Explore next year - 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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hiking
7 hours ago

Hiked up to the lower lake this past weekend. Microspikes were helpful. I wore gaiters, but my partner was fine with just waterproof pants. We continued on to the second lake with the goal of making it up the pass and encountered pretty deep snow. The trail was snowed over completely and there was a good amount of post-holing and route-navigation. A snowstorm began mid-way through our hike and continued for hours so I'd expect a lot more of the trail might be covered by now. Didn't see any other parties though.

I think the "Hard" rating is a bit generous unless you don't normally hike at this altitude and grade.

great hike! be sure to wear layers as it is extremely windy at the top by the lake. few patches of ice

hiking
4 days ago

Great there and back walk on a great path - was snowing on the way out, sunny and clear on the way back - great views. Starts at 9000ft above sea level but we were fine

6 days ago

Slightly snow packed at the top, but beautiful and we almost had the trail to ourselves.

hiking
7 days ago

Great trail. My family and I hiked it in July. Still snow on the ground in places. Beautiful views. Bring a camera and a water bottle.

hiking
7 days ago

Hiked this trail 10/26/18. If you’re looking for a nice, easy and scenic hike this is the place. Every corner you turn is picture worthy. At the time the lakes were partially frozen over. The closer you got to Emerald Lake the more slippery the trail got. I didn’t need crampons but I’m sure now you’ll need them. 10/10 hike it’s a must see.

Definitely a hike you should go on when you’re in the rocky! The views are amazing! The hike was not too difficult, but it will get crowded towards the day! Overall amazing place to explore!

Started early about 8am. Trail was very muddy in sections but was frozen on the hike up from cold overnight temps, but was starting to thaw on the hike down. By mid-day will be very messy. Several sections of ice but we did not put on our spikes as the sections were not too long or steep. Freeze-thaw conditions in sections, but dirt and clear trails for most of the hike.

Hiked 11/2/18. Lots of snow and wind chill, but overall awesome hike. Hiked in my hiking shoes + poles without spikes and was just fine. All the lakes are frozen which makes for gorgeous photos!

I hiked to emerald lake on 11/1/18 and it was a snowy wonderland! I am glad I had micro spikes because it was slick in spots but with the spikes it was not a problem. I started hiking around 9:30 and only 4 couples were in front of me hiking. As I came down there were many more people. It was nice to have the Trail mostly to myself on the hike up so I could enjoy the views uninterrupted. I am not a hiker and came from sea-level the evening before and I could certainly tell my lungs were adjusting to the altitude. I did the the whole hike and 1x around bear lake in just under 2 hours.

This is a beautiful very busy trail after a long ride on Dallas Creek Road parking can be extremely difficult.

Hiked this on 10/22. Parking is limited, but pretty sure the trail is accessible from another (Bear Lake) lot further down the road. We had a limited amount of time so this was perfect. I would consider this more of an out and back trail, than a loop. The first mile zig zags immediately UP a dirt path. There is zero tree cover, so you might want a hat. You are rewarded with stunning views looking out towards Longs Peak during the entire ascent. It’s not too difficult, but we did see a woman turn back because of her knees. It’s a good quick workout that leads you quite suddenly into a dense forest at the top — for a short trek to the lake. Overall, two different experiences on one trail. We probably missed the best views because we didn’t go around the lake (the loop part of the trail.) So I’d recommend doing that. But as mentioned, exquisite views the whole way up and down! (See photos) I’d definitely do this again, and allow more time to explore the lake and connecting trails! (I might add that a few in our group did this successfully in gym shoes, but there was ice in the woods and lots of snow around the lake.)

Fun trail. Great views, scramble up the back side of gem wall of you're comfortable for a stunning 360 degree view.

hiking
14 days ago

Hiked today, 10/29/18. Take county road 7 (Dallas creek) literally until it ends. Its a bit further than the directions tell you-- but no worries you get there. I started my hike at 9:45am and reached the second lake in 3 hours. Just about 2 miles in (around the Mt. Sneffels wilderness sign) I stopped and put on my micro spikes and gaiters. Gaiters weren't needed until the VERY end and spikes were hit or miss but it definitely made it much easier to maneuver.

I made it easily to the lower lake and it was GORGEOUS. I continued on upwards to the second lake and the views of the lower lake were incredible. The snow drift was quite strong and foot prints started to get scarce and it also felt like I was being pelted with small ice from the winds on the back side of the mountain. I looked at the second lake and it was 70% frozen over so I decided to turn back as I was hiking alone. It is definitely worth traveling up there for the views of the lower lake though! If you go that high definitely spikes and gaiters this time of year!

Definitely beautiful. I only saw 2 other hikers all day which was amazing =)

trail running
14 days ago

10/28/18 Went out first thing in the morning. Gorgeous views on the climb up to the lake. Couldn’t really run the first portion due to the climb but no biggie since the elevation and incline alone is a great workout.

Beautiful fall hike (10/27/18) with great views. Don't worry - there actually is a lake at the end

hiking
16 days ago

Amazing opportunity for incredible views with not that much effort. If you have time head to Lake Haiyaha. Its well worth it. (Review for Lake Haiyaha and Emerald Lake Trail). I got to Bear Lake trailhead at 8am Sunday. Very few cars. I had the whole trail to myself pretty much. I did Emerald Lake and then on the way back turned and headed to Lake Haiyaha. I'm glad I did because it was the best part. Its steeper and harder then Bear Lake trail. At the end there are a bunch of boulders to scramble over to get to the lake. Be careful, I fell, snow is deep and make sure you know how to get back to the trail. Its not as easy as it looks. Really incredible. Wear traction. Wear traction. When I came down the whole lot was full and there was a mile long line of cars trying to get in but they were routed to the visitor center.

Beautiful hike!! Rent shoe spikes and poles at a local hiking store in town or bring a walking stick at least. Parts of this trail are SLICK ice. I’d rate this trail as moderate. I could definitely feel the elevation climb! Well worth your time. We got there at 930 on Saturday with a few parking spots left. By the time we left at noon parking lot was full/closed.

Great hike (Sat) Oct 26. This was a great choice for a cool Fall day. The hike up would be brutally hot in the summer. The lake is gorgeous. We chilled out and drank some coffee and just enjoyed the gorgeous view. We hiked around the lake and then added on 1-1/2 miles on another trail for fun since this was a relatively short and easy hike. All uphill at the beginning with beautiful views of the mountains. We arrived around 9am and there were three parking spaces at the Bierstadt TH which was awesome because we were an hour later than we planned and there was no parking at Glacier Gorge (as usual) when you show up after 7:30-8am.

This is one of the most popular trails in Colorado and for good reason! If you go on the weekend it will be tricky to find a parking spot. This is a moderate hike with huge rewards, stunning views!! If you only have time for one hike in CO do this one or st Mary’s Glacier.

hiking
17 days ago

Great hike with great views! Each lake was spectacular. There is ice/snow packed in certain spots. We rented spikes and poles from a shop in Estes Park for $9 for the day...I would definitely recommend it!

Beautiful views!!

Beautiful views at each lake. Still icy in patches but so worth it!

Still very crowded on weekends but an easy hike with great views. Definitely wear or rent microspikes for your boots. People were slipping all throughout the hike and it will take away from your enjoyment if you don’t have them.

Beautiful hike for all skill levels. Recommend walking sticks because the trail was snowy and very icy at points. A lot of people were slipping with out proper footwear and walking sticks. Beautiful scenery with several lakes along the way. Check out bear lake also!

Perfect family hike! Start at bear lake, make your way to emerald and then before you head home walk to the Alberta falls.. was so much fun!!

Beautiful views!!

hiking
21 days ago

great hike, but we would recommend yak trax or similar foot wear. current conditions are snow packed and icy on about half the trail. not impassable, but coming down around 11am was a bit slick without extra traction. overall, it's all it's cracked up to be.

This trail was gorgeous! Hiked it 10/21/18, spikes would have been helpful and probably safer, the trail was icy. For parking, either get there early on a weekend or take a shuttle if you can, there isn't much parking and it gets competitive.

21 days ago

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