Explore the most popular lake 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.

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.

Honestly one of the best hikes I have ever been on. The elevation takes some getting used to if your like me (from North Carolina) so be sure to take some extra water with you. Went late afternoon, got on the trail around 3:15 because the parking lot was full. Got to sky pond around 6:00 without making any stops.
Trail is pretty rugged toward the end, but if you enjoy climbing, it shouldn’t be an issue for you. Be sure to bring bug spray because they will GET YOU!!! Also a change of shoes/socks (or water shoes if you want to swap). My feet got soaked climbing up the waterfall getting to the end of the trail and soggy feet can be a bit annoying after awhile.
All and all, probably one of the best hikes I have ever been on! Highly recommend!

love this hike! My first hike rated hard! It was challenging, but we did it! Beautiful! So many waterfalls, wildflowers, and 3 lakes! This hike won my heart!

hiking
1 day ago

I am a 54 year old novice hiker. My son and I hiked this trail the first week in September 2017. The round trip took a solid 10 hours, but we stopped regularly and enjoyed the views. Unfortunately there was heavy haze due to wild fires in Wyoming. But it was an adventure that we thoroughly enjoyed. I look forward to hiking again on a clear day. There were ample Pika, Marmots and a few Ptarmigans. Overall it’s a great hike, even for a beginner.

hiking
1 day ago

Great hike! Flowers still out in full force. I recommend getting there early because parking is tight later in the day. I got there by 8am and saw few people until 10am. I saw an elk and mule deer. The stream is beautiful. I was wearing a full pack for the first time and it was a great trail for that.

on Emerald Lake Trail

hiking
1 day ago

great hike, with views iconic to colorado - when you see colorado in a photo album, this trail contains views that showcases this.

Amazing.

Easy to moderate, gets your muscles working but nothing too strenuous. Maybe not the best for young children in some parts for inexperienced/non-local people like myself but still doable!

Crowded as hell so many rude people, couldn’t go more than 15 seconds without seeing someone else

A quick and easy walk. I’d recommend doing this as a cool down from the Emerald Lake Trail.

Gorgeous views from a reasonably short trail. Lots of wildlife along the way!

hiking
1 day ago

I did the emerald Lake route . I’m not sure why they called it moderate? It’s a nice 45 min stroll to the lake on a amazingly maintained trail, even paved at the beginning. It’s a great trail for families and young ones . If you want more of a challenge hike around the right side of emerald Lake. It is what I would call a very stable rock scramble and doable by older kids with good shoes( some traction on Btm). Then hike up to the falls which are really pretty . That extension makes the hike moderate and is well worth it plus it’s gets you away from the masses . If you are really an extremist then try hiking up the valley to the right of the river and falls. It is an advanced hike and gets to class 3-4 with 80% grade. Tougher going up but you need poles coming down or you take some falls . Do not hike in single file here as you will trigger rock slides due to grade. Also it is what I’d call a loose rock scramble!! Views are insane from up there but be careful as footing is tricky and it requires some rock climbing .

We loved this hike! Perfect hike for a day. On a Friday there were others out there but not a ton. Go to the end. Emerald Lake is worth it!

Such an amazing hike! I made the trek out to RMNP on a Tuesday morning, though made the mistake of getting there at 10am. Took a bit of time to find parking since everything was full (get there early!!!) but eventually parked and hit the trailhead at 10:30am. It took me 2 hours to get to lake of glass and then another .5 mile to get to sky pond. Beautiful views, definitely worth the longer hike! I went via bear lake trail so it ended up being a 10 mile hike total. Took me 5 hours total with stops and breaks for lunch. Trails weren’t super packed Tuesday morning but the parking lots definitely were, so just beware if you think you’ll luck out with a weekday hike.

hiking
2 days ago

Easy, busy, but beautiful for sure

walking
2 days ago

Fun trail - serves as a good warm-up hike. A moose came from the marshy area south of the lake and proceeded to go in the lake to eat on 7/11/18.

hiking
2 days ago

One of my favorite 14ers to date. Summited July 1st on a blue sky day. Healthy winds brought down the temperature for the start of July, but no a cloud in sight. Trail was dry all the way up.

Bierstadt Lake Trail is a nice hike. I tried it instead of the more popular trails. I decided to drive to the park and drive lot at 6 am and found myself as the second vehicle at the parking lot. I hiked up to the lake and it was a nice quiet hike. I did the loop and took the trail down to Bear Lake Rd once at the bottom, I took the trail next to Bear Lake Rd back to the Park and Ride. It was a good hike for an estimate of 4 miles.

2 days ago

Loved this trail. Switchbacks through the woods and then nice clearing with beautiful views on the way up. Near the lake, there is a bit of a scramble but it was such fun. Go early to avoid heat and the crowds!

If you’re a true hiker, definitely hike to Loch Vale. The view is absolutely stunning and worth every minute.

hiking
3 days ago

Super fun and easy!

Cool hike do early morning or at after 5 to avoid crowd. 3 cool lakes. Keep going to see the last view!

backpacking
3 days ago

I hiked to Jim’s Grove on my first day and camped for the night. I then woke up sometime in the wee hours of the morning to get to the summit. The weather was perfect and the trail was actually minimally trafficked. This was my first solo hike and 14er. That being said, it was the most challenging hike I have done. Make sure to bring a water filter and all of your endurance. The scrambling portion is no joke and it lasts quite a long time. Kudos to those who do this peak all in one day.

If you’re not from Colorado, or used to the elevation, this trail may be a bit harder than easy. I dragged my brother through this one, all the way up to Emerald lake. We started with Bear lake loop and then headed upwards from the trail head. You’ll pass Dream lake on the way. Everything is gorgeous. This trail was highly trafficked but well worth it to see Emerald lake. If you have the gear, time, and skill level, you could continue hiking up the rock walls on the left side of Emerald lake and connect to other trails.

Did this hike Saturday July 7. We got to the trailhead at 530am and the lot was almost full. It took us about 2hr 45 min to get up and exactly 2 hrs to get down with a few breaks. We spent about 30 mins at Sky Pond. When we were hiking down, tons of people were going up. Tons. So glad we started at 530am because it was getting warm, although most of the trail is covered. Beautiful views going up and equally beautiful coming down. A really great hike. I wouldn't rate this hard, maybe moderate. Tracker said the hike is closer to 9.3 miles RT. Def recommend it!

Great trail with some awesome views! Decent elevation gain. Get there early!

hiking
4 days ago

Good through the woods trail with a medium incline

Great hike. No snow. No bugs. I did see a park ranger smoking a cigarette on the trail. That was very disappointing

hiking
4 days ago

absolutely beautiful lake. i wish i could’ve made it further but was experiencing altitude sickness. but dream lake is definitely doable if you experience that if you take breaks and go at your own pace. before i got there, there was a bear sighting too

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