Explore Colorado - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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road biking
1 day ago

Great ride with beautiful views! Went clockwise on trail which has you coming down the long hill on highway instead of going up. Free parking at Marina or a trailhead behind Holiday Inn.

Go early on a weekday to avoid crowds and be sure to do the Lake Hiyaha trail if you don’t mind an extra few miles! (Its worth it). Fairly easy trail with amazing views throughout.

beautiful trail, and an easy hike for all skill levels.

Beautiful! Pretty easy hike with some incredible views.

Good short hike, great views including Denver 30+ miles away. I did this hike on a Thursday late afternoon and only past 4-8 hikers heading up for sunset as I was heading down.

Traveling to trail head is a decent trek on a dirt road which doesn't require 4WD/AWD but does have washboard segments which keeps the speeds slow.

Loved it. Had to take the shuttle to the trailhead due to crowds. Definitely had some people on the trail but it didn’t impede the hike. Emerald Lake felt good on tired feet!

My wife and I arrived about 2:20 pm and found parking that Sunday at the trail head (9/16/18). It was a little packed on the trail, but as the hike continued the crowds thinned out. I think dream lake would be a better place to sit and have lunch rather than at nymph lake or emerald lake. Nymph lake had a lot of people while emerald lake didn’t have much room. This is a great fast hike with a very well built trail.

Gorgeous trail once you get past Nymph Lake.

een prachtige wandeling. geweldige vergezichten. wel veel klimmen maar het is het zeker waard.

hiking
3 days ago

Although this is definitely a crowded hike, the magnificent views around every turn made it worth it! All three lakes were beautiful. We made it to the Park & Ride area (on a Tuesday) about 10am and luckily found one of the last parking spots.

I do see everyone saying this is an easy hike. It is easy in that it has a well maintained path and is easy to follow. However, it is mostly stairs and uphill! So if you have bad knees or are out of shape, keep that in mind. This is not a “stroll along a path” type of easy. If you are a flat lander or from sea level, be mindful that stairs plus elevation will tire you out quickly. We saw all ages and shapes and sizes of people taking this hike and a lot were struggling. Take rests on the way up - no harm in resting and taking in the views! I recommend plenty of water and hiking shoes. Leave the flips flops at home and be prepared for high winds at Emerald Lake.

on Emerald Lake Trail

4 days ago

Gorgeous trail! The leaves are changing! Beautiful views along the way, it was very peaceful. Went today with my husband. I think it helped (as far as foot traffic) to be here on a weekday and also that we started a little after 5 pm—we only saw a handful of people. It was an awesome early evening hike for our first day here at RNMP!

We had a great time on this relatively easy trek. Trail mix fell into the Lake but we were able to retrieve it, and stayed dry in the smoothie container. But soooo many people in rmnp we will look for other places or maybe go once the weather detours most

Good quick sub 2 hour trip.

Absolutely beautiful hike!!

Probably the most rewarding easy hike suitable for the entire family in the park. My 3 year old daughter was able to do the majority of the hike on her own short of a few steep stretches towards the end. With about 0.9 miles between each of the three lakes on the trail, it makes for regular breaks and helps keep everyone motivated for the next stop. Each lake offers something a bit different with all having a slightly different appeal. Great hike to share with new visitors of all abilities and a perfect entry level hike to RMNP.

I hiked to the bottom lake on 15 September 2018. I probably should not have. wasnt ready for this trail. lol. know your limitations, then pass them by. awesome hike. so beautiful. friendly people along the way. 3 hours to the first lake for me. 2.5 hours back down. my goal is to get down to 1.5 hours going up. definitely recommend this hike. dont quit. the view is worth the a fib. lol

hiking
5 days ago

Great trails and views on the way to Dream Lake and then Emerald Lake... get there early as I had to use the park and ride at 7:00 am but it was very quick and free.

hiking
5 days ago

This is one of the most enjoyable hikes I have ever done. Gorgeous views the whole way. Mild ascent to the first lake followed by a short (but steep) climb to the upper lakes. Hiked this trail on 9/15 to enjoy the fall colors.

Beautiful trail, well maintained and gorgeous views throughout the whole hike. I would say it is more of an easy hike than a moderate, although the altitude coupled with a lot of stair climbing towards the end did take my breath away a few times (as someone who is used to 800ft above sea level, this is a big change for me).

We arrived to the trail head around 7:30am on a Friday morning and the parking lot was only about 25% full. The hike up was not crowded at all but it was getting significantly busier on the way down. I would suggest starting at 7.

Rugged trail. Amazing views.

This is my go-to hike for all my out of town visitors. Typically it is very crowded, but most people are courteous and friendly. Get an early start to get parking and be sure to bring water for the pup. Great views and a fun experience climbing the 143 stairs to the fire lookout tower and of course meeting Billy Ellis who has been stationed at the tower for over 33 summers!

Loved this hike! Amazing views!
Only issue was our gps took us down a county road that was full of rocks and we had off road for 5 miles. We took another way out and it was fine. If your gps tries to take you down a county road and it looks rough don’t go down it, it only gets worse unless you have a Jeep or 4 wheel drive. We were coming from Colorado Springs.

Easy and short hike. A lot of people in the trail, but the trail is large enough to make your way in front of others. Nice lakes.

Was a fun hike with a beautiful lake! At the time I went the water was cold but clear!

Beautiful and easy hike. Amazing in the fall.

Nice! Uphill 1st half then down way back. Plenty of shade along the way but no water for the doggo so bring some for them too! Great views from the lookout tower.

Good workout, kinda shaded making it nice during summer heat. Great views from top.

hiking
7 days ago

I loved this trail; I was there with the GirlTrek StressProtest weekend. Took awhile to get used to the altitude.... I’m from Southeastern PA.... but it was worth it for the gorgeous scenery & wonderful fresh air.

Beautiful hike with amazing aspen colors (went 9/14). The hike to Dream Lake was really mild, then it’s just lots of stairs to get to Emerald Lake, completely worth it! Definitely the best lake you pass of the four. The only reason this is getting 4/5 is because of the crowds. Even on a weekend it’s super busy, not everyone knows Trail etiquette so some people never let anyone pass. Finding parking can also be a hassle. There is a shuttle available from other lots.
The hike itself is awesome, the popularity while understandable is not ideal.

Amazing hike, well worth the trek up. It is hard as people have mentioned, but the lake is amazing.
I took another person's suggestion and parked at the bottom after the one lane bridge because I dont have 4wd. One note about that you have to turn right at the very first road after the bridge and the trail head is .7 miles up that road. I ended up walking up the main road and added another 2 miles to my trip.
A couple people have compared this lake to ice lake. They are both great hikes and unique. Personally I thought that ice lake had better panoramic mountain views going up but Columbine lake was way cooler. I would say that they are equally hard because ice lake is steep the whole way up. Columbine lake is steeper for the first two miles and then you have another mile or so of flat, and of course have to go uphill another quarter of a mile before you get all the way there.
Overall great hike!

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