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Hiked today 1/21. 11 am parking lot only 1/3 full. Almost no wind the whole way. Sunny until Emerald lake, then started snowing. Had micro spikes, but could have made it without them. Trail compact but not icy yet. Was an amazing hike

hiking
2 days ago

1-20-19 . Was super windy when we got there and barely stayed. Beautiful hike though and roads getting there were not too bad. Favorite Colorado hike

hiking
2 days 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
4 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.

Hiked on a Sunday morning (1/13/19) after about 6 inches of snow on Friday. It was absolutely beautiful and we only saw two other people. Lots of snow so spikes are necessary for the incline. The last mile (the 0.5 out and back) was inaccessible because of the snow and the trail had not been cleared so you would need snowshoes for this portion. The loop had a semi cleared path though!

on Emerald Lake Trail

9 days ago

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

great trail - went yesterday and still didn't need crampons or yak tracks

snowshoeing
20 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.

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.

Great trail. No snowshoes needed yet. Easy to follow and nice views.

hiking
24 days ago

This is a great winter hike. The trail is well marked, is a mix of forest and sunshine, has several bridge crossings (all well maintained) and a small view of snow capped mountains toward the end of the hike (if you’re doing the loop counterclockwise). We brought our boot spikes but never needed them. It was very quiet on a cold Saturday, we never heard hunting activity and the trail has good uphill without being exhausting.

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
30 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.

snowshoeing
1 month ago

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

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.

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!

Now I know why this trail is so popular. Did this trail on 10/25. Beautiful day. Some icy patches, but did not need spikes. I want to go back and see this place again in winter, spring, and summer.

snowshoeing
1 month ago

Beautiful
Doable in regular hiking boots
Went on a Sunday at 11am and was moderately traveled
Lots of available parking

Fabulous! Parking spaces open when we arrived at 9 am. Spikes until the last mile and then it got deep and tricky. Super windy at the lake but lovely. Snow shoes necessary to get to the lake. Took us 3.5 hours to finish! Awesome day!

hiking
1 month ago

I always love this hike! Today was probably the most windy day I've had there thus far, at the lakes, but still beautiful! I started out around 9:40am, plenty of parking in the lot. I used my crimp-ons until just after nymph lake, then switched over to the snowshoes. There were quite a few people making it to Emerald lake with just the crimp-ons. That said there was a lot of post holing as well! I would recommend having your snowshoes with you. And to Arizona ( just moved here from AZ) have fun playing this winter! and maybe I'll see you snowshoeing next time;)!

Beautiful winter trail! Did this trail today and the snow was perfect. Snowshoes were definitely helpful, but can easily be done using only spikes. This took us around 4 hours round trip with plenty of photo stops and a little break up top. A good moderate hike

Great hike. Wore spikes to nymph lake then switched to snowshoes for rest of way. Trail was fairly well packed but a step off the trail and you quickly realize how deep the snow is. Got to dream lake and some hikers were ice skating. Walked across frozen lake and pressed to emerald.. some elevations getting to dream and emerald but nothing too long. Wind was down which made for a nice walk in the woods.

hiking
1 month ago

Just up there today, winds out of the west with gusts that had to be 60 mph. Hike out past nymph lake was calm, but approaching dream lake winds really picked up.. high drifting past dream lake, without snow shoes you can’t get beyond the last hundred yards or so to emerald lake. Still a beautiful and awesome hike despite the winds. Only got up to 9F, gear held up nicely

Beautiful hike for all skill levels.

hiking
1 month ago

I hiked on this on Saturday morning. I brought my spikes but didn't end up using them. There were a few slick spots but nothing major. I agree with the previous reviewer that counterclockwise is the way to go to avoid a steep decent. This hike goes through a very pretty forest. I wish I had read the previous review prior to my hike to find out about the trailhead change. I ended up asking a ranger to find out that you need to access the trail from Slough Pond.

snowshoeing
1 month ago

Nice show shoe, plenty of snow now.

hiking
1 month ago

Wind was intense once we reached Dream Lake! Got out of the wind by staying along the bank in the trees, but would've been much more difficult if we didn't have snowshoes.

Decent views. Cold around the lakes so don't quit. Snow shoes make it easier after dream lake. Emerald lake is gorgeous

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