Explore rocky mountain national park - 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
2 hours ago

7/18/18: Stunning views! There are so many beautiful sights to see on this trail and I would highly recommend it. It’s worth the effort to make it all the way to Emerald Lake at the end. The trail is definitely moderate difficulty and being from a low-elevation place made it even harder for my wife and I.
Word to the wise, take all the comments about arriving early seriously. We arrived right at 7am on a Wednesday and the parking lot was 3/4th full at the Bear Lake Trailhead. It was completely full by 7:30 and cars were still pouring in looking for spots. The trails weren’t too crowded at 7, but by 9 there were tons of people on the trails and we frequently were either passing people or getting passed. There was always a steady stream of people coming in the other direction as we were descending. There are lots of families, big groups, and elderly people, so if you want to avoid that, start hiking no later than 7am on weekdays. Keep in mind that it does take a while to drive from the park entrance to the Bear Lake Trailhead/parking lot.

Short and sweet

hiking
6 hours ago

Went on a Monday morning and arrived about 10:30am and got to the summit about 12:30pm. It was a nice steady incline for most of the way. We took alot of breaks to take in all of the scenery. Parking was relatively full on a Monday and was moderately busy on the trail. Payoff is wonderful at the summit with lots of areas to break for lunch and snacks.

My boyfriend and I were here in the fall of 2017. I absolutely loved this hike! Though the lower portion of the trail was fairly crowded it was still really nice. I was shocked by the number of people hiking in sneakers, pull overs, or no jackets or hats, no water, etc. It was pretty cold/windy and icy already on some spots of the trail. By the time me got up to Emerald lake the wind was vicious but SO worth it. The sun was setting and made for some epic pictures. We are returning to RMNP in a few weeks. Can’t wait to walk this trail in the summer.

Walked this trail in January on a gorgeous clear day. It cemented my new found love of the Rockies!

Very busy due to the popularity, but an amazingly scenic hike. Nymph, Dream, and Emerald Lakes are all beautiful. My 8 and 5 year olds handled the hike just fine.

Beautiful and so fun to fish at, really enjoyed it

Stunning! We started on the Emerald Lake Trail, and then we took the Lake Haiyaha trail on our way back. When we left Lake Haiyaha, we took the trail back to the Glacier Gorge bus stop. It was lovely!

Emerald Lake Trail itself was easy if you were in shape and moderate if you aren’t. It’s well-maintained.

FYI - The parking lot is usually full by 7 or 7:30. Otherwise, you’ll have to park at the shuttle station and ride up. Shuttles run every seven minutes or so. They cram them full of people.

One of the MUST HIKES in the park in my opinion. Short, relatively easy hike that rewards you with breathtaking views. I rate it as EASY for experienced hikers and MODERATE for families. Do not stop at Dream Lake... go to the top, it is worth the extra 20 minutes or so. I recommend a sunrise hike to avoid crowds. Parking becomes rare after 7am in the summer so be prepared to take the shuttle if you sleep in. Mosquitos are a problem at the lakes in the morning, so plan accordingly to enjoy your time there. I suggest this as a first hike of the day, then go elsewhere when the buses begin to run. Enjoy!

Beautiful.

This trail is awesome because it gives people who can't hike to some of the other mountain lakes a chance to see one almost just as good. This trail is wheelchair accessible. The lake is beautiful and it is a great place to hike. The trail also connects to a large loop that connects several mountain lakes. You don't want to miss this one.

hiking
2 days ago

We did this hike this past weekend, on a Saturday. We got to the trailhead around 9:15am and there were lots of cars already parked all along the road. Luckily, there is plenty of space to park nearby, with lots of pull off areas near the trailhead. The hike is a bit steep in spots but is doable. The last .2 miles or so to the summit is pretty steep. The view from the top are great. It was a pretty heavily trafficked trail, but not too annoying. There was a lot of horse poop to dodge.

hiking
2 days ago

Listed well as a moderate hike. The views were breathtaking, and there are plenty of areas to stop and rest, if needed. As already mentioned, arrive very early (around 7AM) or later in the afternoon (after 5) to avoid the crowd and find parking. Definitely a hiking must for anyone visiting or in the area!

It was amazing! Very well marked trail. The lakes are evenly spaced out so you hike a little, then see a beautiful lake, hike a little more, see another one, and then hike a little further and you’re lead to the grand finally. Definitely recommend! Very rewarding!

hiking
2 days ago

As a first timer to the Rockies this was a nice easy introduction to the park, but start early to avoid high traffic. Arrived at trailhead around 6:30 on Saturday 7/14 and lot was half full. If you want more challenge and a more beautiful scenic lake, take the trail to Lake Haiyaha where the trail splits at Dream Lake, either after Dream or coming back from Emerald. The views going up are more breathtaking and more iconic than what you would see going to Emerald.

Gorgeous views. Easy half mile hike. Perfect for kids.

Steep ascent. Brilliant sunrise over Dream Lake.

hiking
3 days ago

Great hike for views over Estes. The lake was a little disappointing. Definitely start early to avoid the crowds.

High traffic beautiful scenery but if you want solitude and a challenge for a 20-25 year old it is not what you are looking for.

Great hike but can get a bit crowded

Unbelievably amazing hike! Steady inclines at times but overall a pretty doable trail by anyone.
I arrived at 6:30pm on a Saturday and the parking had empty spots. Saw a ton of people at the beginning of the trail but the further you go the less people you’ll see.
A lot of bugs when you hike at a later time so bring some bug spray with you! Also, bring a flashlight just in case you need it!

Crowded but so beautiful. Not much of a hike at all.

on Emerald Lake Trail

hiking
4 days ago

great hike, with views iconic to colorado - when you see colorado in a photo album, this trail contains views that showcases this.

Easy to moderate, gets your muscles working but nothing too strenuous. Maybe not the best for young children in some parts for inexperienced/non-local people like myself but still doable!

A quick and easy walk. I’d recommend doing this as a cool down from the Emerald Lake Trail.

hiking
4 days ago

Gorgeous views from a reasonably short trail. Lots of wildlife along the way!

hiking
5 days ago

I did the emerald Lake route . I’m not sure why they called it moderate? It’s a nice 45 min stroll to the lake on a amazingly maintained trail, even paved at the beginning. It’s a great trail for families and young ones . If you want more of a challenge hike around the right side of emerald Lake. It is what I would call a very stable rock scramble and doable by older kids with good shoes( some traction on Btm). Then hike up to the falls which are really pretty . That extension makes the hike moderate and is well worth it plus it’s gets you away from the masses . If you are really an extremist then try hiking up the valley to the right of the river and falls. It is an advanced hike and gets to class 3-4 with 80% grade. Tougher going up but you need poles coming down or you take some falls . Do not hike in single file here as you will trigger rock slides due to grade. Also it is what I’d call a loose rock scramble!! Views are insane from up there but be careful as footing is tricky and it requires some rock climbing .

We loved this hike! Perfect hike for a day. On a Friday there were others out there but not a ton. Go to the end. Emerald Lake is worth it!

on Gem Lake Trail

hiking
5 days ago

Not too crowded compared to the other popular trails! Not too challenging, and the summit is just beautiful. You can hang out at the lake for an hour or two before heading back. Very satisfying hike, would recommend!

hiking
5 days ago

Easy, busy, but beautiful for sure

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