The Loch – 5.7mi / 9.1km
The tall walls of Loch Vale (lake valley) tower over The Loch, the largest of the lakes in this aptly named drainage.
Begin by hiking up to the lovely Alberta Falls (see Alberta Falls in 0-5 Miles for description). The trail follows Glacier Creek with increasing views looking up into the mountains and out towards Estes Park. After turning up an impressive canyon, follow the signs straight at the three-way junction.
The trail steadily follows the playful Icy Brook up the narrow canyon. After a couple of switchbacks you arrive at the lake. The trail follows along the north shore, providing excellent spots to stop and enjoy the stunning landscape of granite walls towering over the forest that lines the lake.
Consider continuing to either Sky Pond or Andrews Glacier (see Sky Pond in 5-10 Miles and Andrews Glacier in 10-15 Miles for descriptions.)
Trailhead: Follow Bear Lake Road to the Glacier Gorge Trailhead, or park at the Park & Ride and take the park’s free shuttle to the trailhead.
Elevation Gain: 1,150ft / 345m – Elevation Loss: 1,150ft / 345m