Sky Pond Trail, located in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, is one of my favorite winter hikes to date. The hike was challenging, but the breathtaking views throughout the adventure make it worth the effort.
Follow along below as I take you through my Sky Pond winter hike on this beautiful Colorado bluebird sky day.
I started at Glacier Gorge trailhead (Elevation 9,240ft) at 5:18 AM, about an hour before sunrise, March 16th 2020. Overall, Bear Lake road was clear of snow all the way to the traihead.
Merino wool made up my base layers; snow pants, down jacket, gaiters, and micro-spikes completed the look. I packed snowshoes in case; they always seem to be needed most when you don’t have them.
I chose to bypass Alberta Falls and take the fire trail winter route, shaving off almost a mile to The Loch Vale. I arrived at The Loch by blue hour, plenty of time to search for some cool photography compositions on the frozen lake before the golden hour started.
I brought my Really Right Stuff Tripod and my trusty 24mm prime lens with me for the sunrise photos and was really stoked with the results. The wind was manageable this morning which rarely happens.
I spent an hour at the Loch shooting, then proceeded to head toward the Sky Pond Lake Trail.
The big push on this winter hike to Sky Pond comes right before Timberline Falls. It was steep and there was no marked trail because it snowed the previous night and the wind was blowing the powder everywhere.
I made my own trail up to Timberline Falls with the aid of an ice axe. I climbed up to the right of the waterfall and made it to Lake of Glass, one of the most scenic alpine lakes I’ve encountered this winter.
The trek from Lake of Glass up to Sky Pond is very picturesque. In my opinion, looking back at the Lake of Glass on the ascent to Sky pond is one of my favorites in Rocky Mountain National Park.
There was no evident trail as everything was snow-covered, but I was able to reach the lake by staying along the rocks and using the ice axe without the use of snowshoes.
Sky Pond was amazing. The majority of the frozen lake was bumpy, but the south edge of the pond was smooth enough to skate on. The wind was surprisingly mild, with a few strong gusts here and there.
I walked around Sky Pond for 15 minutes, then decided to get a better view from above. I climbed a couple hundred feet up Thatchtop Mountain; this gave me the ability to see both Sky Pond and Lake of Glass in the same perspective.
I would rate the Sky Pond winter hike as difficult, but the views more than compensate. Hiking during winter and spring seasons add to the difficulty level, but despite the season, this is one of the best hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park.
According to Alltrails Gps recording
- Distance – 8.3 Miles
- Elevation Gain – 1,995 ft
- Moving time – 4:43:00
Have you hiked Sky Pond before? When? How were the trail conditions? How hard would you rate it? Please leave a comment below, I would love to hear from you! ( ;