Trail Snapshot: Shelf Lake Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park
- Hike Distance: 8.5 miles Round Trip
- Difficulty: Difficult
- Duration: Approx 5-7 hrs Round Trip
- Trail Type: Out and Back
- Starting Elevation at Glacier Gorge Trailhead: 9240′
- Elevation Gain: Approx +2350′
- Seasons: Mid-Summer-September
- Dogs: Dogs Prohibited in RMNP
- Hike Trail Map: National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map
- Denver Drive Time: 2 hr
- Driving Directions to Glacier Gorge Trailhead: Click for Google Map
- Town Nearest Hike: Estes Park, Colorado
- Beauty: Waterfalls, wildlife: elk, deer, marmots; meadows, lakes, streams, wildflowers
- Activities: Hiking, photography, fishing
- Fee: Park Pass Required
Tips & Resources for Hiking to Shelf Lake Falls in Glacier Gorge RMNP
- Start Very Early: Because this hike is so demanding, and because thunderstorms jet through Glacier Gorge on many summer days, it’s wise to begin the journey early in the morning.
- Parking: If the parking lot is full at Glacier Gorge Trailhead, there is a shuttle available to take you to the trailhead, or you can park at the Bear Lake Trailhead.
- Bring Food: My legs were shot after hiking back to the main trail, and my energy was waning. I had packed a few snacks, but wish I had packed more. So, bring something to give you an energy boost for your hike back to the Glacier Gorge Trailhead.
- Trekking Poles: Trekking poles proved really helpful, especially in navigating the descent.
- Recommended Map for Rocky Mountain National Park: The trail maps provided by Rocky Mountain National Park are usually sufficient. However, if you plan to hike RMNP often, we recommend purchasing a National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map.
- Packing List: Always pack the 10 Essentials. Download our Hiking Guide to get list and dayhiking packing checklist.
- Colorado Road Conditions: Colorado Road Conditions
- After the Hike: Inkwell & Brew Coffee
Map & Driving Directions
Click for Driving Directions