Sky Pond in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Hiking to Sky Pond in Rocky Mountain National Park

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Hiking to Sky Pond was going to be the farthest and highest I’ve ever hiked.

And honestly, I was nervous that I wasn’t going to make it. I hadn’t prepared well & I’ve been known to get really bad headaches in altitude.

But it honestly wasn’t that bad! I went from secretly hoping my friend no longer wanted to hike it to totally glad we did it!

To see and read more about this trail, keep on reading!

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"Hike the Sky Pond Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado"

Hiking to Sky Pond in Rocky Mountain National Park

How Long is the Trail?

One of the first things people want to know when researching a trail is how long the trail is.


I would love to tell you exactly how long this trail is, but everywhere you look will tell you something different. Anywhere between 8 and 10 miles seems to be the general consensus.

Where is the trailhead located?

The trail can be accessed from the Bear Lake parking area or the Glacier Gorge parking area. I suggest arriving around sunrise to ensure a parking spot.

The trail to Sky Pond converges with several other trails along the way. I’m not going to try and explain how to stay on the correct trail to reach Sky Pond. I think visuals would help the most. So click here for a map and here for a trail guide/map so you don’t end up on the wrong trail! You can also read a more in-depth description of the trail here.

Now, let’s dive right into hiking to Sky Pond!

mountains and trees along hiking trail

Alberta Falls

Many people looking for an easy hike end up just hiking to Alberta Falls since it is only about 0.8 miles into the trail.

This area does get crowded as the day goes on. So if you want to relax or photograph Alberta Falls, I suggest getting there early!

waterfall flowing over rocks through green trees

The Loch

About 2.5 miles into the hike lies what is called The Loch.

The Loch is a little past the halfway point on this trail. But don’t be fooled, the last part of the trail isn’t nearly as easy as the first half!

looking through trees at a creek and mountains
shoreline of lake looking at mountains in distance

Related: Hiking Upper Yosemite Falls Trail

The Trail Gets Harder

The last mile and a half is where this trail starts getting more difficult.

Until this point, I had been wondering why this trail was rated “difficult” and I soon found out. The rest of the trail has a ton of steps!

(Although it seems like a lot of steps, it’s still not near as many as the hike to Upper Yosemite Falls.)

stone stairs on hiking trail
stone stairs on hiking trail

Timberline Falls

Four miles into the trail is Timberline Falls (pictured below).

You must climb this 100-foot waterfall in order to continue on the trail.

Good hiking boots with good tread are a MUST! The rocks you climb up are extremely slick! And coming down was a lot harder than climbing up!

[Photography side note: There are sooo many beautiful waterfalls and creeks along the hiking trail to Sky Pond. It provides great opportunities to play around with shutter speeds if you are learning to shoot in manual mode. (Photo below is at 1/5 second).]

waterfall over rocks
This picture is where using my trekking poles pretty much saved me and my camera from going down. Those rocks were slick! (You can read my full post on trekking poles here)

Related: Hiking to the Beautiful Emerald Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park

Sky Pond

To reach Sky Pond, you must hike up the side of Timberline Falls to the Lake of Glass, then continue on.

Most people (myself included) think they have reached Sky Pond when they see the Lake of Glass. Nope, not there yet! You must hike further! (I promise it’s worth it!)

lots of rocks forming a trail through rocky mountains

At 4.6 miles into the trail, THIS is Sky Pond.

With lush, green grass and large rocks surrounding you, this is the perfect spot to kick back & relax a while before hiking back down.

lake in front of mountains
jagged rock mountain peak with pond in front

Notice how clear the water is in the picture below.

jagged rock mountain peaks with pond in front
Sky Pond is known for its shark tooth appearing rocks that surround one side of it.
rocks and grass between mountains
Looking back at the Lake of Glass from Sky Pond.

It was very relaxing & quiet at Sky Pond. We stayed there for about an hour or so before heading back down.

You will want to head back down the trail around mid-day. Waiting until later increases your chance of getting rained on!

Click here to read more about Rocky Mountain National Park ↓

"How to Visit Rocky Mountain National Park in TWO Days"

Things You Need for Hiking to Sky Pond

  • A rain jacket!- rain showers and thunderstorms are common up high in the mountains. Be prepared!
  • Good hiking boots- If you plan to climb up Timberline Falls, you MUST have good hiking boots with good tread. This waterfall is steep and slippery, falling could be very dangerous! I hiked in these Salomon boots.
  • Plenty of water!- This is a long trail. I recommending a hiking backpack with a hydration bladder of 2-3 liters. I used (and LOVED) my Osprey backpack and 3L hydration bladder.
  • Trekking poles- If you want to venture off the trail to snap some waterfalls pics like I did, you need trekking poles. These were a lifesaver when I was trying not to slide down on the slick rocks. If you are interested in trekking poles, check out my post on budget hiking poles that are perfect for beginners!

I hope you enjoyed reading about hiking to Sky Pond in Rocky Mountain National Park! What’s your favorite trail in the park? Let me know in the comments below!

melissa of dogwoods & driftwood travel blog

Want to see more photos of my trip to Rocky Mountain National Park? Click here to see 18 Photos to Inspire You to Visit RMNP!

Want to read about hikes similar to Sky Pond? Check out the 20+ Best Hikes in Yosemite or Hiking to Delicate Arch.

Don’t forget to check out my post on budget trekking poles. You never know when you will need them (like I did on this hike)!

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Hiking the Trail to Sky Pond in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado!

"Hiking to Sky Pond in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado"

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    1. Yeah I totally agree! Climbing up was no problem, getting down was definitely a little more challenging! Glad you got to experience it! It’s definitely worth the hike! Love your products BTW. I may have to try one soon!

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