Rocky Mountain NP: Bear Lake and Glacier Gorge Hikes

June 14, 2009 – The next morning we woke up early again (before 5:30am) and went to the Big Horn Restaurant for breakfast.  The coffee was good, and Louisa enjoyed her blueberry pancakes while Tony had a croissant breakfast sandwich.

Bear Lake View
View from Bear Lake

After breakfast we headed back into the park in order to get a parking spot.  We started off with a hike around Bear Lake, and then headed off for the main adventure. We first followed the Glacier Gorge Trailhead to Alberta Falls.  The falls are quite pretty, and are surrounded by young birch trees.  There are also a variety of shallow reflecting pools before you actually reach the falls.

Alberta Falls
Alberta Falls

We then continued on to the Loch.  This trail is one of the most popular in the park, and we could see why.  After passing Alberta Falls, you continue up a gentle incline; at this time of year, the incline and steps were home to a small stream.  Eventually the trail levels off and follows the side of a rocky outcropping.  Far below you can hear the river, and across the ravine the views are of almost-sheer mountain faces.  There is another waterfall section towards the end of the trail; on the way back, we stopped here for a snack and to enjoy the scenery.

The Loch
The Loch

Past this second waterfall, the trail began to get a little more interesting.  It entered a wooded section with several snow-covered switchbacks.  Fortunately, there were already well-worn foot prints in the snow, and we didn’t have any problems.  Past this section, however, we saw a gigantic pile of snow.  If we wanted to see the Loch, we would have to climb it.  The way up wasn’t too bad, but the trail down was a tad slick.  However, the views of the Loch were fantastic.  The water was very blue, and the surrounding mountains were carved out by glaciers.  The glacial cirque was very pretty.  We walked a few dozen yards on the trail, but everything was still covered in snow and ice, and the wind was rather chilly.  So, we admired the view, and then headed back down the trail.

We once again went to Poppy’s for lunch, and then enjoyed some home-made ice cream.  Tony had tiramisu, and Louisa had a combination of wedding cake and some other flavor with chocolate and almond.  We had another great weekend, and even missed the severe storms (and hail) that some areas of Denver got.

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