Loch Vale, also known as The Loch is a perfect snapshot of why Rocky Mountain National Park is a National Park.
A relatively easy sub-6 mile hike up Glacier Gorge, it’s one of the most frequented hikes in the park so you need to pick your times wisely to avoid the crowds.
Despite being the Saturday of the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend, an early morning start and sub-freezing temperatures does a lot to thin out the crowds. No problem finding parking at the Glacier Gorge trailhead, and no problems with tourists.
We planned ahead and brought a camp stove and backpackers lunches, and found a nice picnic spot among the trees where I could kick a kitchen out of the snow banks and cook up lunch.
As usual in the sub-alpine in late season, the wind blowing down the gorge and across the lakes was pretty chilly, but a wise man once said – there is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing. We all packed accordingly and were able to enjoy a picture-perfect Rocky Mountain day!

Waiting Patiently

Waiting Patiently
Shelby waits for the rest of us on our way up Glacier Gorge.


Up The Gorge

Up The Gorge to Loch Vale
I absolutely love this shot.


Snowy Break

Snowy Break
Taking a break among the pines.


From the Loch

From the Loch
The view up toward Taylor Glacier from The Loch.


Nom Nom Nom

Nom Nom Nom
Pad Thai Chicken Monster!


Best Lunch Spot Ever

Best Lunch Spot Ever at Loch Vale
This is obviously the best lunch spot ever!


Rocky Mountain Christmas Card

Rocky Mountain Christmas Card
This looks just like a Rocky Mountain National park christmas card!


The shot

The shot
Shelby lines up the perfect shot from the ice of Loch Vale.


Walking on Water

Walking on Water
It’s much faster to walk directly across the frozen lakes than to follow the standard trail that skirts around.


Loch Vale Google Earth

Loch Vale Google Earth
Google Earth visual of the Glacier Gorge to Loch Vale hike.