Emerald Lake Trail

MODERATE 883 reviews

Emerald Lake Trail is a 3.2 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Estes Park, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until November.

DISTANCE
3.2 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
780 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

kid friendly

birding

fly fishing

hiking

nature trips

snowshoeing

walking

forest

lake

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.

2 days ago

Microspikes are a must, you'll thank yourself later. We arrived at 9:30am on a Sunday, plenty of parking available. Took us about 2 hours to complete the hike. Absolutely breathtaking views.

hiking
3 days ago

One of the best trails we have ever hiked, especially in winter. Do not attempt this in November without microspikes - rent some from EPMS for like $8. We saw people crying on the way back down who had only tennis shoes. But with microspikes it was absolutely gorgeous and very doable. We started around 11am and waited maybe 5 min for a parking space.

hiking
4 days ago

it was so beautiful. was able to get good pics without ppl in them easily. very slippery micospikes recommended...

hiking
5 days ago

6 days ago

Super easy! Take micro spikes. Really icy especially in the morning. Highly trafficked. Beautiful hike.

7 days ago

hiking
7 days ago

8 days ago

hiking
11 days ago

Great wintery hike! I’m very thankful we had yak-tracks on.

13 days ago

This trail was amazing, but most of it was up hill. You pass two other gorgeous lakes on the way to Emerald Lake!

hiking
15 days ago

hiking
15 days ago

Our favorite hiking trail in RMNP. We tried to hiking this trail in July with friends out of town, but it was so busy, long wait for bus shuttles, so we gave up.

Last Sunday 10/29/2017, we made it to the bear lake parking lot at 10:30am, parking lot was 1/2 full. We visited bear lake then hiked Emerald Lake Trail. Some incline in 1st 0.5 mile to Nymph Lake. Had a thin layer of ice on the surface already.

Another 0.6 miles up, it’s our favorite spot-Dream Lake! Also turned into ice lake! So different then summer views, so beautiful! The ice still not thick enough for people to walk on it yet, be careful!

Continue 0.7 mile up, reached Emerald Lake, surprised the lake still not iced yet, but windy and cold. It’s above 10k ft elevations, gorgeous views!

We left by 1:30pm, there was a line of 10+ car waiting to get in the parking lot, and there were parking spots available.

We enjoyed it very much! No wonder it’s the no.1 hiking trail in RMNP.

hiking
15 days ago

Great views! We are from South Florida so this was pretty hard for us! We stopped many times but we pushed through it and made it to all 3 lakes. Once we approached Emerald lake it started snowing, definitely enjoyed this trail!

hiking
16 days ago

Nearly all uphill - topographical map looked less uphill than actually was. A LOT of stairs. Super icy early in morning today. Once arrived at lake, stunning view. Can continue on to several other trails from Emerald Lake trail.

17 days ago

My first hiking trail in Rocky Mountain state park! Beautiful the whole way through! I will definitely do this one again, and next time I will remember to check in! Lol

hiking
19 days ago

hiking
19 days ago

It snowed the night before we went on the trail and boy did it add some spectacle to the trail. The trail passes by 3 lakes each of which were absolutely stunning. There’s also a great view of longs peak on the way up. It’s not a difficult hike and the views are well worth it. My only gripe is that it was not a loop but a up and down trail.

hiking
19 days ago

Beautiful scenery. This was a great hike. Only downfall is it was very crowded.

hiking
20 days ago

hiking
20 days ago

A beginners trail for sure, and extremely high trafficked so be wary of that. Had many large groups trailing us who were loud and listening to music on the trail. Would recommend getting there early to avoid all the selfie sticks and loud conversations. (We arrived at about 10 and dealt with the crowds)

Excellent views the entire way, so bring a camera if you’re into that. Some uphill parts to get the blood flowing but nothing crazy. Definitely worth it.