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The west slope of Long's Peak drops 3000 feet into a rugged basin at the head of Glacier Gorge known as the Black Lake Cirque. Some of the most impressive walls and spires in Rocky Mountain National Park are found here towering above fields of wild flowers, ice-scoured slabs and jewel-like lakes comprising an alpine paradise of exceptional beauty (except for the mosquitoes). The rim of Glacier Gorge is formed by Half Mountain, Storm Peak and Long's Peak on the east; Keyboard of the Winds, Pagoda Mountain and Chief's Head Peak on the south; and by McHenry's Peak, Powell Peak and Thatchtop Mountain on the west. Spearhead and Arrowhead are satellite or island peaks within the rim of the gorge.
Begin from the Glacier Gorge Bus Stop (Trailhead) and follow the Glacier Gorge Trail to Black Lake. A useful shortcut branches right from the main trail just after the 4th stream crossing (about .55 mile) and regains the main trail just east of the Loch Vale Junction. As soon as you cross the log bridge over Icy Brook, you are in Glacier Gorge. This great trail continues to Mills Lake, Jewel Lake and eventually to Black Lake. From Black Lake the trail climbs along a beautiful cascade SE into the basin above Black Lake. From here, cairns indicate the line of least resistance into the upper cirque.
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Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Glacier Gorge:
Featured Route For Glacier Gorge
A Walk In The Park 5.5 4b 13 IV+ MS 4a CO : Alpine Rock : ... : A Walk in The Park
This ultra marathon spans (counter clockwise) the entire rim of Glacier Gorge traversing 8 summits in perhaps 15 miles. The 7 towers along the Keyboard of the Winds are not climbed. Begin at the Glacier Gorge Bus Stop. Take the Glacier Gorge Trail and ascend the Regular Route on Thatchtop. Traverse the summit and gain the Continental Divide via the Northeast Ridge of Powell Peak. Traverse Powell Peak and descend into McHenrys Notch. Climb east out of the notch (5.5, 300 feet) and traverse M...[more] Browse More Classics in CO
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