Emerald Lake Trail

EASY 1759 reviews

Emerald Lake Trail is a 3.1 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 offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until November.

DISTANCE
3.1 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
708 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

kid friendly

birding

fishing

hiking

snowshoeing

forest

lake

partially paved

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

snow

no dogs

This scenic hiking trail to Emerald Lake from the Bear Lake Trailhead is a popular route in Rocky Mountain National Park. Hikers will pass pristine alpine lakes including Nymph Lake and Dream Lakes and be treated to beautiful views of rocky peaks including Flattop Mountain, Hallett Peak and Glacier Gorge. This is a great hike for photographers to capture spectacular shots of the surrounding mountains along the trail. The trailhead is at the end of Bear Lake Road - a short drive from Estes Park in Colorado. There is minimal elevation gain along the path which is paved for the first half-mile. The trail is open year-round.

4 days ago

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
7 days ago

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

hiking
9 days 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;)!

9 days ago

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
12 days 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

13 days ago

Beautiful hike for all skill levels.

snowshoeing
15 days ago

Nice show shoe, plenty of snow now.

hiking
15 days 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

18 days ago

All right trail nice views at times

hiking
19 days ago

Beautiful and Cold with a straight west wind. All three lakes are frozen solid but remain breathtaking. Trail is hard packed up to Dream Lake, but leg up to Emerald is looser. Can be done with micro spikes, but changed over to my snowshoes and going was much easier.

snowshoeing
20 days ago

Went on 11/26 and there was great snow! We used crampon spikes with 2/3” spikes and could only get to Dream Lake. The snow got knee deep after that so we had to turn around but snowshoers continued. Beginning of the trail had wide, packed snow but got progressively looser and more narrow as the trail went on. Beautiful views and great fun!

snowshoeing
20 days ago

Beautiful trail, great views, definitely needed the crampons/snow shoes to finish the full 3!

22 days ago

Hiked in August and it was super crowded but still beautiful! We saw all age ranges and abilities on this hike. Awesome views.

25 days ago

Cold and windy late Sept hike. But the fall colors were just gorgeous.

hiking
26 days ago

Lots of snow on trail but was easy to walk. Beautiful day yesterday!

hiking
27 days ago

Beautiful easy trail, but very popular among tourists so get there early!

27 days ago

LOVED this trail. snowy, icy, and absolutely beautiful! not much effort.

hiking
27 days ago

Amazingly beautiful on a quiet Wednesday. The trail was icy in many spots, especially between Dream Lake and Emerald Lake. We had crampons that made the hike a lot easier!

snowshoeing
28 days ago

The snow was amazing. Not a long hike, really easy and the scenery was beautiful. We had fun thrashing fresh powder since we wore our snowshoes. There was a lot of traffic but some parking was still available.

30 days ago

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.

1 month ago

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

hiking
1 month 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.

1 month ago

Great trail!

hiking
1 month 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
1 month 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.

hiking
1 month 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.

1 month ago

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!

1 month ago

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!

1 month ago

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.

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