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on Emerald Lake Trail

3 days ago

I tried to go there today but the road is closed during government shutdown

In this side of the park, Alberta Falls is the entrance location to most trails. It’s very pretty, but there’s definitely a lot of foot traffic.

Whenever I go hiking, I zoom right by because there’s always so many people. The further back you get into the mountains, there’s (obviously) less and less people.

Beautiful!

I was able to jog this up and down in just running shoes with a little caution. It’s gorgeous in the winter! Make sure to go the extra couple hundred feet to sprouting rock.

snowshoeing
14 days ago

The snow on the trail is packed so it is easily visible although completely covered. Trail is not overly difficult and the views along the way are spectacular.

Spikes required in winter, but the trail has plenty of traffic that snowshoes are probably overkill. Lovely even in winter. Arrive super early, the line for parking when we left was outrageous.

Best hike ever!

This has to be one of the best hikes in Colorado. The trail head is easy to access and the trail is short but steep w/ some scrambling. I did see children on the hike so that trail is family-friendly but the steep, sharp rocks would not be ideal for dogs. I completed this hike in about 3 hours in the summer so it was fairly hot - wear proper shoes and bring lots of water. The views are definitely worth the steep climb!

hiking
20 days ago

One the best hikes ever for our family (completed on 12/26). Totally worth every single step to a winter wonderland. Hiked with my wife and kids 12 and 6. We took plenty of stops for the kids on the way up. Some areas were icy and steep. Strongly recommend good quality snow boots with traction devices attached to them. We got ours from Summit Canyon Mountaineering in Glenwood Springs. They were worth every penny we paid.

hiking
20 days ago

You can’t say you’ve hiked in Colorado without hiking this trail. One of my all time favorites!!

hiking
23 days ago

Completed this in part with Dream lake. Really slippery and busy. We arrived at trailhead lot a little before 7 and it was half full. When we were done, there was a line about a half mile long with cars waiting to get in.

snowshoeing
24 days ago

Nice little hike any time of year, just be prepared with snowshoes if a fresh snow or spikes during winter time.

Huge coniferous trees and rushing mountain brooks made this trail gorgeous all the way through. My favorite part of visiting Glenwood Springs, hands down! My mother had a bit of a hard time "going straight up", but even she said it was worth it.

hiking
27 days ago

Hey Guys,

This was a pretty amazing trip. Although it cannot compete with my June 2017 trip I took with family and a real close friend.

Today, I left Estes Park near 9am and arrived at the trail head shortly after to a parking lot of maybe 10 cars and 20 degrees most of the trip. The road up to the trail head had some really good ice patches so just watch your speed.

I did not need to use my snow shoes or micro spikes along any part of the journey. I did use my trek poles which may have offset the need for my spikes. I did post hole in a few places, but nothing bad.

Even for twenty degrees is was really nice and I saw quite a few people along the way. If you plan on going all the way to Emerald Lake, please have the right shoes and not jeans. I saw so many people in sweatpants and jeans where the leg portion from the knee down look as if it was beginning to freeze. You may feel warm as you are moving but once you stop, you will feel the pain.

There are quite a few places to rent snow shoes, gaiters and poles close by. I’ve rented from Estes Park Mountain Shop before and really enjoyed the service. Whether you go here or another place, the rentals are decent prices and will save you some heartache.

For Nymph Lake:

If you are traveling further than Nymph Lake, then you will probably be walking across the icy lake at some point. If you go the way I did, you could lose the actual trail. If you do cross to the left like I did, yes it is shorter but you lose site of the trail. Well here is a TIP. When you cross the left side, look for a bench to your right. The trail is easily marked beyond this and you can follow it up to the main trail leading to Dream Lake. I included a photo of the bench in this from August 2017 from Google Maps.

Dream Lake:

I skirted around the shore of this lake as the trail is unrecognizable here. Also going around the shore on the ice is pretty relaxing and level. Once I got to the end of Dream Lake, I easily spotted the trail continuing to Emerald Lake. Although as you are walking along the lake’s edge you can see the walls of the mountain ahead of you and really think you are at the end on the lake and cannot believe there is one more lake. Well there is!!

Emerald Lake:

The end of the road. I took a walk to the middle of the lake and took a really fun 360 degree photo using an app called “Street View” by google. A really cool way to take photos anywhere. I would hope that you practice using the app at home prior to trying it out in nature, 20 degrees and wind whipping though at times.

Have a fun and safe trip. Remember to hydrate before your trip even though the colder temperatures fool you into thinking you are fine. If hiking alone, let someone know where you will be and don’t deviate from the plan useless they know.

Also, there is sporadic cell service here.

Fun to walk/slide on the ice covered lakes and slide in the snow. We wore tennis shoes and made it just fine without fancy equipment. There were several spots where we slid down the hill on our rears—very fun! Be prepared to fall in the snow!

hiking
1 month ago

Hiked 12/7. This is a challenging uphill trail. We are experienced hikers from Boulder and we’re still out of breath! Must use spikes or some kind. You would not be able to use snowshoes. Totally worth the effort - we had the lake all to ourselves and it is just as gorgeous, probably more so, than the photos show. Recommend continuing up to spouting rock after visiting the lake - it’s about a 2 minute walk up to a beautiful waterfall. One thing that doesn’t get mentioned often about this trail is the canyon - it’s stunning, especially in the snow. This hike is definitely worth the hype!

Easy for the out-of-towners but still well worthwhile.

Now I know why this trail is so popular. Did this trail on 10/25. Beautiful day. Some icy patches, but did not need spikes. I want to go back and see this place again in winter, spring, and summer.

snowshoeing
1 month ago

Beautiful
Doable in regular hiking boots
Went on a Sunday at 11am and was moderately traveled
Lots of available parking

hiking
1 month ago

I always love this hike! Today was probably the most windy day I've had there thus far, at the lakes, but still beautiful! I started out around 9:40am, plenty of parking in the lot. I used my crimp-ons until just after nymph lake, then switched over to the snowshoes. There were quite a few people making it to Emerald lake with just the crimp-ons. That said there was a lot of post holing as well! I would recommend having your snowshoes with you. And to Arizona ( just moved here from AZ) have fun playing this winter! and maybe I'll see you snowshoeing next time;)!

Great hike. Wore spikes to nymph lake then switched to snowshoes for rest of way. Trail was fairly well packed but a step off the trail and you quickly realize how deep the snow is. Got to dream lake and some hikers were ice skating. Walked across frozen lake and pressed to emerald.. some elevations getting to dream and emerald but nothing too long. Wind was down which made for a nice walk in the woods.

Awesome hike!

hiking
1 month ago

Just up there today, winds out of the west with gusts that had to be 60 mph. Hike out past nymph lake was calm, but approaching dream lake winds really picked up.. high drifting past dream lake, without snow shoes you can’t get beyond the last hundred yards or so to emerald lake. Still a beautiful and awesome hike despite the winds. Only got up to 9F, gear held up nicely

Beautiful hike for all skill levels.

My husband and I did this hike yesterday afternoon. We were surprised to see only two other cars at the trailhead when we arrived a around 12:30pm. We saw two hikers on the way to the lake and then had lake/waterfall to ourselves. I thought for sure it would be crowded and was happy to be wrong. The trail was snow packed. Visually, it looked like a winter-wonderland. The trees were lightly dusted in snow. We both had our yaktraks on and I was thankful for them multiple times throughout the hike. Definitely some slippery spots, especially on the way back down.

snowshoeing
1 month ago

Nice show shoe, plenty of snow now.

hiking
1 month ago

Wind was intense once we reached Dream Lake! Got out of the wind by staying along the bank in the trees, but would've been much more difficult if we didn't have snowshoes.

Decent views. Cold around the lakes so don't quit. Snow shoes make it easier after dream lake. Emerald lake is gorgeous

Love this hike! Did it in 1.5 hours with crampons - highly suggest them! There were a couple people with just boots who made it, but it looked difficult. Had the lake to ourselves :)

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