Bear Lake to Howell Park is a 9.2 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Estes Park, CO that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.
This is absolutely a beautiful and peaceful hike. If you begin at the Hollowell trailhead, just be aware that the majority of the trip is uphill...if you're looking for something easier, begin at Bear Lake and go to Hollowell Park. Most of the hike is through the trees with a stream running along side. If you are looking for good views, the are mostly on the Bear Lake side. The shuttle service at the park is totally on point, the Bear Lake parking lot fills up early in the morning. I would suggest parking at the park and ride and catch the shuttle to the trailhead. I got to the Hollowell parking lot by 9ish, but when I got back around 1ish, it was full.
Hollowell Park Trailhead to Bear Lake is approximately a greater than 1,000 foot climb. I do recommend taking a three minute detour following Cub Lake trail and you will stumble upon a lovely aspen grove, pretty majestic! My college-aged kids were patient with me and allowed me to pace the uphill climb with little disruption to their own enjoyment--watching nature in its abundance at every turn! Bear Lake was magical--the sun broke through as we arrived mid-afternoon. Lots of delightful nature photos. Holiday weekend at this park is pretty hectic. On the return, my kids indulged me with a well-deserved shuttle ride back from Bear Lake back to Hollowell--the shuttle service needs TLC (unlike the jewell of Yosemite shuttle ease) Cheers!
This is an out/back hike from Hollowell Park to Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park. The trail starts west from the Hollowell Park trailhead along Mill Creek. This part of the trail is relatively flat with only a short, moderate climb just before the Cub Lake Junction. Turn left (south) at the Cub Lake trail junction, cross Mill Creek and continue along a long, but minor climb to the Mill Basin Backcountry camping sites. Continue South and begin climbing a long, moderate-steep hillside to the Bierstadt Lake Junction. Take the right fork and continue climbing to the saddle between the Mill Creek drainage and Bear Lake. Upon reaching the Bierstadt/Bear Lake junction, turn right and descend to Bear Lake. You will intercept the Flattop Mountain Trail about 1 mile from Bear Lake. On returning follow your outbound path to the Bierstadt/Bear Junction, remembering that the long moderate descent before is now a long moderate climb. Here turn right to continue to Bierstadt Lake. Take a counterclockwise tour around Bierstadt Lake. Upon encountering the Bierstadt/Mill Basin Junction turn right to descend to the Mill Basic Backcountry campsites the retrace your steps along Mill Creek back to the Hollowell Park trailhead.