The hike to Sky Pond at Rocky Mountain National Park starts at 9000 feet and goes up another 2000. If you’re used to lower elevations, don’t make it the first thing you do on your Colorado vacation. Hang out in the “Mile High City” for a couple of days and then go. Hydration helps.

This hike is best attempted in the Summer. You will encounter snow well into the Spring.

Alberta Falls

The hike follows a glacier-fueled stream, with a series of lakes and falls along the way. Alberta Falls is near the beginning. Two more miles gets you to The Loch.

The Loch

From the Loch you can see up the canyon to above treeline, and the steep glacial bowl (a “cirque”) that surrounds the upper lakes. It’s further away than it looks. There’s a steady uphill from here, first in the woods and then above them. Finally, a scramble up a short cliff (quite wet when we were there, almost a waterfall) gets you to Glass Lake.

Glass Lake

It’s easy to lose the trail at this point, and to think you’ve reached Sky Pond. Keep looking. The trail is to the right. Sky Pond is up a short hill. The Pond is at the heart of the cirque, with the walls rising steeply above. One side is dominated by the jagged rock formation called Shark Tooth. The bowl has patches of snow year round, but the large active glaciers are mostly gone.

Shark Tooth

Sky Pond is at 11000 feet, well above treeline. The trees that do exist around Glass Lake are stunted and miniature.

This is not a trick of perspective.

As you turn around and go back the way you came, the valley opens in front of you giving views that go on forever. Highly recommended hike.