|Hike Distance||8.5 miles Round Trip|
|Duration||Approx 5-7 hrs Round Trip|
|Trail Type||Out and Back|
|Starting Elevation at Glacier Gorge Trailhead||9240′|
|Elevation Gain||Approx +2350′|
|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