Sky Pond

 60 votes

8.3 Miles 13.3 Kilometers

 

81% 

Runnable

100%

Singletrack

2,000' 610 m

Ascent

-1,999' -609 m

Descent

11,014' 3,357 m

High

9,162' 2,793 m

Low

9%

Avg Grade (5°)

32%

Max Grade (18°)

All Clear

12 days agoUpdate

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

Mike Langenkamp

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.
Features: Birding — Fall Colors — Lake — River/Creek — Views — Waterfall — Wildflowers — Wildlife
Dogs: No Dogs

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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4.9 from 60 votes


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Jul 3, 2016
Yen-Chieh Lin

Trail Ratings

  4.9 from 60 votes

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in Bear Lake

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  4.9 from 60 votes
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11,296 Since Feb 26, 2015
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Conditions


All Clear 12 days ago
Mostly Dry - This is a awesome hike. Go early !!!!! And when I say early I mean we rolled in at 5:30am am we got one of the last 4 parking spots. Well worth it. Most difficult part is the waterfall climb. It isn't hard but can be a little hairy if you don't like to climb up. This is a bottle neck, opens up at this point so the views are nice. When you get to the top of the falls it is a dramatic change in weather. Windy and colder. Before the climb is a good time to put in that extra layer you'll need it. Once you get to glass lake stay to the right along the lakes edge to get to Sky Pond. You can go off wandering but then you end up having to back track to find the trail. Once you reach the top it is breath taking. If you want to hike additional trails such as mills lake and then Andrews glacier save them for the trip down. Save your energy for the climb to sky pond. Take something to eat as well. Took us 3 hrs to get to the top. Bring plenty of water and layers of clothes.
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