The Loch

Difficulty
This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
Hard
Duration
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.
3-4h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
8.9 km
Elevation
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.
325 m
User Ratings
These ratings are completed by users who have completed this trail and not subject to reviews by 10Adventures.
Overall Rating
This is the average user-submitted overall rating on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest.
10.0
Physical Difficulty
This is the average user-submitted rating on the physical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Technical Difficulty
This is the average user-submitted rating on the technical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
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Directions to Trailhead
Panorama of The Loch snowshoe trail in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

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.

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Route Description for The Loch

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 1.2 km 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 (4,004 m) and Otis Peak (3,806 m) 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 for The Loch

  • 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.

Getting to the The Loch Trailhead

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 13.7 km to the Glacier Gorge Trailhead.

Route Information

  • When to do

    Late November to Early April

  • Backcountry Campsites

    Yes get permits at RMNP Visitors Center

  • Toilets

    Yes, primitive pit toilet

  • Pets allowed

    No

  • Family friendly

    No

  • Route Signage

    Good

  • Crowd Levels

    Moderate

  • Route Type

    Out and back

The Loch Elevation Graph

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The Loch Reviews

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