Ranger | 3330 pts
I did this trail on 4/19/2019 but not as described on the guide book. I followed the Glacier Gorge trail to the Loch Vale trail (described elsewhere on this site and also reviewed by me earlier), hiked around the Loch and proceeded to Andrew's Glacier on the Andrew's Glacier trail and back the way I went in. This route is basically the return trip described in the trail description included in the book referenced above. This part of the Rocky Mountain National Park is really scenic but it can also be crowded even in the winter. I've never walked any of the trails around this area without encountering other hikers. The hike to the Loch is relatively easy except for the very last part as you approach the lake. I decided to skirt the lake rather than crossing it because I could see some ice melting already. Other hikers did cross the lake on the ice though. I also used only spikes all the way to the lake but changed to snowshoes at the lake and beyond. The trail beyond the lake was packed and easy to see but snowshoes were still needed. At some point I had to break trail and it was clear that no one had been around this part for a while. The slopes around the trail are steep as you approach the glacier and I had to plant my feet pretty hard to the point where I became worried about creating an avalanche and so I stopped about 0.25 miles from the glacier and turned back. Still, the views from the trail and especially near the glacier are outstanding and made the trip worthy even if I did not reach my destination. The trailhead is at about 9000 feet and the elevation gain is about 1600 ft pretty much evenly distributed on the way in so the return trip is easier and mostly downhill. I clocked the round trip at 7.5 miles. It took me 2:30 h to get to the glacier and then about 2 h to get back down with a 15 min lunch break at the Loch Lake. I saw a few hikers as I was going up and many hikers going up as I was coming back down.