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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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!
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!
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!
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.)
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).]
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!)
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.
Notice how clear the water is in the picture below.
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!
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!
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!
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)!