When the forecast calls for 52 degrees and sunshine, we must play hooky again! Back into Rocky Mountain National Park to bang out the Sky Pond Trail.
AllTrails lists Sky Pond via the Glacier Gorge trail as a hard 8.5 mile hike with 1,761 feet of elevation gain.
We clocked just over 9 miles and 2,100 feet, but we included a few ups and downs and wandered to the far side of Sky Pond for our lunch break.
This is a very popular hike, as evidenced by an almost-full parking lot at 9am on a Wednesday. We didn’t get complete solitude, but we did get the benefit of a mostly-packed trail.
I had brought along snowshoes, but after talking to some folks who were on their way down I ended up burying them in the woods to save the weight on my pack. Yes, we remembered to pick them up on the way down!
One benefit of winter is frozen lakes, and the three that we crossed had several feet of ice under our feet. That makes for easy travel, especially when the wind at this altitude keeps the lakes mostly clear of snow.
We hope to make it back for a summertime visit, but since this is in a very popular and highly trafficked section of the park we’ll probably have to let our wintertime experience be what we remember of the area.

Ready to Go

Ready to Go
We get our first view or our destination as we come around East Glacier Knob.


No Horses

No Horses
But apparently unicorns are welcome…


Up Up Up

Up Up Up
This was a long step-kicking slog up The Loch Trail.


The Loch

The Loch
View across The Loch to Taylor Peak. Having the lakes all frozen cuts some time off your hike as you can walk straight across.


It’s Just Me

It's Just Me
A photo of me with Taylor Peak in the background. A 13’er I’ll probably bag this summer.


Suspension

Suspension
Very cool seeing air bubbles suspended several feet down in the ice.


Cracks and Color

Cracks and Color
The ice clears up around rocks in the lake, and you can get a good view down into the depths.


Stretch

Stretch
We think these were air bubbles that froze as they were rising. Any other ideas?


Nature Lover

Nature Lover on Sky Pond
Colette definitely enjoyed investigating the cool formations in the ice.


Snow Pie

Snow Pie
The snow piled on the boulders along the trail reminded me of Cinnabon icing. Maybe I was just hungry from the hike?


Calf Killer

Calf Killer
Here the grade really starts to crank up


Sky Pond

Sky Pond
The Sky Pond sign with the frozen waterfall behind it.


Feeling Small

Feeling Small
Anytime you start feeling big and bad, take a trip out in nature to feel small and insignificant really quickly.


Sky Pond Scene

Sky Pond Scene
Finally – Sky Pond and Taylor Peak.


Cathedral Spires

Cathedral Spires over Sky Pond
The Sharkstooth is the only named peak within Rocky Mountain National Park that does not have a walk-up route. Very impressive from Sky Pond!


Packing Back Out

Packing Back Out
Colette stops for a view of Lake of Glass as we finish up lunch and head back down from Sky Pond.


Broken Glass

Broken Glass
The wind has really turned Lake of Glass into an ankle-twister with all these cups and ridges.


Wave After Wave

Wave After Wave
Wind blown snow creates wave after wave in the shadows.


Beautiful Exit

Beautiful Exit
A beautiful exit as we make our way down The Loch Trail.


Sky Pond Visual

Sky Pond Visual
Google Earth visual of this hike along with an elevation profile.


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