Estes Park, Colorado
This was our final full day in Colorado, so we decided to try and make the most of it. The sun was shining brilliantly; we decided to give Sky Pond a go. This trail is about 5 miles one way, and is an out-and-back starting at the Glacier Gorge trailhead. We took the park and ride (this saved our lives on this trip) and started around 0830. This trail goes past Alberta Falls, and up to the Mills Lake/Loch junction. We took the Loch junction and arrived around 10am.
The Loch is a gorgeous, large, blue green lake bordered on three out of four sides by mountains. Our favorite view was of the snow-peaked tops up around Andrews Glacier and Sky Pond. If you look closely, you can also see Timberline Falls. We tried to make it up to Sky Pond, but my foot was still bothering me so we ended up basking in the sun and taking in the views by the Loch for awhile. Compared to my family’s trip in June, it was amazing how different the lake looked. In June, so much of it had snow covering. Both times were stunning.
After a nice long break, we headed back downhill to the junction and decided to head back up to Mills Lake. This is by far my favorite lake. I soaked my aching foot in the icy cold water. Since it was sunny and not hailing, the mountain peaks looked a little different today. We hiked back down the way we came and arrived at the trailhead around 2pm.
For an early appetizer we visited a local restaurant, The Bird and Jim. We ordered a burger and pretzel sticks. The burger was delicious!
Storm clouds began to roll in to the mountain tops, but we were determined to watch a sunset on our last night so we set off in the car towards the Alpine Visitors Center. We were not disappointed. While the road on the way up was cloaked in fog, as the ground rose higher we began to climb above the clouds.
Mountain peaks and a great pink ball of a sun became visible. Clouds blanketed the slopes lower down, providing a stunning view.
A coyote trotted alongside the car, and then the mountain ridge right up against the sunset.
Truly amazing. We drove around and got out at various points until the sun fully set and it became dark.
https://www.birdandjim.com/ –> Bird and Jim
http://www.rockymountainhikingtrails.com/the-loch.htm –> The Loch trail