Alberta Falls – Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Glacier Gorge Junction is located inside Rocky Mountain National Park and is approximately 20 minutes outside of Estes Park, Colorado. Primary activities include hiking and backpacking but dogs are not allowed inside the park. It has a very small parking lot so I recommend parking at the “Parking for Bear Lake shuttle bus” because the shuttle runs often (i.e., on ten to fifteen minute loops) and if you do not find a parking spot at the trailhead (i.e., like us) then it will cost you at least 30 minutes to drive back to the shuttle bus parking lot. The trailhead has restrooms and water(?). Cell phone service is weak at best.


Alberta Falls

The Glacier Gorge Junction Trailhead is 9,240 feet in elevation. Alberta Falls is a beautiful waterfall reached after hiking 0.9 miles and climbing 160 feet in elevation. During the hike to Alberta Falls we saw people of all ages on the trail.

Half Way Between Alberta Falls and the Fork in the Trail

To continue on past Alberta Falls, the trail rating increases in difficultly from “easy” to “moderate”. As you can see from the picture below, the views make the increased difficulty worth it, especially on a sunny day.

Almost to the Fork in the Trail

As the hike the continues, you have to make a decision as to whether to continue on towards The Loch and Sky Pond or go to Mills Lake. Mills Lake is 0.2 miles shorter than the hike to The Loch. We chose The Loch because other hikers on the trail said there was less of a crowd at The Loch. Many experienced hikers cited both destinations as equally beautiful.

The Loch

We reached The Loch after two hours of hiking, taking pictures, and with our 25lb daughter on my back in a Kelty Kids backpack. From trailhead to The Loch is three miles and a rise in elevation of 940 feet. At The Loch, there were several scenic spots to sit and eat. Our picnic view can be seen in the picture below. In the upper-center part of this picture is the location of Timberline Falls, Lake of Glass, and Sky Pond. We did not continue to these destinations because they are rated “strenuous” and other hikers coming down from them thought it would be too difficult with a child on my back.

Heading Down the Trail

After spending an hour and fifteen minutes eating lunch at The Loch, we made our way back to the trailhead. It took us almost two hours to get down and, thus, our total hiking time was four hours with total hike distance of 6.0 miles.

In sum, this was an incredible hike with a diverse set scenery but no wildlife was seen besides chipmunks. Further, there was a mix of sun and shade that provided a nice balance on a hot summer day. Other recommended hikes include:

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