This is Rocky Mountain National Park’s Lake of Glass. If found anywhere else, this would be a destination hike well worth the 9 miles it takes to get here and back to the parking lot. However, the destination for this trail is actually Sky Pond, which lies just beyond this stunning alpine lake.
While my wife and I haven’t hiked every trail in RMNP yet, this is by far my favorite so far. Along this 9 mile journey you get to see Alberta Falls, hike along Icy Brook and Glacier Creek (two gorgeous creeks), and then see three alpine lakes— The Lock, Lake of Glass, and Sky Pond. You also get to see Timberline Falls. In fact, you have to scramble up the 100′ rocky cliff next to the falls to see two of the three lakes. The rocky cliff is fairly easy climb, but it can be slippery/icy and isn’t for the faint of heart. The entire hike gains almost 1700′ of elevation, but is easily doable if you are in decent shape and acclimated to the altitude. We hiked this trail in late June and the snow was still deep near timberline.
It’s trails like this that make the National Park System “the best idea we (America) ever had” – historian Wallace Stegner.