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Sky Pond

Intermediate/Difficult
  4.9 ( 232 ) Favorite

Trail

8.3 mile 13.3 kilometer loop
Intermediate/Difficult

Elevation

Ascent: 2,000' 610 m
Descent: -1,999' -609 m
High: 11,014' 3,357 m
Low: 9,162' 2,793 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 9% (5°)
Max Grade: 32% (18°)

Dogs

No Dogs
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Map Key

Trail shared by Mike Langenkamp

Sky Pond is in a deep valley carved by Taylor Glacier and capped by Taylor and Powell Peak.

Mike Langenkamp

Features Birding · Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Overview

Begin at the Glacier Gorge trailhead in Rocky Mountain National Park and follow a well maintained trail to Timberline Falls. The trail ends there and you must scramble up the side of the falls to continue past The Lake of Glass to Sky Pond.

Need to Know

Sky Pond is inside Rocky Mountain National Park, so NPS restrictions apply.

Description

From the Glacier Gorge trailhead, your first destination is beautiful Alberta Falls, 0.85 miles in. Continuing on past the falls the trail has less traffic as it meanders along pine forests and switchbacks to the North Longs Peak Trail junction, 1.6 miles in.

Follow the signs for the Loch, heading west, climbing through dense forests. Glacier Gorge Junction will appear after the 2.1 mile mark, continue to follow the sign to The Loch. Climb steep switchbacks through heavy forest and you'll next come upon Andrews Glacier Trail junction, 3.65 miles in. Continue straight (west) on the main trail. The trail eventually levels out at the Loch, 3 miles in at 10,200'.

From the Loch onward, the trail becomes rougher and less used. The trail follows Icy Creek through heavy woods along a canyon. As you walk, the breaks in the trees will reveal Timberline Falls in the distance, your next destination. To reach the alpine lakes, Sky Pond and Lake of Glass, you must climb up the side of the falls, which lies at the 4 mile mark.

The best approach is to head for a relatively dry chute of the waterfall, on the right of the main flow. Scramble to the top, the steepness and wetness making it a challenge. The climb up Timberline Falls is the most difficult part of the route and does not exceed Class 3 in good conditions.

Once on top of Timberline Falls, the environment immediately changes to arctic tundra. The stark Lake of Glass (at the 4.15 mile mark) lies in front of you but the most noticeable effect is the harsher weather. There is a substantial temperature drop and the wind often blows relentlessly. Now is the time to add a layer of clothing and a windproof shell.

From the Lake of Glass, cross smooth granite slabs westward along the shore and pick up the rough trail. The trail follows Icy Brook to a beautiful waterfall and Sky Pond. Reaching Sky Pond, 4.6 miles in, you are at the base of Taylor Glacier and surrounded by Taylor Peak (13,153), Powell Peak (13,208) and The Sharktooth (12,630).

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Check-Ins

Oct 16, 2019
Kyle Miller
Oct 12, 2019
T T
8.3mi
Sep 30, 2019
Stacy Wyss
Sep 23, 2019
Scott Sallade
9.5mi — 6h 00m
Sep 14, 2019
Nick Barendregt
An amazing hike in every way! Getting an early start helped lots with conditions and crowds. 8.3mi — 4h 01m
Sep 10, 2019
jos vandebos
Fairly straightforward terrain. Climbing on the small waterfall was a bit challenging, but lots of fun.
Sep 7, 2019
Afshin Mesbahi
Sep 2, 2019
Zach Archibald
9mi — 4h 05m

Trail Ratings

  4.9 from 232 votes

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  4.9 from 232 votes
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45,324 Since Feb 26, 2015
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Photos

The glorious view that greets you once you near Sky Pond.
Nov 9, 2018 near Grand Lake, CO
The Loch, Rocky Mountain NP CO
Jan 15, 2015 near Grand Lake, CO
Alberta Falls
May 2, 2018 near Estes Park, CO
Dream Lake Trail
Jan 19, 2015 near Estes Park, CO
The Loch lake
Jan 28, 2015 near Grand Lake, CO
The view of the gorge will knock you off your feet
Nov 28, 2015 near Estes Park, CO

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