The hike up to Sky Pond is a challenging, but super rewarding adventure in Rocky Mountain National. Can't beat multiple lakes, stunning mountain vistas, and TWO towering waterfalls in one hike!
Start this adventure at the Glacier Gorge trailhead. You can also access it by the Bear Lake parking lot/trailhead, but it will add a short distance to the hike. These lots fill fast. A free shuttle runs throughout RMNP and stops at both of these lots if you need to find parking elsewhere. More info can be found on the shuttle HERE.
The first part of this hike will be the easy trek to the incredible Alberta Falls. Alberta falls is a gorgeous waterfall, and a great place to sit on a nearby rock, and bask in the beauty of the park. You can climb up next to the falls for fantastic views and enjoy the roar of the water. This is one of the more popular hiking spots in the park, so it can get a bit crowded.
Continue climbing up past the falls and continue on the Glacier Gorge/Loch Vale trail on the right at the first junction. After climbing for about a half mile, you will reach another junction. Follow the sign towards Loch Vale/Sky Pond.
You'll climb for about a mile until you reach stunning Loch Vale or better known as just "The Loch". This is a gorgeous lake, and a great spot to take a breather or maybe have a snack at, as this lake is generally less windy than the area you will be ascending to. If you look above Loch lake to the West, you can actually see Timberline Falls and the area you will be climbing to!
Continue on the trail towards Sky Pond, past the Loch. You will start to gain elevation quickly, this can be a more challenging section of the hike. To your left you will start to hear and see gorgeous Timberline Falls!
Keep going and you will get to the base of the 100 foot falls, a magical site and a great place to soak in the beauty of Rocky Mountain National Park. Be aware it is generally fairly windy here and can be quite cold even in the middle of summer. Dress accordingly for this adventure and wear lots of layers!
From here the path becomes a bit more challenging! To continue to Lake of Glass and Sky Pond, you must scale the section just to the right of the waterfall. It sounds and initially looks harder than it is! Be prepared to use your hands for climbing/scrambling, and you will likely get a bit wet on your way up. Just take your time, make sure you have steady footing and handholds, especially on wet sections. The first 25 feet or so are the most challenging, it starts to even out as you climb.
Once you're over the falls, you really start to the feel how windy it gets up here! Above the falls is Lake of Glass. This is yet another stunning alpine lake to enjoy!
Some mistake this for Sky Pond and turn around here. Keep going! The trail to Sky Pond is smaller and a bit harder to find, but it winds around Lake of Glass on the right, and continues up through the gorgeous valley to Sky Pond.
Coming upon Sky Pond is magical. It is such a beautiful spot, and really shows all that Rocky Mountain National Park has to offer. Celebrate your long adventure at Sky Pond and take in the gorgeous lake and sharp mountain vistas all around you!
When heading back down, you can take a detour out to pristine Mills Lake adding only a little over a mile round trip to your already epic adventure!
It may be a bit windy and cold, but there are some nice large rocks along the shore to have a picnic!
The epic amount of lakes and waterfalls on this adventure can only mean one thing. Bring your cameras!
Starting this trail from the Glacier Gorge trailhead is optimal, however, you can also start from the Bear Lake lot. There is a free shuttle that runs throughout the park with stops at these lots if they are full. Click HERE for more info on the shuttle.