2km until reaching the frozen Alberta Falls. This is a great spot to relax and catch your breath before climbing higher in elevation.

Continue hiking along the Glacier Gorge Trail until arriving at a trail junction for The Loch Trail. Follow the sign and take Loch Trail. This section of trail will traverse along a steep mountainside through dense forest until it eventually diverts into the small canyon of Icy Brook. Snowshoe up the frozen Icy Brook (only possible in the winter time) and this will take you all the way up to the lake.

The Loch is a large alpine lake that offers impressive views of the surrounding peaks, most predominantly Taylor Peak (4004m) and Otis Peak (3806m) in the background. The Loch sits at the intersection between Andrews Glacier to the west and Taylor Glacier to the southwest.

To get back to the Glacier Gorge trailhead, return the way you came by retracing your steps.

Insider Hints

  • If you make it to The Loch with no issues and want something a bit more epic, check out our #5 snowshoe to Sky Pond!

  • To start your day off right, why not visit Cinnamon’s Bakery in Estes park before you head off? It is open from 7:30 am till 10 am Thursday through Sunday.

  • Snowshoeing in Rocky Mountain National Park takes you into remote terrain. Make sure you are prepared for an emergency with warm clothes, extra food, matches and ideally a satellite transceiver, like a Garmin InReach. Cell phones may not work on trail.

  • Always check the avalanche forecast for the Front Ranges before heading out.


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