Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The Loch, Rocky Mountain National Park

September 1, 2016

Distance: 7.7 miles
Time: 5 hours 25 minutes
Elevation gain: 1,979'
Altitude: 9,317' - 10,271'

Parking: Bear Lake Trailhead

Map: National Geographic Longs Peak (301)

Year to Date Miles: 537.3

Start at park ranger station
Trail splits immediately
Stay left towards Alberta Falls
Pass Alberta Falls
Stay straight where North Longs Peak trail leaves to the left
At 4 way intersection stay straight towards The Loch
Hike to The Loch
Turn around and hike back to the 4 way intersection
Turn left towards Lake Haiyaha
After 1 mile turn left and take trail .2 miles to Lake Haiyaha
Turn around and hike .2 miles to intersection
Turn left towards Dream Lake
Pass Dream Lake on left (Dream Lake and Emerald Lake can be done to extend this hike)
Pass Nymph Lake on right
Take a quick look at Bear Lake on left
Return to parking area

This was our first day in RMNP, so we didn't get an early start. Parking was difficult. We had planned to park at the Glacier Gorge parking area but it was full. So we tried Bear Lake - where we had to circle around the lot a few times until a space freed up. A lot of people must just visit Bear Lake, so parking spaces do eventually fee up. More organized people take the hiker shuttle.

My favorite part of this hike was The Loch. I love glacial lakes! We took a rest there and were entertained by the pikas hoping for handouts. They are very brave. No putting down your energy bars!

Getting to Lake Haiyaha is a scramble. It's sort of a puzzle to figure out where to go. The water is an unusual shade of green. It started thundering while we were there so we started heading to the trailhead. 

We saw lots of people heading off to Dream Lake and Emerald Lake. If it wasn't thundering, we would have too. Nymph Lake was tiny and not particularly exciting. Lots of people too, since it is less than a mile to the trailhead. Bear Lake was pretty, but again too many people, since it is just a few feet from the trailhead.

Good hiking day for us. We found that our hearts are pounding a lot and we both got headaches. But an awesome hike.

Ground squirrel - they are incredibly brave

Approaching The Loch

Lake Haiyaha

Storm in the distance

Some aspens are starting to turn yellow

Nymph Lake

On the way back to Estes Park

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