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Four Lake Loop Trail is a 6.8 mile moderately trafficked loop 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 June until August.

Length 6.8 mi Elevation gain 1,332 ft Route type Loop

Hiking

Nature trips

Snowshoeing

Walking

Bird watching

Forest

Lake

River

Views

Waterfall

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Rocky

Snow

No dogs

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Getting There

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. Beginning and ending at the Bear Lake trailhead, this wonderful loop hits on many of Rocky Mountain National Park's biggest attractions. Along the way you'll have the opportunity to take in the views at four beautiful lakes as well as one stunning set of cascades. ------- From the Bear Lake trailhead, follow the signs for Dream Lake onto a well traveled, asphalt-sealed trail. Hiking is very easygoing along the Dream Lake Trail as it contours at very mellow grades up the slope. Just over 0.5 miles from the TH, you'll reach Nymph Lake, a picturesque mountain lake that makes for a good place to take in the surrounding peaks. Continuing up the trail, you'll eventually cross Tyndall Creek and come to a junction with Lake Haiyaha Trail. Hike just past this intersection to reach Dream Lake. Dream Lake is a spectacular, narrow lake that sits in a drainage on the rugged eastern slope of Flattop Mountain. Retrace your steps on Dream Lake Trail back to the intersection with Lake Haiyaha Trail and turn right (south). Lake Haiyaha Trail heads over the ridge then trail switchbacks its way through dense forest before quickly topping out and descending towards Chaos Creek. Cross the creek and start hiking up the southern bank past a junction with Lake Hayiaha Cutoff. Soon afterwards, the trail descends to Lake Hayiaha. Enjoy the beauty of the lake before retracing your steps on the Lake Hayiaha Trail to Lake Hayiaha Cutoff. Turn right on Lake Hayiaha Cutoff and follow it as the trail descends at moderate grades before flattening out drastically. The trail contours around the eastern flank of the West Glacier Knob before dropping down to the junction. Turn left (east) onto Loch Vale Trail and begin the descent along Glacier Creek. The trail is mostly flat to start as it passes through the Glacial Knobs but it steepens as it switchbacks down toward Alberta Falls. At Alberta Falls, Glacier Creek thunders down this spectacular waterfall that ranks as one of the park's more popular hiking destinations. Continue your descent along Loch Vale Trail to a low spot and cross Tyndall Creek. Follow the trail up the northern bank of the drainage for a short climb back to the Bear Lake TH.

Parking is available at the end of Bear Lake road, if lot is full park at one of the lower lots and take the bus up.

National Park Service - Rocky Mountain National Park

Starting around 9,300' and topping out at 10,200', this trail could prove strenuous to unacclimated visitors.

Follow US-34 E through Rocky Mountain National Park until you reach the Bear Lake Trailhead.

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Reviews (101)
Photos (6859)
Recordings (75)
Completed (747)
Matt McLoughlin
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 13, 2020
Hiking
View Matt's Recording
Ericka Lewis
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 10, 2020
Hiking

As many of yall know RMNP now requires reservations to get into the park during COVID. The earliest reservation we could snag was 12pm. But we found a loop hole. If you get there before 6am, you don’t need a reservation and it’s free. We got into the park around 5:30am and started the hike around 6:30am. It was PERFECT weather, ample parking, and we were done by 12:30pm. By being there early we were also alone for the first half of the hike which was so peaceful. The very last hour of our hike was crowded, noisy, hot, and it was a 50/50 with people wearing masks (yikes). If you can make it, I HIGHLY recommend getting there before 6am. As most people mentioned, this hike is longer than what is listed. My Apple Watch tracked 11 miles over the course of 6 hours. We ate lunch, stopped to take a lot of pictures, and went exploring at the lakes, all of which added time onto our hike but I bet you could do it faster if you went straight through. EDITED: We visited Lake Emerald (Bear Dream Lake) which I didn’t realize wasn’t on the 4 lakes hike until after we were done which would account for the extra miles. I also highly highly highly recommend doing the hike in reverse order. Starting with Alberta Falls and ending at Bear Lake. The incline is more gradual that way. I couldn’t imagine starting at Bear lake, it would have been up hill for the entire first 2 hours and at some parts it’s pretty steep.

Souzana Vang
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 8, 2020
Hiking

Beautiful trail. I know the trail starts you going to Nymph Lake but we started at Bear lake and then headed to Nymph lake since Bear lake is just right there. The lakes are just beautiful. Our last lake we got to was lake haiyaha which was the most challenging because you have to climb over rocks and boulders to be able to see and get to lake. It was fun and challenging. It took us 7.5 hours because we spent a little time at each of the lakes for pictures but it was worth the hike. The trails are beautiful and adventurous too. This hike is definitely moderate and good workout. Definitely recommend.

steph keaty
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 4, 2020
Hiking
View steph's Recording
Vincent Stoquart
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 3, 2020
Hiking

Superbe rando, bravo aux enfants !!!

View Vincent's Recording
A Goodie
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 3, 2020
Hiking

Well marked trail with gorgeous views. If you're going to do the loop I'd recommend starting at Bear Lake trailhead and finishing at the Gorge so the second half of the trip is downhill. Very well marked and gorgeous views.

View A's Recording
Jamie W
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 29, 2020
HikingMuddySnow

Great trail, definitely longer than 7.9 miles though. It was 9.25 miles and took 5 and a half hours. Pretty secluded once you past the lakes around bear lake. GREAT views at numerous spots along the trail. Definitely bring layers. Cold and very windy at every lake, but once you got to the Alberta falls section, it was hot and sunny.

View Jamie's Recording
Jacky Ramirez
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJune 12, 2020
HikingFee

This trail was very interesting. It is actually a highly highly trafficked trail, we were struggling with the time slots. You have to purchase a $25 a vehicle pass during a specific time slot. There was no parking at any of the trailheads leading up to bear lake trailhead. We had to get in line for a shuttle which alone took about 45 minutes to get through plus another ten to get up to the bear lake trail head- considering this was early Friday morning! Like I said before, it is very highly trafficked with people every ten feet or so. The views were outstanding, and the hike itself was moderate in terms of difficulty.

View Jacky's Recording
Z. Zhang
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 30, 2020
HikingSnow
Michael Everette
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 2, 2019
Hiking

Wonderful hike with amazing mountain and lake views. Lots of aspens along the southern half of the loop. Getting to Lake Haiyaha involves a short scramble which was quite fun. I recommend to start this hike instead from Glacier Gorge trailhead heading towards Alberta Falls. This way you avoid a lot of the traffic originating from the bear lake trailhead towards Emerald Lake. You then have the option to end at Bear Lake and take the free shuttle back down to glacier gorge or the park-and-ride.

Matt Prell
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 30, 2019
Hiking

Lake's were very scenic. Nice casual hikes with options to venture out to Emerald Lake and Mills Lake for only ad additional two miles or so. Aspens were beginning to change when I did this hike but were not in full bloom.

Brandon Cash - Fanshaw
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 29, 2019
Hiking

Lake Haiyaha alone is worth this hike. Not too much wildlife but great views and it’s absolutely gorgeous.

Talisha Dennison
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 6, 2019
HikingBugsRockyScramble

I'm a novice hiker and this trail kicked my ass. Started at 6:30am, plenty of parking left. There were a few other hikers on the same trail, and we also passed a few that were coming down. Not horribly crowded, but more than I expected on a Thursday morning. There are some spectacular views. Dream Lake was by far my favorite, and we saw two elk swim across the lake (my aunt, who is a native to Estes Park, said she has never seen this in her 40+ years here). The rock scramble to Lake Haiyaha was more intense than I expected. The hike back down takes you through some dense tree areas. It was a great change of scenery but LOTS of bees! Once you get to the last junction it gets a lot more crowded. By this time my feet were killing me and I thought I would never make it out. Btw, the last half mile back to Bear Lake is completely uphill. My fitbit clocked it at 9 miles and took us about 6 hours, with LOTS of stops. Will be back to do this trail again with more hiking experience.

Ehran Khan
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 31, 2019
Hiking

There are so many different combinations you can do on this network of trails! We got to the Loch/Mills junction and decided to add a side trip to Mills Lake for our final stop (maybe adding another 2 miles total) and finishing at Glacier Gorge TH instead of back at Bear Lake. The initial hike from Bear Lake to Emerald Lake is extremely crowded as it is very family-friendly. Taking the fork from Dream Lake to Lake Haiyaha was my favorite part, as we were alone for the majority of it and the scenery was beautiful. Very rocky around Lake Haiyaha, but it's fun to scramble among the boulders and claim one for yourself to take in the views. Mills Lake was beautiful as well. So serene and peaceful as we got there near the end of the day and no one was around. Very crowded heading back down Glacier Gorge past the falls. Seems like a lot of people come to stroll along the easier trails near the parking lots. Total loop was about 10 miles and took around 5 hours. Great day of hiking in the Rockies!

mark brockbanks
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 19, 2019
Hiking

Did this today. Was an awesome hike. Parked at the trailhead at 6.45am still plenty of spaces left. Few people on the route but not many. Weather was excellent. Once we got onto the trail for Lake Haiyaha the people disappeared. This was the hardest part for me as we don't have hikes of this altitude in the UK. Still even after a week in Colorado it got me puffing! Totally worth it though this was the best lake. Surrounded by boulders so decent shoes needed but wow! When we got there there was only 5 other people so very peaceful. Did the full loop but unfortunately by the time we got to the falls it was mobbed with people doing short hikes in the other direction. Also the last half mile to bear Lake was a killer at the end. I'm late 40s overweight and did this with my 21 Yr old son. I made it and found it hard he thought it was amazing but moderate. Started at 7.15am and back by 12.15pm with plenty of stops for photos. Clocked it at 9 miles not as stated above. Enjoy.

Sydney Gautier
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 6, 2019
Hiking

This was a nice hike, really cool to be able to see so many lakes back to back. Haiyaha was definitely my favorite, it was quite a bit less crowded than the others and definitely worth the hike. Wear good shoes that you can climb on and around rocks when you get there! The one down side to this hike was definitely how heavily trafficked it is. Overall a good hike, not too strenuous, but just enough to make it a bit of a challenge (at least for someone like me from Indiana!).

Jack Clark
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 5, 2019
Hiking

Beautiful trail. We liked Dream lake best of the 5 including Haiyaya. It was cold at times so bring a jacket/layers. Loved this hike!!

Courtnii Parker
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 29, 2019
Hiking

The views were AMAZING!! But this trail is heavily trafficked. The Haiyaha Lake was the best and had the least amount of people. Bring mosquito spray!

erin mcgrath
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 29, 2019
Hiking

Did this hike two weeks ago it was a fantastic hike! A little crowded but once you get above Dream Lake it thins out a bit. definitely continue on to Emerald lake it is worth it!

marvin geisness
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 8, 2019
Hiking

Great trail if you start early! Loved the trail once we got past the first lake as there were fewer people. The falls are amazing but this was near the end of the trail and there were way to many people. Full loop is much more than what is stated.

Laura Lodewyk
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 6, 2019
Hiking

Easy to follow trails and beautiful scenery. Only snowy in some spots near lake emerald and lake haiyaha.

Daniel Perreira
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 11, 2019
HikingMuddyRockySnow

This trail is beautiful but the southern and western portions are still heavily covered in snow and ice. Bring the proper equipment and do not expect to sprint easily around the loop. There are several parts where the trail vanishes under several feet of snow and you have to best-guess where it leads. Amazing views though and we'll worth it!

Lineke Wo
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 5, 2019
HikingScrambleSnow

Stunning trail, but conditions are currently very difficult on the west part of the loop. Lots of soggy snow, and since part of the trail is not often used, it is hard to keep track of the trail. My partner and I got lost several times and we fell a lot. I lost one of my micro spikes. There were sections that I thought were dangerous. On the bright side: with almost nobody there it was spectacular to really be in the wild in a part of the park that is otherwise quite busy. Would definitely recommend this trail but I would suggest to wait another month.

David Miller
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 31, 2019
HikingOff trailScrambleSnow
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