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The Rocky Mountain Collegian

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The weekend excursion guide

This is my last recommendation for a lake hike. I promise! But you have to admit, nothing compares to finishing a long trek with a well deserved PB&J as you watch the mountains’ waving reflection in the warping surface.

This weekend I recommend Sky Pond in Rocky Mountain National Park. The Continental Divide cups the lake like a great giant hand, and when the air is still, a perfect reflection of Taylor’s Peak stretches across the water.

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At the Glacier Gorge Trailhead, this hike looks like a tourist trap. Kids dart everywhere, you catch glimpses of flip flops and you’ll probably hear someone complaining about the hike. Don’t worry, almost all of these people are only going as far as Alberta Falls.

That said, there is a reason so many people flood the trail to the falls. They roar and bound down a boulder-filled ravine. It’s a great spot to grab your first sip of water and snap a photo.

Then, thankfully, the trail clears up. Follow trail markings for The Loch.

The trail weaves through dense forest with the occasional view of the wide-open Estes Valley.

After a good while of trekking, you’ll reach The Loch. This is a bigger lake, with a head on vista of the continental Divide. You can also see the wisps of Timberline Falls.

Keep following the trail, around the lake and up toward the falls. Then you’ll arrive at the base of the falls. You’ll almost be above tree line. Here comes the hard part. Follow the signs for Lake of Glass and Sky Pond and scramble up the side of this waterfall.

Up top, you’ll find a valley and a brook bubbling down the middle. Keep on to Lake of glass, a slightly smaller lake than the Lock, and onto the end of the line, sky pond.

After a total of 5 miles, you’ll get to relax by the rocky banks and gape at the scenery.  On the north side of the lake, you’ll see the Cathedral Spires. These spindling rock formations climb out of the mountain face and reach for the clouds. Their majesty truly rivals any gothic cathedral

To get there, take Taft Hill Road, Shields Street or College Avenue to Loveland. Turn right onto Highway 34 (Eisenhower Boulevard.) and drive all the way up to Estes Park.  Continue through downtown Estes and turn left onto Highway 36, following the signs for the park. Enter the park through the Beaver Meadows Entrance. Turn left onto Bear Lake Road. Continue on to the Glacier Gorge Trailhead. However, there is not much parking at the trailhead, so you may have to park at the park & ride on Bear Lake Road and take the shuttle to the trailhead.

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You’ll have to pay $20 for the weekly pass to enter the park (but hopefully you held onto yours from last week).

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