Rocky Mountain National Park: Loch Vale - Backpacker

Rocky Mountain National Park: Loch Vale

This 5.4-mile out-and-back in Rocky Mountain National Park leads to The Loch, a mountain lake ringed by spectacular granite cliffs.
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INFO For information on permits, current trail and camp conditions, and wilderness guidelines, go to

PERMIT A wilderness permit is required for all overnight camping in the backcountry. Reservations accepted ($20 administrative fee for permits during peak season).

CONTACT Rocky Mountain National Park, (970) 586-1206;

-Mapped by Jenn Fields

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 8.7



Location: 40.310388, -105.640336

Head southwest from the Glacier Gorge trailhead.


Location: 40.308479, -105.642015

Cross bridge over Chaos Creek.


Location: 40.307799, -105.642793

Turn right at Y-junction; follow signs for Loch Vale.


Location: 40.307639, -105.643442

Turn left at T-junction, following signs for Loch Vale. (These trails are well-marked.)


Location: 40.303847, -105.638394

Alberta Falls: This popular 25-foot-high waterfall pours over granite slabs into a pool.


Location: 40.299592, -105.639507

Turn right at Y-junction.


Location: 40.298426, -105.640061

The trail runs across the base of Glacier Knobs, two side-by-side, 10,000-foot mounds.


Location: 40.297432, -105.645947

Bear right at Y-junction. From here, the trail switchbacks up to The Loch.


Location: 40.293799, -105.655607

The Loch: This picturesque lake sits at the mouth of Loch Vale, a rugged, two-mile-long gorge. Take in this spectacular mountain scene before retracing your route back to the trailhead.

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