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Elevation Gain
?
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
6.20 mi (9.98 km)
Warming hut
No
Please respect the outdoors and leave no trace. One tip how to dispose of waste properly: Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products. For more information, visit https://lnt.org/learn/7-principles

Located in the heart of Rocky Mountain National Park, the trek up to Loch Vale serves as a great snowshoeing experience for beginners. Also accessible to cross-country skiers, the snow-packed trail begins with a gradual ascent, providing a solid warm up as you make your way to the frozen waters of Alberta Falls.

As a popular destination in warmer months, the area is noticeably calmer in winter, but it is no less majestic. The absence of the roaring falls provides an air of tranquility where gray jays sit quietly in the branches of thick pines that line the trail.

After a series of short, steep switchbacks, windblown snow banks give way to The Loch. This area is the subject of frequent testing and close observation as authorities attempt to measure human impacts on the watershed. Framed by snow-crusted peaks, the frozen surface of the heavily studied lake is often solid enough to support a walk across the ice, but be cautious as you explore.

At over 10,000 feet, The Loch is completely exposed to winter elements, particularly wind. For those seeking to spend time to take in the beautiful scenery, be sure to expect an unforgiving climate upon arrival. Regardless of the harsh conditions at the summit, snowshoeing to The Loch in the dead of winter is an incredibly peaceful and rewarding experience. 

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

National Park Pass

Pros

Fantastic views. Quiet.

Cons

Winter exposure. Limited parking.

Pets allowed

No

Trailhead Elevation

9,186.00 ft (2,799.89 m)

Net Elevation Gain

1,026.00 ft (312.72 m)

Address

CO 80517
United States

Features

Big vistas
Waterfalls
Cross-country skiing

Location

Field Guide + Map

Nearby Adventures

Nearby Lodging + Camping

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