Located in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, Sky Pond is one of the most popular trails in the park, and for good reason. You will pass 3 decent sized waterfalls, many small stream falls, and 2 major lakes before reaching Sky Pond. If you make it to the lake you will be rewarded with stunning views in almost every single direction.
- Date Completed: 9/20/2019 on a chill Friday Morning
- Glacier Gorge Trailhead Elevation: 9,240 feet
- Left Glacier Gorge Trailhead at 5:30am – there was plenty of parking
- Hours hiked: 5 – Parking lot to Sky Pond, wandering, back to parking lot
- 384 photos and 8 videos taken with the Nikon D750 and Nikkor 24mm 1.8 lens
- The hike to Sky Pond isn’t easy, isn’t incredibly hard either.
- Headlamp hiking for the first hour of the trail
This hike can be started from two different trail heads in the park, Bear Lake Trailhead or Glacier Gorge Junction Trailhead. I camped at Moraine Park so got an early start and a parking spot from the Glacier Gorge trailhead. Hiked almost all the way up to “The Loch” before the sun started to rise.
The Loch – Elevation 10,190 feet
Made it to “The Loch” lake in a little over an hour, as I snapped my first picture at 6:40am. Minor complications, like my brand new hiking headlamp, would not work. This set me back about half an hour before I decided to just grab my backup headlamp and hit the trail. Still managed decent time but just barely missed the magical 15-30 minutes before sunrise time.
After photographing The Loch lake for about half an hour I made my way up Sky Pond Lake Trail. There are many cool waterfall streams before the big ascent up the trail, though small, were very fun to photograph. I stopped to get pictures of several of them.
The ascent up to Timberline Falls, up to Lake of Glass is pretty strenuous, with the elevation gain especially. If you are in decent shape and don’t mind scrambling a tad Timberline Falls isn’t super horrible. It’s just a big change in elevation climb compared to the first 3.5 miles of the trail.
Timberline Falls – 10,660 feet
Arrived at the base of Timberline Falls and sign to Sky Pond at around 7:50am. This is also the spot where you have to scramble up the side of the waterfall.
Which I don’t think it’s difficult. But don’t get complacent. You are more than 4 miles from a trail head and getting back with a broken foot would be difficult.
Just take your time and be patient if you go during peak hours as the scramble can get crowded. At this time there were only 2 people that had passed me hiking. I photographed Timberline falls and then proceeded to go up to sky pond, with no one around me to get in my way on the ascend up.
Lake of Glass – Elevation 10,800 feet
Made it to Lake of Glass around 8:30am. It was very windy and I didn’t spend much time photographing it.
The lake was nowhere near glass-looking. Went off trail and scrambled across the lake to sky pond, because I’m an idiot and get too excited when trying to navigate.
Sky Pond – Elevation 10,900 feet
Reached Sky Pond at approximately 8:30am. I was extremely pleased with the views at Sky Pond. If you veer to the left at the highest point past the first waterfall, you can view Sky Pond, turn around and see Lake of Glass onward.
The views at Sky Pond are amazing. This is a great place to explore. You should plan at least an hour to view the surrounding areas of this dope ass, high elevation alpine lake.
Don’t let the reviews fool you with distance. The distance says 8-9 miles round trip. If you don’t step off and explore Sky Pond and Lake of Glass when you get up there then you are missing out on great experiences.
I logged 14.5 miles because I explored. Went all around Sky Pond. Harsh sunlight and windy even at 8:30am, but beautiful views and very secluded. Was only two people the entire hour or so I was up there. Hopped around rock from rock around the lake. Discovered a hidden small pond that was a true gem. It’s like I was Link in legend of Zelda discovering a fairy fountain when on my last heart container…people know about it but almost everyone misses it first time around.
There’s a very cool smaller waterfall right before Sky Pond. I stopped and got a few photographs of it before I headed back down. Next time I hike this I won’t leave my tripod behind at Timberline falls again.
For more information on the Sky Pond hike check out the Rocky Mountain National Park website.
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