Dream Lake Trail

MODERATE 212 reviews
#16 of 174 trails in

Dream Lake Trail is a 2 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Estes Park, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, birding, and snowshoeing and is accessible year-round.

DISTANCE
2.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
452 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

birding

hiking

snowshoeing

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

no dogs

Starting at the Bear Lake trailhead in Glacier Gorge, follow the signs for Nymph lake, your first destination. In summer it is filled with lily pads. Heading up to Dream Lake from there follows a well maintained trail, with great views, wildflowers, and wildlife.

2 minutes ago

I’m rating this trail 5 stars purely due to the gorgeous, gorgeous views and not a bad hike at all. Can get a little tiring at moments due to the switchbacks leading you up the mountain for a bit, however the trail is well kept and the views are totally worth it. In my option, do not attempt it with street shoes (running shoes, tennis shoes, etc.), at least not for a bit yet until more snow melts away. I can’t tell you how many people were sliding all over the place for this reason. However, I had some actual hiking boots on and had no issue. Not too many snow issues leading up to Dream Lake, but If you continue to follow the trail further to the next lake, Emerald Lake, that’s where the majority of the “slippery snow” was living. It would be do-able in street shoes if you’re determined, but to feel more steady and safe, I’d go with hiking shoes more equipped for slipperier conditions. Completely worth every step. (05/27/18)

hiking
2 days ago

Extremely slick. You NEED snowshoes or spikes. Easy trail otherwise. Lake is still frozen and honestly not worth the hike at this point.

2 days ago

Extremely slick. You NEED snowshoes or spikes. Easy trail otherwise. Lake is still frozen and honestly not worth the hike at this point.

hiking
4 days ago

It's still snowy, icy in certain areas. The snow looks to be really deep where people are walking, especially one spot on the trail. I'm sure the rangers are taking caution due to the melting and how it can cause postholing or falling from breaking snow, slick snow. I had Yaktrax and my poles, but I still slid a little, but I did okay. I saw quite a few people wearing flat bottom Keds/Vans and even flip flops type of shoes. Please be prepared! The trail does get lost, and it was muddy in some spots. So be careful you don't go too far off of the trail. I decided not to go up to Emerald lake because I was by myself and if I fell, I'd be in trouble. So, please wear adequate shoes! Yaktrax are $20 and very valuable, or more for microspikes. It makes the trip enjoyable. I saw one lady in near tears trying to get around a snowpacked curve in her slick shoes.
With that said, this is a beautiful hike! I'm glad I went. It was cool to see how much snow was still up there. The lakes were peaceful and beautiful. It did cloud up and started storming quickly, rain and hail. Hikers need to be aware of that this time of year. I'm sure there were a lot of soaked folks.
The snow will melt, it will be slick for a while. Be careful and be prepared and you'll enjoy this hike! Its worth it! Just keep going and take your time and watch the skies!

4 days ago

5/22. From Nymph to Dream the snow amount increased but still easy enough to get through. Beautiful views on the way to Dream. I loved this lake. It was partially ice covered. Walked on to Emerald. Snow increased and hiking became harder. But worth it.

hiking
7 days ago

05/20/2018
Started on trail in overcast conditions with off and on slick snow packed trail most of the way from trailhead. We made things more difficult with inadequate footwear but made the trek past Nymph to Dream Lake with no major incidents, but lots of slipping and sliding. By the time we reached it, the sky had cleared offering beautiful views and pix. We attempted to go on to Emerald but gave up after realising our footwear, lack of poles and melting conditions were making it quite slippery. So we headed back meeting heavier trail traffic and by the time we made it to full parking area the skies let loose!

hiking
7 days ago

This hike is a must in RMNP! There is still quite a bit of snow, but we were fine in hiking boots. Wouldn't recommend running shoes - we were slipping in hiking boots once the snow started to melt during the day. Make sure you bring sunscreen! 5/17

9 days ago

Icey Conditions, but great view at Dream Lake. Expect ankle high snow. 5/19

backpacking
14 days ago

Beautiful views at Dream Lake! We didn't head to Emerald Lake but heard it's worth it to keep going. Didn't have crampons or micro spikes on our shoes but highly suggest it as the ice is slippery on parts of the trail.

20 days ago

Easy hike but a little more difficult when snow or slush is involved. Great views!

27 days ago

Absolutely beautiful and easy hike! Dream Lake is such a reward.

1 month ago

Hiked this on a very icy December day... without micro spikes! Probably not the best idea haha. Very dreamy ! Continue to lake hayaiaya

snowshoeing
1 month ago

(8 p.m. - 11 p.m.) Snowing at Bear Lake parking lot and all the way through Emerald Lake. Nymph and Dream both had water on top of the ice and had to walk along their shores. Used crampons from the parking up to Dream Lake and then switched to snowshoes.

hiking
1 month ago

I did this hike at the end of February. I initially set out to go up to Emerald Lake as well but the snow was too deep after Dream Lake. Stopped at Nymph Lake on the way up. It was frigid cold, wind was howling (especially crossing the lake) but the views were beautiful. The only difficult part of this hike was crossing snow. Definitely want to come back now that it can be hiked without snowshoes. $20 to get in.

1 month ago

Hiked 4/11 with spikes. Beautiful hike. If you are going all the way to Dream Lake, you might as well do Emerald Lake, too!

1 month ago

This hike is beautiful! We wore spikes on our shoes which made it easy for us to hike. If its snowy while you go I highly recommend at least spikes. The right shoes make a difference! We didn't have hiking sticks when, but they would have been helpful. Once you get to dream lake it's exactly what it's called... a dream! Gorgeous!!! We are from Louisiana and didn't think to wear sunscreen because it was overcast. Wrong. Wear sunscreen! We got sunburnt pretty bad! You can learn from our mistakes haha.

snowshoeing
1 month ago

(8 p.m. - 10:30 p.m.) Iced over trail head at Bear Lake parking lot to start, icy but manageable terrain heading up the trail to Nymph Lake and put on the snowshoes for better traction. Snow is a lot deeper at Dream Lake than a few months ago. If you're looking for difficulty, the trail itself isn't difficult but the elevation and elements is what you need to prepare for; come prepared with full ski suit, mask, googles and snowshoes.

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
2 months ago

Hiked 3/24 without any traction. Spikes would have been really useful, as the trail was very slippery in some places. Breathtaking views at Dream Lake.

hiking
2 months ago

It was an easy hike except for the icy condition, although some other hikers had no problem with it, but I was slipping where there’s ice even with walking poles. The view was amazing, though! I’d definitely rent microspikes to wear next time. The lake is still frozen, I think the view will look even more beautiful if it wasn’t frozen.

snowshoeing
2 months ago

On the way up we were getting nervous about the lack of snow in morraine park, but were not let down when we got to the trailhead. We were fine in just our hiking boots til shortly after nymph lake then the trail got more narrow, steep, and icy where our snowshoes came in handy (or any type of yaktrak would have been fine). Overall it was great, still very well traveled even in the snow. Signage is nearly impossible to find with how deep the snow is, but trail is mostly well packed and easy to follow.

snowshoeing
3 months ago

Always a great snowshoeing trek in RMNP. Some fresh snow, occasional sun and on and off winds. Great variety to keep things interesting. Also makes for some different and interesting pictures.

Some people ventured without snowshoes, skis or crimpons. They didn't look like enjoyed the hike as much and a step off compacted trail was easily 2ft up the leg. So as always, the right gear makes for an easier more enjoyable trek.

A busy trail but knowing it and expecting makes it okay as people are generally friendly and accommodating on the trail. Not to say that sometimes it’s great to be on a trail and not see anyone.

snowshoeing
3 months ago

My mom and I went here this morning to catch the super moon set and Alpenglow.
neither happened lol. We were to high up to see the moon and there was not pink in the sky. Still it was a nice hike. Took some nice pictures and headed back down.
The trail is packed and icy and in some spots. I would definitely suggest yakka tracks and Poles. Also, the Lake is not completely frozen over so don't walk out on it twords the east side. It is very windy up at the lake. We also saw some large fresh prints in the snow by Nymph lake. Looked like mountain lion.

hiking
4 months ago

I would defiantly recommend going in the summer! It’s beautiful!!

snowshoeing
4 months ago

So incredibly beautiful! It was very cold and windy and there was some elevation gain on the hike. Trail mostly snow packed but still fun and the destination was well worth it! Frozen lake, gorgeous scenery!

hiking
4 months ago

Went up Jan. 14th. Easy short hike, steep in some spots. At Dream Lake EXTREMELY windy. Micro spikes and poles aren’t required but definitely help. Most people had snowshoes.

4 months ago

Most beautiful lake I've ever been too. June 8th, mostly covered snow trail. Hike early to avoid noon storms

hiking
4 months ago

Absolutely beautiful hike with breathtaking views! Gets your heart pumping if you push it! Did this both in fall and early spring where the trail was snow covered and lakes were frozen, from the trailhead at Bear Lake up to Dream Lake. Definitely much better with crampons or snow shoes when snow covered.

4 months ago

Really great and beautiful hike. I read that you needed hiking boots with spikes but I didn't have any so I went with some snow boots. Definitely wasn't impossible but would have been a lot easier with them. It's only about 1 mile from the parking lot and then another half mile or so to Emerald lake! 10/10!!

hiking
4 months ago

Hiked in to the lake and connecting trail to Lake Emerald. Great sites, snowy but not hard, even without spikes. Can't wait to see it in Spring!

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