Hike Profiles for Rocky Mountain National Park and Surrounding Areas
The Loch

The Loch is a popular and often revisited lake. The lake sits between Thatchtop and Otis Peak in a glacial
valley named Loch Vale. The Loch is also starting point for longer day hikes to Sky Pond and Andrews Tarn.

Distance: 3.0 miles one-way

Lake elevation: 10,180 feet

Trailhead elevation: 9,180 feet

Net elevation gain: 1,000 feet

Glacier Gorge Trailhead

Rocky Mountain National Park
Fisherman at The Loch
The red star in the map above shows relative location of The Loch to RMNP boundaries (in green) and major roads (in gold)
Major Trail Landmarks
Glacier Basin and Bear Lake connector trail junctions (0.3 miles from trailhead)
Alberta Falls (0.9 miles from trailhead)
Junction of Loch Vale and North Longs Peak Trails (1.6 miles one-way from trailhead)
Junction of Loch Vale and Mills Lake Trails (2.2 miles one-way from trailhead)
Principal Destinations Near The Loch
Mills Lake (2.8 miles one-way from trailhead) - via Mills Lake Trail
Timberline Falls (4.3 miles one-way from trailhead)
Lake of Glass (4.5 miles one-way from trailhead)
Sky Pond (4.9 miles one-way from trailhead)
Andrews Tarn (5.0 miles one-way from trailhead) - via Loch Vale to Andrews Creek Trail
Backcountry Campsites Near The Loch
Andrews Creek [PDF Link] - (3.9 miles one-way from trailhead) - elevation 10,560' - 1 individual site
The Glacier Gorge Trailhead is on the east side of the Continental Divide near Bear Lake. From the Beaver
Meadows Entrance Station on U.S. Highway 36, head west less than a quarter mile and turn south on Bear
Lake Road (toward Moraine Park). Follow Bear Lake Road approximately 9 miles to the small parking
area at Glacier Gorge. This lot often fills up early in the morning, especially in summer months. This area
is also accessible by the Bear Lake shuttle service when applicable, normally May through October. Note
that the Glacier Gorge Trailhead was moved in 2004, resulting in an additional 0.3 miles of hiking distance
each way. This change is not reflected in older guidebooks or maps.

The trail to The Loch begins by hiking past Alberta Falls from Glacier Gorge Trailhead. Past the falls, there
are two trail junctions. At the first junction, take the right-hand trail (the left-hand trail is the North Longs
Peak Trail). At the second junction, the right-hand trail leads toward Loch Vale and Sky Pond (the left-hand
trail leads to Mills Lake, and an unimproved trail also leads north to Lake Haiyaha). The trail then climbs a
steeper grade to The Loch, reaching the lake along its northeast shore.

Sample photographs of the hike to The Loch
Sunrise from west side of The Loch
The Loch
The Loch in spring
March snow at The Loch
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