Dream Lake Trail is a 2 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 and snowshoeing and is best used from April until November.

Distance: 2.0 miles Elevation Gain: 426 feet Route Type: Out & Back

kid friendly

hiking

snowshoeing

forest

lake

partially paved

views

wild flowers

wildlife

snow

no dogs

Reservations to enter the park will go on sale through Recreation.gov at 8 a.m. Mountain Time on Thursday, May 28. Reservations will be available to enter the park from June 4 through July 31. The next release will be on July 1, for the month of August and any remaining days that have not been booked for July. On August 1, reservations will be available for the month of September and any remaining days that have not been booked for August. On September 1, reservations will be available for the month of October and any remaining days in September that have not been booked. Permits issued using the reservation system will allow park visitors to enter the park within two-hour windows of availability between 6 a.m. through 5 p.m. This process will facilitate advance payment of entrance fees, minimize contact between park entrance station staff and visitors and limit congestion in parking lots. The permit system will apply to all areas of the park. In the initial opening phase, the park will open approximately 60 percent of the park’s maximum parking capacity or 4,800 vehicles (13,500 visitors) per day. 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.

hiking
icy
muddy
snow
6 hours ago

One of the best hikes I’ve been on , Would definitely do this again!

hiking
rocky
23 hours ago

NOT CLOSED. We hike this (most times on to Emerald Lake) several times a year. Today was by far the best hike we've had. On trail to 7am... parking lot almost empty (lot full at 9am when we came down, but the shuttle is running). BE AWARE: you must reserve a 2 hour window to enter the park beginning today. Hiked all the way to Dream Lake and ran across only one other couple. Elk everywhere... also saw a Snowshoe Hare (first time for that). Trail is mostly dry up to Dream Lake, with a few slushy spots left. Easy hike, no bugs yet. I always recommend hiking boots at Rocky, but they are optional on this section to be honest. Also, Trail Ridge Road is open all the way up... way past rainbow Curve. That was an exciting surprise. Dry all the way up. Get there before it gets busy! Enjoy!

hiking
muddy
snow
4 days ago

5/31 Not closed. We took this trail past Nymph lake. Decent grade, still snow covered. Several spots were past knees still. Poles would be helpful, but not required. We took the Haiyaha Cutoff Trail over to Loch Lake. Would not recommend unless looking for a serious trek. Completely snow covered and difficult to locate the trail except for the few footsteps left by others to follow. The entire time we hiked through soft snow up to your knees or higher. Over, under, around trees, rocks, running water, etc. Would recommend gaiters and poles for sure. Beautiful views. Probably a pretty nice trail once melt down occurs.

hiking
8 days ago

Great hike! Fantastic sunrise spot. A bit snowy and icy in spots today (5/28), with an interesting traverse past Nymph along an icy drift sloped perpendicular to the trail. Doable in hiking boots in the dark (microspikes not needed) but wouldn't recommend in tennis shoes or with small children until the snow melts a bit more. WARNING - there is a mule deer doe around the back of Dream (right before the trail climbs towards Emerald) that surprised and charged multiple people today. She's probably just protecting her fawns but beware if you choose to try and loop around for different views.

hiking
snow
8 days ago

Dream lake was my favorite hike ever...until I hiked to The Loch today. The loch had much more of a scenic hike, but it was also almost 4x the length of the Dream Lake trail. If you think Dream is beautiful but you’re up for a bit more of a challenge, I 100% suggest the Bear Lake trailhead to Alberta Falls and onto The Loch. It was like Dream Lake, but more secluded and quiet once we got there. We noticed many more kids and families on the Dream Lake trail. The dream lake trail gets slick once you past Nymph lake. There is a slope with snow on the side that we and many others found Difficult to traverse. Some patches of the path have deeper snow, so be careful of sinking in by mistake. Try to keep your balance and you’ll be fine! But if you have Bad knees, beware of dropping into the snow. We helped a man who fell too deep and couldn’t get out since he fell in past his knees. Unfortunately, the man had to turn back after he slipped into the snow, either from being hurt or for fear of injury if he went further. Hiking poles probably would help since there are still several snowy patches on the trail. Luckily, my girlfriend and I were fine in our Columbia Newton Ridge hiking boots, since we didn’t have spikes anyway. We went Thursday 5-28 in the evening around 6:30, and also Friday 5-29 around 10:30am. Our hike Thursday evening was picturesque and perfect. It was empty aside from one or two other hikers. We overheard one hiker say that an elk started following her as she went around the side of Dream Lake that evening! Friday was busy to the point it was frustrating. Please wear a mask when nearing/passing other people! Still, the lake is captivating and beautiful. I truly can’t imagine doing this hike during the busy summer season. I’m sure RMNP had less than 60% capacity this past weekend (60% is the capacity limit due to COVID beginning in June), and it still seemed busy on the trail. We were lucky to be able to visit RMNP before the crowds really hit. The serenity on Thursday night is what truly made our hiking experience to Dream Lake unforgettable. Regardless, it’s worth seeing. Especially if you’re from a flat state like us in the Midwest. The mountain lake was stunning, and overall was truly a Dream.

hiking
1 month ago

This is my favorite hike that I have done in Rocky Mountain National Park. The hike itself isn't too hard, but offers a beautiful lake. Bring a lunch and eat next to Dream Lake.

hiking
1 month ago

This trail was absolutely gorgeous probably my favorite trail I’ve hiked in the park so far. Beautiful views, a large pond at the end...highly recommended

hiking
snow
2 months ago

Absolutely stunning hike, one of my absolute favorites in Rocky Mountain National park. A true gift from God. I would suggest wearing micro spikes, the trail is pretty packed down but would not have been reachable without spikes.

icy
off trail
rocky
scramble
snow
2 months ago

We attempted to make it to Dream Lake this past Saturday (3/14) for sunrise but only got as far as Nymph Lake. We started around 6:45 am with blowing snow and the trail was covered with about 8 inches of fresh powder. Not bad going to Nymph; someone had just gone ahead of us with snowshoes. Hard to get to the other side of the lake without crossing directly over the lake. The snow turned significantly deeper on the north end and we couldnt make it past without snowshoes. Nymph was pretty though.

hiking
icy
snow
2 months ago

hiking
icy
off trail
snow
2 months ago

Beautiful view

hiking
snow
2 months ago

Busy day to Dream Lake but there was no one on the trail once we left it. Still needed snowshoes and there were some tight spots on the way up. Beautiful once you go there. Windy as usual but sunny and warm.

hiking
2 months ago

The trail is packed down well but micro spikes are recommended. We couldn’t have done it without them. When we got to Dream Lake the winds were howling and fierce but it was beautiful. I never walked over a lake before and was nervous but others were skiing over it so we kept going on and went all the way to Emerald Lake. We have done these trails in the summer and fall so this was a first for us and highly recommended. Just as beautiful just a different kind of beauty.

hiking
icy
snow
3 months ago

Spectacular winter hike. Did it twice in January. It was cold and windy but definitely worthwhile. It's a lot harder in the winter than summer, but it's worth doing in both seasons to see the difference in the terrain and vistas.

hiking
icy
snow
3 months ago

I wanted to do much more hiking today, but I kept getting lost looking for Lake Haiyaha. The weather did cooperate with beautiful blue skies and only a light wind. Hope to hike this again when it has thawed out. Arrived at 10 am and there were still spots at the Bear Lake Trailhead. Grateful and surprised for this!

hiking
icy
3 months ago

hiking
snow
3 months ago

Get here as early as you are able because parking is limited and there’s no shuttle to the Bear Lake Trail head. I arrived around 11:30 on 2/29/2020 and it was absolutely nuts. Well worth it though, especially if this is your first time in the Rockies. Trails are well worn, even in the snow. Speaking of which, There’s a lot of snow still even as we get into march so I recommend chains for your boots at the very least if you want to avoid a sore bum. Just a fundamental tip for the fellow filthy tourists. Gentle incline most of the way and views are breathtaking. The excellent photography on display doesn’t do it justice. Majestic, panoramic views of the peaks and valleys await for those with a thirst for a bit of adventure. Be advised, an extra layer may be prudent if you decided to move on to emerald as the wind picks up significantly and the incline ramps up a little. Stay hydrated and stay safe.

hiking
icy
snow
3 months ago

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