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.
- Trailhead: Glacier Gorge
- Round trip: 9 miles / 14.5 km
- Elevation: 9,240′-10,900′ (+1660) / 2,816m-3,322m (+506m)
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).
Trek up to Sky Pond