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Absolutely beautiful trail!! It was hard packed - we did it with yak trax and had no issues. Stunning views the entire time!

4/21/18 Drop dead gorgeous views at every step! It has moderate steepness but the rewarding views are worth it! Definitely need microspikes! Some spots were a bit slippery/on edge!

backpacking
1 day ago

A few friends and I hiked this trail about 2 weeks ago right after it snowed about 3 feet. It was the most beautiful and breathtaking hike I’ve ever done.

Hiking in the snow! Great scenery along the way! Many folks had skis or snow shoes, but I was just fine with crampons and poles. I had a really hard time with the lungs of flatlander, but you feel awesome when you come off that last ridge.

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.

Lovely!

hiking
3 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
5 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.

Hiked the mostly packed trail today with just boots. Was able to make it to the cabins with relative ease. The snow is less packed the farther up you go, but still a nice and easy hike with amazing views. Loved it! It says 6.1 miles but with only boots we could really only make it about 4.

What a gorgeous hike! Went up on 4/15 and the snow is well packed the whole way to the valley and did not need snowshoes. A little post-holing up by the mining cabins if you get off the path but not bad at all. Nice, easy hike with spectacular views.

snowshoeing
10 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!

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.

Did this 4/11 with microspikes and poles with no issue-trail was pretty packed. Saw multiple people skiing. Beautiful views, plenty of parking, fun day!

hiking
11 days ago

Beautiful trail!

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.

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

This is not a "bang for your buck" kind of hike, like the big name hikes out of the main RMNP east entrance. I ran into several tourists near the entrance who seemed disappointed with the hike. Instead this is a hike for solitude and being in the wilderness. Really nice water features along the hike and pristine woodland. If you need some peace and quiet then this is your hike.

We clocked 8.25 miles accounting for the extra 2 miles (1 each way) due to the winter parking lot as well as some wandering around the falls. we had snowshoes but never used them, however I suggest having them right now just in case. The waterfalls will be a lot more exciting in a month or so.

hiking
16 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.

Beautiful snow covered trail just don't venture off snow is about 3-4 feet deep. hiked it today in just normal hiking boots.

hiking
20 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
21 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
21 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)

snowshoeing
23 days ago

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

hiking
23 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.

I continued up to the second and third lake. It was well worth it. The meadow above the first lake was full of wildflowers. Beautiful!

snowshoeing
28 days ago

This was a great hike but it was 1.7 miles to the actual trailhead from the parking lot and after about .8 miles the snow was so deep we had to turn around. Nobody had gone beyond our turn around point... views were amazing and can’t wait to come back and do it in the summer!

Hiked this trail in late September 2017. Be sure to pack good rain gear. A standard cheap rain coat from Walmart will work half way up the incline, but the cold will begin to make it easier for the fabric to tear. Wear good hiking shoes (water resistant if possible), the trail will be wet especially if it's snowing/raining.

Great views the whole way! Pristine lakes! Go when weather is nice, the trip will be much more enjoyable.

snowshoeing
29 days ago

Feb 25 2018 - Beautiful morning snowshoeing adventure. Great forest coverage throughout, with some sporadic views of the St Vrain valley that you're trekking through. It was snowy enough to require snowshoes. The frozen cascades are pretty spectacular. You do have to walk about a mile to the trailhead in the winter from the open parking lot, which is a bit of a bummer. [3.8/5]

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