Explore the most popular kid friendly trails near Estes Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

12 hours ago

Great quick hike if you want something close to the Y. Views of the YMCA and the peaks of RMNP from the top. Glacier Creek Trail is also in this area and will lead you into RMNP with excellent views about a mile in.

Super easy and quick hike, can get a bit busy. If you’re experienced and looking for a longer trek take this trail further up to loch.

Took my family of teens up to Hiahaya and loved it! They thought the boulders were a ton of fun to climb on. So glad we went. Less people on this trail so more quiet to sit and soak in the serenity of it all. This is definitely one trail we will earmark for a return trip.

7/18/18: Stunning views! There are so many beautiful sights to see on this trail and I would highly recommend it. It’s worth the effort to make it all the way to Emerald Lake at the end. The trail is definitely moderate difficulty and being from a low-elevation place made it even harder for my wife and I.
Word to the wise, take all the comments about arriving early seriously. We arrived right at 7am on a Wednesday and the parking lot was 3/4th full at the Bear Lake Trailhead. It was completely full by 7:30 and cars were still pouring in looking for spots. The trails weren’t too crowded at 7, but by 9 there were tons of people on the trails and we frequently were either passing people or getting passed. There was always a steady stream of people coming in the other direction as we were descending. There are lots of families, big groups, and elderly people, so if you want to avoid that, start hiking no later than 7am on weekdays. Keep in mind that it does take a while to drive from the park entrance to the Bear Lake Trailhead/parking lot.

Short and very pleasant trail.
I feel Alberta falls is a little bit hyped (did not find it as beautiful as reviews suggest) but Mills lake is definitely a place of serenity !!!
You must plan some time to spent at the Mills Lake before descending.
One of the best part of the trail is that you can start this hike anytime of the day till 3 pm (in summer ) and still you can complete it with full sunlight.
Decent elevation gain.

Short and sweet

My boyfriend and I were here in the fall of 2017. I absolutely loved this hike! Though the lower portion of the trail was fairly crowded it was still really nice. I was shocked by the number of people hiking in sneakers, pull overs, or no jackets or hats, no water, etc. It was pretty cold/windy and icy already on some spots of the trail. By the time me got up to Emerald lake the wind was vicious but SO worth it. The sun was setting and made for some epic pictures. We are returning to RMNP in a few weeks. Can’t wait to walk this trail in the summer.

Lovely, easy trail through open meadows as well as forested parts. There are still many wildflowers to be seen along the way. The trail is not well marked. It goes through a gated area of private land then follows the creek. The area close to the falls was damaged in 2013 during flooding. We enjoyed the area very much... beautiful rocks and boulders.

Walked this trail in January on a gorgeous clear day. It cemented my new found love of the Rockies!

Very busy due to the popularity, but an amazingly scenic hike. Nymph, Dream, and Emerald Lakes are all beautiful. My 8 and 5 year olds handled the hike just fine.

Beautiful and so fun to fish at, really enjoyed it

Stunning! We started on the Emerald Lake Trail, and then we took the Lake Haiyaha trail on our way back. When we left Lake Haiyaha, we took the trail back to the Glacier Gorge bus stop. It was lovely!

Emerald Lake Trail itself was easy if you were in shape and moderate if you aren’t. It’s well-maintained.

FYI - The parking lot is usually full by 7 or 7:30. Otherwise, you’ll have to park at the shuttle station and ride up. Shuttles run every seven minutes or so. They cram them full of people.

hiking
2 days ago

One of the MUST HIKES in the park in my opinion. Short, relatively easy hike that rewards you with breathtaking views. I rate it as EASY for experienced hikers and MODERATE for families. Do not stop at Dream Lake... go to the top, it is worth the extra 20 minutes or so. I recommend a sunrise hike to avoid crowds. Parking becomes rare after 7am in the summer so be prepared to take the shuttle if you sleep in. Mosquitos are a problem at the lakes in the morning, so plan accordingly to enjoy your time there. I suggest this as a first hike of the day, then go elsewhere when the buses begin to run. Enjoy!

Started at 4:15 this morning to be in place for first light and sunrise over the lake. We had the whole lake to ourselves. Our timing was good, but we went left (west) around the lake, and could only find a lake entrance on the east end in the dark. If you go right (east), there is a short trail just down the hill to the lake with a good view of the colors in the sky. Overall though, there are better spots for a sunrise, so only 3oo5 stars.

Beautiful.

Fun hike great falls at the end

This trail is awesome because it gives people who can't hike to some of the other mountain lakes a chance to see one almost just as good. This trail is wheelchair accessible. The lake is beautiful and it is a great place to hike. The trail also connects to a large loop that connects several mountain lakes. You don't want to miss this one.

Beautiful scenery! This water fall is amazing. The trail is also very well kept up.

hiking
3 days ago

Listed well as a moderate hike. The views were breathtaking, and there are plenty of areas to stop and rest, if needed. As already mentioned, arrive very early (around 7AM) or later in the afternoon (after 5) to avoid the crowd and find parking. Definitely a hiking must for anyone visiting or in the area!

It was amazing! Very well marked trail. The lakes are evenly spaced out so you hike a little, then see a beautiful lake, hike a little more, see another one, and then hike a little further and you’re lead to the grand finally. Definitely recommend! Very rewarding!

hiking
4 days ago

As a first timer to the Rockies this was a nice easy introduction to the park, but start early to avoid high traffic. Arrived at trailhead around 6:30 on Saturday 7/14 and lot was half full. If you want more challenge and a more beautiful scenic lake, take the trail to Lake Haiyaha where the trail splits at Dream Lake, either after Dream or coming back from Emerald. The views going up are more breathtaking and more iconic than what you would see going to Emerald.

Gorgeous views. Easy half mile hike. Perfect for kids.

Short hike up stone steps. Amazing views. We finished just before a storm rolled in

High traffic beautiful scenery but if you want solitude and a challenge for a 20-25 year old it is not what you are looking for.

Great hike toward the late afternoon it wasn’t as crowded as it could have been

This was a nice unplanned hike after we couldn’t park at Bearlake trailhead. Even on a Saturday during July not that busy. The treat was a pristine lake with a beautiful view of the mountains in the background.

One of the best moderate hikes in RMNP, I really love this one. Make sure you bring plenty of water and a camera as this trail offers great views, wildlife, and a relaxing journey. Get there early in the summer as the trail gets quite full the closer to noon you get.

Allow for at least 3 hours, maybe closer to 4 depending on how much time you take to rest. Also plan on it being close to 7 miles total if you park at one entrance or another as they are a mile apart from each other.

If you can, go in the fall, as the fall leaves are truly mesmerizing.

Unbelievably amazing hike! Steady inclines at times but overall a pretty doable trail by anyone.
I arrived at 6:30pm on a Saturday and the parking had empty spots. Saw a ton of people at the beginning of the trail but the further you go the less people you’ll see.
A lot of bugs when you hike at a later time so bring some bug spray with you! Also, bring a flashlight just in case you need it!

Crowded but so beautiful. Not much of a hike at all.

Beautiful trail!

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