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.

Length6.8 miElevation gain1,332 ftRoute typeLoop
HikingNature tripsSnowshoeingWalkingBird watchingForestLakeRiverViewsWaterfallWildflowersWildlifeRockyFeeNo dogs
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Getting There

Rocky Mountain National Park charges a fee to enter. Fees are per vehicle/motorcycle. If you are entering on foot, horse, or bike the fee is per person. You can also purchase a park-specific annual pass. Please check with the park for current rates. 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 (128)
Photos (9,674)
Activities (102)
Completed (1,157)
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Laura Omena
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Hiking

A bit slushy but beautiful

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Taylor deLisle
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Hiking

Everything was fine, until we passed Lake Haiyaha. After that, the trails became less clear and the snow up to your waist. Unfortunately, we left the snow shoes back at the car this trip. We ended up turning back around. We are very familiar with this trail, but with the main trail not marked and buried in snow, it became unsafe. Humbling reminder that it's very easy to get turned around in the snow!

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Melissa Funes
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Hiking

We ended up skipping lake Haiayaha because we didn’t have snowshoes and there was no clear trail. The other lakes were awesome all of them completely frozen over and able to walk over them. The wind was its worst while walking on dream lake. It won’t be long before snowshoes will be necessary if the snow keeps falling as it was today (01/05).

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Kathleen Markham
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Hiking
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Ludovic Gros
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HikingGreat!
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Jason Tedtman
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HikingGreat!

Great easy hike to 4 lakes, each with different characteristics.

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Lori Loehr
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Hiking
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Annie Huffman
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Hiking

The first part had more people on the trail than we would like. The views were gorgeous except for the smoke in the air making it hazy.

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Steve Styers
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Hiking

Great scenic views along the trail to the lakes on the route. I took the loop clockwise so I wouldn't have to finish on an uphill ascent back to Bear.

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Amir Kohanpur
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Matt McLoughlin
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Ericka Lewis
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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.

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Souzana Vang
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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.

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steph keaty
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Hiking
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Vincent Stoquart
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Hiking

Superbe rando, bravo aux enfants !!!

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A Goodie
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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.

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Teresa Tibbetts
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Hiking

Tour de Lakes!! Nymph to dream to emerald to hyatha and around bear lake

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Jamie W
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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.

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Robert Greer
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HikingGreat!

This is the second time hiking this trail, if this is your first time hiking Rocky Mountain NP I would recommend this hike first, especially if you are not used to the altitude this is an easier hike in the park and you get several alpine lake views with mountain back drops

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Jacky Ramirez
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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.

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Z. Zhang
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HikingSnow
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Michael Everette
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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.

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Matt Prell
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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.

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Brandon Cash - Fanshaw
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Hiking

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

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Talisha Dennison
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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.

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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!

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mark brockbanks
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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.

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