Explore summer - 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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We went Nov 3, 2018 and the trail was snowy but doable without spikes. We were visiting for the weekend and it was very easy and had no issues with the altitude difference.

Great hike and view that you won’t regret trekking too

hiking
2 days ago

I've done this trail many times, but most recently hiked yesterday (11/7/18). It was all snow covered but packed down marking a clear path. Many people went without spikes, but it did make it easier having them from Dream to Emerald where it got a little steeper. The road up to Bear Lake is icy/snow covered but doable in a 2 wheel drive if you go slow.

Great trail!

hiking
8 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

hiking
10 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.

Easy and fun hike with the kid and the dogs.

hiking
11 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.

hiking
12 days ago

Excellent trail that is to be experienced in the fall. We were a couple weeks late to do this. However, the snow in the path made it a bit difficult to traverse. Took us 3 hours from car to car including the breaks and photography. Would highly recommend this trail during the fall season.

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!

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.

hiking
15 days ago

We went off season which was October 26th. At this time there is no having to use the shuttle to get up. You need to pay at the entry of the park which is $10 per car. We went about 930a and now issues finding parking. When we got done with the hike around 1p the parking lot was pretty full. We wanted to do an easy hike as my friend just flew in the day before from Minnesota. We were planning to do the easy trail called Maroon Bells scenic trail. This was closed so other only option from that trail was Crater Lake. This was a little more challenging then we were expecting. But it was a great. Lots of rocks and boulders to climb over. There was some areas with snow and ice but not too bad. But all worth as once we got the lake it was huge (though the water was low). Enough room to go by ourselves to have a snack without being next to anyone. Would come back to do this in another season to see all the aspens.

trail running
16 days ago

Fun trail. Good grade for trail running, but there can be crowds. Was lucky enough to catch a rainbow on my run.

trail running
18 days ago

10/29/18 Beautiful trail. There were some icy spots but not too bad. Was able to run most of the trail, but ended up stopping several times to take in the waterfalls.

low traffic, beautiful pines surround you, very peaceful, great for anyone

hiking
19 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.

Did this trail when the scenic loop was closed. It was steep until the end and snowy and rocky in spots. But for those of us in our party who made it, it’s was great.
The lake was not very full, but the scenery was great and the local birds are friendly!
For the part of our party who couldn’t make it to the top there was an opening with a amazing Mountain View about .75 miles in. A great place to call good enough if u have to.

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.

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

Gorgeous

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!

absolutely beautiful!

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!!

hiking
25 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.

Glad I did this on a weekday. very crowded. however, the snow on the trail was slushy, so easy to get around. would recommend poles and/or spikes on a colder day. (we were 59 degrees)

great views and had a great time with my non climbing family.

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