Explore RMNP - 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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Gorgeous hike on a gorgeous day. Spikes were essential up to the Loch, and poles were helpful after the trail splits to Hiyaha. Wind was brisk at the Loch but calm enough to break for a snack. We’d made good time and decided to try for Sky Pond. Definitely a good decision, but snowshoes would have been helpful. Wind was pretty calm at Sky Pond, and the views were fantastic. Definitely recommend doing the full hike in the winter if you haven’t!

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.

Only went as far as Mills Lake, but we hope to go farther next time. This hike is amazing. We saw bighorn sheep on the mountaintops above us, so don't forget to look up while you're there.

hiking
22 hours ago

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
1 day 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.

hiking
1 day ago

Kind of a crazy day today- winds reached up to 90 mph in the Denver area, and even in Estes the winds were blowing pretty bad (although not quite THAT bad). When we started off the hike, it was sunny and blue skies, with only a few clouds. By the time we got to the lake there were snow pellets slapping against our faces and we had to cover our faces as much as we could on the way down so we could see where we were going. We got pretty cold and wet, but the hike was worth it. Can’t wait to do this again in the summer!

hiked this morning 4/16/18, some snow and ice accumulated on the upper half of the trail, microspikes would have been helpful but was doable without. beautiful as always!

hiking
3 days ago

The trail was, for me, steep in a lot of places. I just took it slow (I'm not accustomed to the altitude), and was rewarded with fabulous views on the way up, and a nice little lake at the top.

hiking
3 days ago

Great Hike! Great views! Right now (Mid-April) there’s still a lot of snow - packed on the trail -about a mile from the summit. Crampons are recommended for that section but it can be done without - trekking poles were very useful as well. There’s some good uphills but it’s never too strenuous. If you’re in decent shape this will be a great hike! Please bring water! Saw so many tourists without water! It’s a 6 mile RT hike!

hiking
3 days ago

This trail will reward you with fabulous views and a particularly rewarding view of Estes Park as you crest the summit. I carried micro-spikes for the snow and ice but found I did not need to use them. The trail got busier as the day wore on, but the views are worth tolerating the traffic.

Hiked 4/14. Trail was mostly snow pack all the way to the Loch, after that snowshoes are a must unless you like postholing every step all the way to timberline falls. We had only poles and crampons but made the extra work easier. Otherwise trail was clear for the most part and views were awesome, with all the lakes well frozen.

snowshoeing
6 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.

hiking
7 days ago

This trail was great!! The views were amazing. The only downside was the wind at the top of the mountain. My husband and I were able to set up our hammocks at the top and eat lunch though - it was wonderful! I highly recommend!

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

Snow storm set in just as we got started. Glad we had snowshoes!

hiking
12 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.

13 days ago

Hiked today 4/5/18. Great weather and well maintained trials. The lake was half froze over and lots of people enjoying the views along the way. Only have been to Estes Park / RMNP 3 times and next to dream lake hike this is my 2nd favorite so far!

hiking
16 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
17 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
17 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)

Great trail for getting grand views of most of the northeastern side of RMNP. For those acclimated and in good shape this will be a nice leisurely hike to the summit with just a little push the last 10% or so. For out of state visitors not acclimated this will be challenging, but doable with a good pace and some perserverence.

The good news is that you do not need to do the entire trail to benefit from all of the views. Even doing half of the hike will get you a lot of payoffs!

Currently the trail is a mix of mud and intermittent snow/ice. Traction is not essential but you would probably be glad to have it, especially on the descent. We wore yak trax for the first half of the way down, and after taking them off I did slip a good number of times.

My first hike in the Rockies 45 years ago, and still one of my favorites in the world. I prefer the early fall, after the crowds but before the snow.

hiking
18 days ago

Great vistas and a well maintained trail. I would caution anyone with bad knees... definitely a stair master hike!

It is better to have snowshoes after Loch lake. The trail was clear most of the way but not close to the Timberline Falls.

snowshoeing
19 days ago

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

hiking
19 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.

Hiked 3/24 with spikes and poles. Beautiful hike, well worth the effort !

hiking
20 days ago

This trail was so beautiful, it was snowing on and off the entire way. I would love to go back when the lake isn’t frozen over. Lots of climbing with this one so prepare to be sore the next day if you’re a novice like myself.

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