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Did this hike 04/20/2018. Before getting to the entrance of the park, you drive very slowly through unpaved dirt road not leveled at all. The entrance to the park is $8 per vehicle. Once you enter the park the bathrooms are right at the entrance, no more bathrooms after that. The park is breathtaking. The hike is through canyons, steady incline going up, no climbing over rocks or difficult obstacles. I would rate this easy if you get tired just take more breaks. There is also a trail called Fowler Trail you can do after this hike. Fowler is a super easy trail, the views are amazing, plenty of places for pictures.

This was my first hiking experience in Colorado and I’ll never forget it. There are several scenic places along the trail that would each be worthy destinations. The last of the lakes on the trail, Emerald Lake, is a generous reward for a moderate half-day hike.

hiking
2 days ago

What an amazing view at the top! This is a great hike to take visitors to. It's not too long, not too hard, and such an amazing payoff at the end!

As always, start early!

Extremely popular trail. We started at 6:30 in the morning and didn't have to share Emerald Lake with too many people, so going early will earn you a little more serenity. It's gorgeous all the way there.

Hiked this on a Monday, 4/16 ~0930. Only shared the trail with 1 other couple but the lot was filled by the time we left. Microspikes absolutely needed, gorgeous hike! Can be difficult to find the trail at first, just take a left at the huge boulder after Nymph

hiking
3 days ago

We hiked this with 4 kids aged 5 through 9. We made many stops along the way but was delightfully enjoyed by all. We were there in July, the trail was crowded but less so as we passed the first two lakes. We swam in the lake, it was wicked cold, and then basked in sun on the large rocks to dry off. Great times by all.

I loved all the different colors and scenery on this hike. Lots of different plants and flowers. The beginning of the trail was probably the hardest and strongest incline, after that it's fairly flat. There was some snow when I went and certain areas were kinda slippery so be mindful of the weather. Beautiful trail.

I got to the trailhead about 11am on a Monday (04/16) and only crossed paths with a handful of people. I loved that the trail offered areas of dense tree coverage, enormous boulders and rock walls, and views of the creek from above and at ground level. There were only a few icy spots left.
*I used this app to pull up directions on Google Maps however it directed me to turn too soon at a place where there was no actual turn. So, if you use google maps drive past where it tells you to make the final turn, go right at the fork and you'll find the sign for the parking lot on your right about .5 mile from where Google told you to turn.*

hiking
5 days ago

hiking
7 days ago

Very nice trail with beautiful views from higher up trail.

snowshoeing
8 days ago

(8 p.m. - 11 p.m.) Snowing at Bear Lake parking lot and all the way through Emerald Lake. Nymph and Dream both had water on top of the ice and had to walk along their shores. Used crampons from the parking up to Dream Lake and then switched to snowshoes. Wind has always picked up at the start of Dream Lake, with the snow visibility was poor, needed to use a head lamp to and from Emerald Lake. It was a good trip!

Good gradual incline! Great views and not very heavy traffic!

Crowded today. Steady hike up to the ruins. The views were good. I guess one can easily be spoiled by Colorado's other scenic vistas, but neat none the less if this is your first time. Patches of snow and ice on the trail; quickly melted by the afternoon.

Great for most levels of ability. No need for snow shoes, was just fine in microspikes, probably wouldn’t recommend without. Beautiful views throughout the hike.

Very beautiful for being so close to town!

Beautiful, fun hike! Did on 4/11 and traction definitely helped, especially coming down. You definitely don’t need snowshoes right now though. The trail is pretty easy to follow for the most part. Just make sure when leaving Nymph Lake, you go on the left side of the rock, not the right.

hiking
12 days ago

4/9- beautiful hike. Still some snow and ice in areas. We put on spikes after about a quarter mile and only needed them in some spots but were glad to have them! An easy walk through the woods. Mostly flat. The river goes along side the trail the whole way. The forest reminded me of hikes I’ve done in the PNW. A very peaceful setting. Saw lots of moose and bear tracks.

Words can’t describe the beauty of the entire hike. Not a bad hike at all good for everybody

hiking
15 days ago

Very beautiful area, you’ll definitely need micro spikes and trekking poles, it made a world of difference even on the easy bear lake hike. Unfortunately we got lost after nymph lake and had to turn back. Wish there was some visual marker after nymph lake.

The mountain shop is 30 minutes away, not 12 minutes as one reviewer posted so best to get the spikes first.

walking
18 days ago

My husband and I loved it. It was a very easy hike with beautiful views the entire way. It took us about 2 hours round trip. We will definitely do it again!

hiking
19 days ago

Went 3/24 and was still snow covered. Only had tennis shoes and was doable, but we were slipping a little bit on the way down. Absolutely gorgeous trail though. Competitive parking be prepared to wait or get there early

hiking
19 days ago

We hiked 4/1. There was a group of 6 of us new to hiking in CO, in snow. We hiked around Bear Lake as a test run and realized despite waterproof and good hiking shoes, microspikes is definitely a game changer. The ranger suggested we rented then at Estes Park Mountain Shop (12min away). Definitely worth it! They're $8/day and makes a world of difference. With that we decided to try the Emerald Lake Trail which has beautiful and breathtaking views! The view is so worth it when you get to the end. You get to pass Nymph Lake and Dream Lake on the way. Trail is very snowy and icy, a lot of the snow already packed from other hikers. General good rule we found is stick left going up and stick right going down until you get to Dream Lake. This hike is such a great hike for us snow hiking newbies and really gave us a great first start in hiking in snow. Trekking poles were really helpful for us and I would recommend. Microspikes I would highly recommend. Despite the wind and cold, we were able to hammock at the end to enjoy the wonderful view. It took us 2 hours (took 30 min break for lunch) to get there but that's with many stops because most of us were use to not hiking at a higher elevation and the steep parts winded a lot of us. We also stopped to take off layers since we were getting hot and great spots to take scenic pictures!

hiking
20 days ago

Very icy trails, definitely will want spikes. Ice is thin at the lakes outlets/inlets. Saw a few people get wet. (3/31/18)

Beautiful! Very slippery. You can make it without micro spikes but choose your footing very carefully and avoid the rounded frozen snow on certain trails (tons of people slipping hard!). Once you’re flat and able to walk on the lake, you can’t beat the incredible views especially if it’s clear!

I was just glad to see the trail was open this time of year. A lot of places in this area are closed due to the mud. Some of this trail was closed off due to the season, but it was still worth going. We liked that there was snow sporadically along the trail which made it a little more challenging with just sneakers on. I read reviews talking about the limited parking, but the gate keeper said that they let people know when it’s full which was comforting. We got lucky and got to park by the trail we wanted to go on, but you may not get as lucky as we did. Overall, we will definitely will be doing this one again to experience the entire trail during season.

Great little hike to get some vert in with nice views of Boulder Valley. No snow on 3/31, but there were a few muddy areas. All were easily avoidable except the very beginning, where the tunnel under the road was a massive puddle.

snowshoeing
21 days ago

Love this hike! Winter or summer. Moderate and BEAUTIFUL views.

hiking
21 days ago

this hike is still very snowy in the spring, but it isn’t too hard and offers a rewarding view at the end. don’t forget shoes with good traction.

hiking
23 days ago

Did this 3/29. Lake was still frozen over so you could walk over it. Can say much about the views is it was a white out the entire time. I had snow shoes but many had nothing at all. I would recommend at least micro spikes.

Road is closed!

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