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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hiking
11 hours ago

1.20.19: beautiful, we made it all the way without snowshoes just fine (did have spikes on our boots). It was PAINFULLY windy and cold both at Dream Lake and Emerald Lake (felt like North of the Wall on Game of Thrones) - highly recommend some kind of Buff Neckwear to pull over your face and either ski goggles or at least sunglasses for eye protection.

hiking
rocky
scramble
snow
1 day ago

Great hike but the winds were almost insurmountable. 50-60 mph gusts with biting wind and blowing snow. Not for the faint of heart. Got within visual distance of chasm lake but couldn't proceed without ice picks/axes. No trail, blown over and potentially very treacherous. Be careful!

hiking
2 days ago

Opened the park a few days ago after shuffling around some money. We made it to Dream Lake w/o snow shoes. It was incredibly windy there and everyone we saw turned back - definitely need snow shoes to go from Dream to Emerald. Great hike up to Dream, though.

hiking
4 days ago

Great weather yesterday at Chasm Lake! micro spikes from trailhead to lake and I was glad to have my ice axe for the last half mile. Be careful and enjoy!

hiking
5 days ago

Did this hike in mid November and it was amazing. We got hit by a decent amount of snow throughout the entire hike which just added to it. The silence walking on Dream Lake with nothing but the snow falling was stunning! Definitely rent spikes.

hiking
7 days ago

Broke a new trail past the ridge to the lake after the most recent snow. Definitely slick and exposed, but manageable with microspikes. Beautiful winter hike!

on Emerald Lake Trail

7 days ago

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

10 days ago

A must do

Hiked this trail in mid-September. Probably my most favorite trail ever. Well worth the scramble up the waterfall. Spectacular lakes set in a backdrop of towering mountains. And the colors were amazing. Definitely worth the effort to get there. Make sure to take the time to stop and enjoy the many views.

hiking
17 days ago

Hiked this loop during the peak Aspen color. Saw a Ptarmigan within the first 1/2 mile of trail heading up to the meadow and last was the last wild life for the day. Saw two people coming down from the meadow, and no one else until the meadow. They headed further east up to to Green Mountain, and we headed north, ccw around the loop. The hike was in the trees / shade the entire time. The river along the downhill northern most part of the loop was good to listen too. The trail was dry the entire loop.
Very secluded, which spooked my wife. Total distance was 7.7 miles covered in 3:15 hrs total time.

snowshoeing
18 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.

hiking
19 days ago

Classic hike. GREAT views towards the top - bit of a grind on the way. Bit of scrambling to get to the lake shore.

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.

Hiked 12/22/18--the day of the shutdown. The Loch Lake Trail was absolutely stunning. I arrived super early the morning that Rocky shut down, unaware of the government shutdown, so, fortunately, I was able to drive directly to the trailhead. I love snowshoeing and it was a gorgeous powder day and I got to break trail first, solo. It was cold, one of the coldest hikes I've done yet but I was fully geared up. Though I was first on the trail I could tell where the trail was as it wove around trees. About a mile and a half into the hike, two men passed me who were going ice climbing around Mills Lake. They were in hiking boots only. If you don't have snowshoes, you can't possibly walk in this deep snow. Be prepared. Have shoes, poles AND spikes. When I finally got to the lake, I literally ran the last 100 steps, I was so thrilled that I had made it, solo, and other than those two men, no one had passed me. It was very, very cold and windy at the lake. The lake appeared 100% frozen but given that I was solo, I was not going to walk on it. It was too cold to eat so I headed back down and tucked into the trees and ate very quickly and then started heading back down. I kept my snowshoes on, although usually I would have switched into spikes. I passed two other couples coming up the trail and then a few others and that was it. So, the trail wasn't packed down enough to wear spikes and the shoes worked great. It was about a 6.5-mile hike and I headed out of Rocky at 12:30pm and that's when I saw the rangers turning everyone away. I'm thrilled I was able to make this hike; the waterfalls and running water were absolutely gorgeous.

23 days ago

One of my favorites. Go in late Spring to see Columbine Falls at its finest.

One of the best in the park.

Beautiful midway point to stop and snack on your way to sky pond. Hiked on an early October day and the weather was perfect. Very serene and peaceful lake with amazing views and refreshing breeze. But keep going on past Loch...as the true treasure is Sky Pond and the waterfall before lake of glass. An amazing and rewarding day in RMNP

hiking
27 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.

hiking
27 days ago

What an amazing trail! The view points are unreal. My wife and I completed this in late October and some crampons were definitely needed!

Took our kids, 10 & 17, & they both also enjoyed this hike. Has spots where there’s some inclines you’ll need to rest from a bit & be sure to bring water and maybe a snack. The views keep getting better the farther you go. We went on a Friday and saw two other people. The trail was walked enough that we were fine in hiking boots but if you’re wearing sneakers you may need snow shoes.

Undeniably one of my favorites in Rocky Mountain. Typically pretty busy trail during the summer, and almost always a line around the waterfall climb, but doesn’t distract from the beauty at the top. One of the most fun hikes for the varying terrain and views.

snowshoeing
29 days ago

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

hiking
29 days ago

One of my favorites in Rocky Mountain. Be prepared for any kind of weather any time of year, and be aware of avalanche risk on the last 1/2 mile where you have to traverse an ice field during the winter. Above tree line for a long time, so almost guaranteed to run into heavy winds and turn around to tree line if weather looks threatening. enjoy it!

hiking
29 days ago

Super beautiful and incredibly easy! We went 12/21 and didn’t snowshoe. The snow was packed enough on the trail, but if you took one step off you’d be able knee deep in snow. So I’d recommend bringing a pair!

The views were flawless and it’s a great, easy hike.

Hiked 12/15/18

Beautiful morning in Rocky. Trails well-packed, microspikes completely sufficient and snowshoes not at all necessary; however I know that the mountains received a storm yesterday so unsure if these conditions are still the same. There was plenty of parking at the Bear Lake trailhead at 10 AM on that Saturday.

hiking
1 month 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.

1 month ago

Loved this hike, did it last weekend with a friend. Pretty challenging, some good elevation right off the bat and then some heavy winds up above the tree line. We did about 9’5 miles even though it’s only supposed to be 8. If you are going in the winter be wary of the final .5 mile of the path, it’s pretty icy and it’s right on the edge of a cliff. We had to to turn around because of the Ice so I’d recommend spikes / poles. If there is snow it’s easy to lose the path at the top so keep that in mind when you are hiking!
Get out there and do it!

Hiked this trail only wearing my micro spikes. Great hike!!! The waterfall wasn't that bad. Windy in some spots but I did most of the hike wearing a long sleeve T shirt. Got on the trail at 10 and the lot was full so we had to drop some of are party and hitch a ride... Took about 8 seconds to get a lift. Great day.

hiking
1 month ago

Great weather today. Hard-packed trail all the way to Chasm Lake - no need for snowshoes (or even gaiters, although they are a nice-to-have). Used microspikes and trekking poles for the snowfield. Definitely need some sort of traction because there aren't steps kicked all the way across.

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!

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