Bear Lake South Trails is a 0.5 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Estes Park, Colorado that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, bird watching, and snowshoeing.

Length0.5 miElevation gain39 ftRoute typeOut & back
Wheelchair friendlyKid friendlyStroller friendlyHikingSnowshoeingWalkingBird watchingForestLakeWaterfallWildflowersWildlifeRockyFeeNo dogs
Description
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Rocky Mountain National Park charges a fee to enter. Fees are per vehicle/motorcycle. If you are entering on foot, horse, or bike the fee is per person. You can also purchase a park-specific annual pass. Please check with the park for current rates. This is a gorgeous hike along the edge of the lake, good for the family. Accessibility: There are 7 designated accessible spaces in the paved parking lot of Bear Lake Road at the trailhead on the south end of the lake. All of them are van-accessible with striped access aisles. There are two options for an out-and-back accessible route from the Bear Lake trailhead, but the full Bear Lake loop is not wheelchair/mobility equipment friendly due to multiple areas of very steep grades greater than 12% in the areas beyond what is shown on this map. The northern option for this trail has some steep (8-12%) uphill sections going north with an estimated mostly gentle grade (5% or less). The south-western route has an estimated grade of flat (1% or less). The trail surface is packed dirt with rocky areas. There are also some roots in the trail. Please use caution as the trail may become slippery due to ice and snow during the winter or rain during the summer.

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Reviews (393)
Photos (1,066)
Activities (385)
Completed (1,648)
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Adam Hamblin
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HikingGreat!
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Ashley Bennett
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Hiking

Loved it! Gorgeous hike, not difficult. Highly recommend

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Nick C
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Hiking

Great hike. Do the bear lake loop and continue to nymph and dream. We didn’t get to Emerald but for sure next time

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Dmitriy Bykov
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Hiking
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Cam K
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Hiking

Beautiful scenery but very crowded with families. (RMNP doesn't seem to be enforcing the passes or reservations, even after 6am.) I went before the park opened and the parking lot at Bear Lake was nearly half full!

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Ugne Adikeviciute
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Hiking

Beautiful hike in the RMNP. Still pretty busy despite the pre-made reservations. We hiked up to Emerald lake which took about 1.7 miles and 675 feet of elevation. My husbands Garmon showed us a short cut to come out in the middle of the Bears Lake trail. It was a perfect little hike. Total mileage was 3.81.

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George May
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Hiking
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Coleman Barkley
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Hiking
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Michal Kubas
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Hiking
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John Crenshaw
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HikingGreat!

Mills Lake. Amazing!

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Ryan Junior
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Hiking

Very cool hike! Not too many places on Earth where you can see 4 different lakes above 10,000 feet. Recommend doing the extra 1 mile around Bear Lake also. Only knock is that it's extremely crowded. It's a gradual incline all the way up to Emerald Lake.

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Dolores Franke
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Hiking
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Frank Campanell
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Hiking
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Hannah Lee
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Hiking

Beautiful hike! Made the loop around Bear Lake then headed up to Emerald Lake. We also hit Lake Haiyaha and The Loch. The only downside is it was quite crowded on the first part of the trail and many people weren't wearing masks, so make sure to keep a distance.

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Taylor Booth
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Hiking

Went out to sky pond glacier gorge. The loch and glass lake were beautiful - the scramble up to sky pond was a bit intense but very much worth it. Walked by and decided to tack on bear lake at the end which was a .5 uphill hike with a .8 natural trail around the lake. A nice cool down to end the day !!

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Sofia Bevarly
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HikingBugsIcy

Busy hike, but very worth it! Tons of lakes!

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Mallory Thompson
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HikingBugsIcyMuddyRocky
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Tabor Bell
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HikingIcy
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Jean Patterson
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HikingSnow
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Mladjen Merdovic
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Hiking

I would highly recommend this awesome trail. Beautiful nature and lakes

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Shelley Brown
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Backpacking

Beautiful trail, awesome views. Make sure you get there early, it is crowded. The last half mile to Lake of Glass is steep stone steps. They are pretty good until just below the lake, where the trail goes up a cliff. I chose not to do that so I didn’t make the lake but I did make it to the falls below the lake and the views there were outstanding, so I wasn’t disappointed. The trail rating of moderate is accurate—it climbs but is mostly gentle and steady. However that last section should be rated difficult as it is very steep and technical. Colors were gorgeous today, great trail to do in the fall!

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Maria Barreto
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Hiking

awesome trail. up on the way to Emerald, down on the way back.

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Amber Peterson
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HikingRocky
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James Riddlesperger
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Hiking

An amazing hike. Highly recommend starting at Bear Lake and hiking down to the junction with the Alberta Falls trail then taking the Glacier Gorge shuttle back. We went the other way, and it’s a fairly steep climb to Bear Lake, but doable.

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Paul Grandgenett
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HikingBugsRockyScramble

Really amazing 8-9 mile hike. Stretches that would rate as difficult as major up hill climbs and then rocky downhill hikes. Overall amazing scenery and you can fish at two of the lakes.

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