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.

Beautiful views at Sky Pond today! Overall the trail is more moderate, but the waterfall climb is probably what qualifies it as difficult. Beware if you look at the map at the trailhead and use it to calculate mileage it's actually 9.8 miles round trip.

A beautiful hike and yes come prepared with plenty of water and sun screen. Took the fire trail cut off on the way back and saved 0.5 miles

hiking
20 hours ago

We had a great day on Longs today. Started 2am, summited at 7:10am, arrived back to the car at 11:40. I drank all 3 liters of water I packed, and was glad my partner had a water purifier. Note that in addition to the restrooms at the trailhead, there are two more chances to visit the privy on the trail (at Chasm Junction and the Boulder Field). Bring your own toilet paper, just in case.

The moose at the top in the lake to the left was a bonus!

My favorite hike I've ever done. very challenging but doable. loved the rock scramble at the very end up to the lake. my first ever rock scramble. once you get to the boulder field the views will take your breathe away. pictures can never do justice to how amazing it really is. app is a little off, the total round trip distance is about 8.4 miles from the Long's peak trailhead

So beautiful! The most beautiful and the most difficult trail I’ve ever done. It was an all day experience so wear your hiking boots, bring sunscreen, insect repellent, and a Camelback of water. SO worth it! The entire trail is beautiful but it’s worth it to keep going until sky pond!
My husband and I are moderately fit but not acclimated to the altitude and it took us 8 hours, we took quite a few breaks to take pictures and enjoy the scenery.

hiking
1 day ago

Awesome summit. We got to the park at about 8:20 and bear lake parking was full, the park and ride was easy though. Great look outs at spots below the tree line and amazing views above tree line. Marmot and Pika were everywhere. Fun climb to the summit, rocky and steep but nothing crazy. Had to race a storm down that rolled in as we were descending, but we were prepared. No snow on the trail anymore. I highly recommend this trail.

So beautiful! The most beautiful and the most difficult trail I’ve ever done. It was an all day experience so wear your hiking boots, bring sunscreen, insect repellent, and a Camelback of water. SO worth it! The entire trail is beautiful but it’s worth it to keep going until sky pond!

We arrived at the Bear Lake trail head about 12 to 1 pm and started the hike shortly after. We were in three groups with different experience levels. I was the least experienced and least fit on the three groups. Thankfully I had a buddy that stayed with me through day one of the hike.

The first evening we hiked the first part of the bear lake trail until it intersected with the Flattop Mountain Trail and made a sharp left onto the Flattop Mountain trail. We followed the trail until it intersected with the Fern Lake Trail. We then followed that past lake Odessa and on to Fern Lake.

We arrived at Fern lake and made camp on the far side of the lake in one of the camp sites. Reservations needed.

The next day we broke camp and followed Fern lake trail to The Pool and broke for lunch at The Pool.

As we broke for lunch I found The Pool a great place to remove my boots and socks and soak those tied dogs in the cold crisp icy water of the Thompson River. As you arrive at The Pool, if you cross the little log bridge, you will find a nice rock with a trail / elevation designator on it and that rock makes an awesome place to get to the rivers edge for a good foot soak.

We then followed Fern Lake trail past through the huge rocks, and on to the Fern Lake trail head.

It was a beautiful hike through the mountains.

I’m actually looking forward to another pass through this trail.

The highlights of this particular hike has to be as you turn the corner of the trail and start the decent into the valley toward Odessa Lake, the scenery is beautiful to say the least. Norman Rockwell would have loved this picturesque valley.

As you start the decent into the valley toward Lake Odessa I felt that the terrain changed and became more challenging. First your working a different set of muscles now as your hiking downhill and second the trail is now covered with many more large rocks to traverse on your descent. For those of us in a little less than great shape this is a bigger challenge than for those with the skills of a mountain goat.

My sons highlight of the trail was the little pesky chip monks who take up residence at The Pool. They will gladly accept any handouts and stuff their little cheeks full.

It was a wonderful nearly 17 miles and hopefully the first of many more such adventures.

First time doing this trail and I loved it. I left a little late in the day around 1:30 and I was back down by 4pm (hung out at the lake for at 45 mins). Traffic is bad down at the bottom but once we got onto the loch trail it thinned out a lot. Bits of sun and bits a shade, gorgeous waterfall views. When you finally arrive to Loch it is sooo rewarding and SO beautiful. Amazing hike for it only being 5 1/2 - 6 miles long!

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.

So beautiful! Worth the mini rock climb to get to the top!

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.

2 days ago

Great views. I posted a trail review on Flattop.

hiking
2 days ago

Heed the advice of other reviews, arrive at Bear lake before 6:30 or be condemned to the ride and park. The trail is well maintained and heavily trafficked. Several scenic views are available to stop and have a drink on the ascent. Marmots and Elk abound above the timberline. The only negative is the view from the top is obscured by the flatness of the summit. My advice is to take this hike, but do it as part of your hike to Hallet Peak which offers a better vantage point and very little additional hike.

okay just got this app but I hike very often and want to warn people of this crazy deee that wonders around and scared me and some friends while sleeping and would follow us around. so FYI. it was two years ago but he is getting more famous or she idk

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.

A beautiful hike. Took our 6 year old and she did great but she loves hiking a lot! It was cold closer to lake Ida as we took that trail and a storm rolled in so be prepared for rain and to get to safety if one pops up. The views are to die for and we even got to see Elk on our way back down and some mountain sheep and marmot! Overall wonderful hike!

beutiful, the last mile is the hardest and most challenging

Absolutely beautiful. Had a bit of bouldering to reach the peak.

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.

Another MUST HIKE in RMNP! Its is a MODERATE hike for families and an EASY hike for experienced hikers. Less crowded than Emerald Lake, but still busy mid-day. There is some sun exposure mid-hike so plan for sunscreen. Bugs were not really an issue for us. The mileage is a little off... more along the 7 mile round trip for us according to the app, but we tend to explore a little. Parking is rare after 7am in the summer. Enjoy!

hiking
3 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!

Arrived to the trailhead around quarter of 2, but parked at about 2 because of how busy the Glacier Gorge trailhead lot gets. Made it up to Sky Pond around 3:30, motivated by the threat of lightning, but the thunder that had developed by this point cleared up about ten minutes in, and the sun came out, making this one of the most gorgeous hikes I've done. Each hanging lake is worth a hike if its own! The trail is very nicely carved nearly the entire way up except for a small waterfall scramble, which makes it great for trail running down. After spending about an hour at the pond I jogged back down to the parking lot for quarter of 6. Will easily be coming back to show friends this one!

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.

Load More