Glacier Gorge Trail

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado 80517

Distance5.7mi
Elevation Gain3,581ft
Trailhead Elevation9,177ft
Top11,615ft
Elevation Min/Max9155/11615ft
Elevation Start/End9177/9177ft

Glacier Gorge Trail

Glacier Gorge Trail is a hiking and horse trail in Larimer County and Boulder County, Colorado. It is within Rocky Mountain National Park. It is 5.7 miles long and begins at 9,177 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 11.6 miles with a total elevation gain of 3,581 feet. The Glacier Gorge Junction parking and Glacier Gorge Trailhead and another information board are near the trailhead. There are also restrooms, benches, and a recycling. The Glacier Gorge (elevation 10,000 feet) camp site can be seen along the trail. There are also bare rocks, an information guidepost, and a wetland along the trail. This trail connects with the following: Fire Trail, North Longs Peak Trail, Haiyaha Cutoff Trail, Shelf and Solitude Route and Glacier Creek Trail.

Glacier Gorge Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"Eight unique falls from five water sources grace the trail in Glacier Gorge, Rocky Mountain National Park. At Alberta Falls, Glacier Creek gushes over boulders in a powerful horsetail, fills a punchbowl, and cascades past the trail. The creek flows just as strong at Glacier Falls, in segments hidden below the trail in a deep and steep-walled chasm.

At higher altitudes, enjoy views of “Shelf Falls” and “Solitude Falls.” These waterfalls are hung high in the cliffs between 12,668-foot Thatchtop and 12,660 foot Arrowhead, are fed by Solitude and Shelf Lakes and Shelf Creek, and spill over the mountainside in segmented horsetails."

"The Rocky Mountains are a consequence of a little understood subterranean force that began pushing up the earth’s crust in western North America some 65 million years ago-about the same time the age of the dinosaurs was coming to an end. The land continued to rise for the next 60 million years before reaching its present height, but the initial uplift marked only the first phase in the formation of the Colorado Rockies. Nature’s real artistry began about 3 million years ago with the onset of the Ice Age.

Since that time the Rocky Mountains have been encased in ice at least a half dozen times, and a succession of glaciations have gouged out valleys, cleaved off peaks, and excavated alpine lakes throughout the range. This sculpting process came to an end when the glaciers subsided some 10,000 years ago, and today a fine example of nature’s handiwork is preserved in the 409 square miles of Rocky Mountain National Park."

"Spectacular scenery, beautiful wildflowers, cascading waterfalls, and beautiful alpine lakes are what you will find on your hike into Glacier Gorge. Bring along a fishing rod and a camera.

Cross the road from the parking area to reach the trailhead. Go left, following the sign for Alberta Falls. Cross a bridge and ignore a trail on the right. Continue straight and enjoy easy hiking through a forest of aspens, spruce, and lodgepole pines. Cross over several bridges and climb to Alberta Falls. Step to the left and enjoy the spectacular waterfall, which has cut an impressive gorge with its forceful waters. Alberta Falls is a mere 0.6 mile from the trailhead and can be extremely crowded. Don’t worry, like most trails in the park, the farther away from the trailhead you get, the fewer people there are.

Dogs are not permitted."

Glacier Gorge Trail Reviews

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7/21/2018
Glacier Gorge is one of the most popular and (of course!) beautiful hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park. The hike is a fairly difficult one, though you wouldn’t expect any less in the mountainous terrain of the Rockies. The full hike is right at nine miles., with around a 1,700 foot elevation gain along the way. The scenery is incredible – there really are no words to do justice to what you will see here – it is just absolutely beautiful. You’ll get to see Alberta Falls, Timberline Falls, Glass Lake, and so much more. If a hike of this length and elevation is within your capabilities, it is well-worth doing, even if it is longer and more strenuous than what you are accustomed to.
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5/31/2018
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5/26/2018
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6/13/2013
Loved the trail! Can see why it's so popular. Would definitely go back to explore more.
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8/1/2011
This trail was simply wonderful. Lots and lots of waterfalls, beautiful creeks/rivers and the mtn. views were amazing. We sat by black lake and ate our lunch and a small herd of elk came meandering down to us, very, very close. It was a little busy at the beginning but as we went on, the crowds dissipated. Enjoy.
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1/1/2011
Relaxing, Charming, Natural Trail; Enjoyed it very much.
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6/1/2010
A must do hike! The mountains were beautiful and you won't see anything else like it. The waterfalls were crowded, with steady traffic on the trails. Lots of snow in June - wear layers! Very high elevations to start and you only go up so hydrate plenty.
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9/25/2008
A spectacular hike. There are several waterfalls and lakes mixed in this hike into the mountains. The first half of the hike is moderate, the second half gets more strenous as you begin to make a significant elevation gain.
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8/19/2008
This was my very first backpacking experience years ago. I absolutely loved and and have wanted to return ever since. There are some truly breathtaking views up there! It is a really amazing trail.
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7/30/2008
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Trail Information

Rocky Mountain National Park
Nearby City
Rocky Mountain National Park
Parks
Moderate to Difficult
Skill Level
Fishing, Camping
Additional Use
Wildflowers, Waterfalls
Features
Rocky Mountain National Park, (970) 586-1206, www.nps.gov/romo
Local Contacts
DeLorme Colorado Atlas & Gazetteer: Page 29 C5 and C6; USGS Colorado Quad Map: McHenrys Peak
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Oct 2018