Emerald Lake

9 reviews #3 hike out of 202 in
3.1 mi
Distance
1 hrs 37 min
Time
terrain
659 ft
Elev Gain

Overview

While in Rocky Mountain National Park, if you want to travel beyond the roadside overlooks and the walk around Bear Lake, this is the hike to do. The hike to Emerald Lake is most closest and easily accessed trail to visit the rugged east edge of the continental divide. This is a very popular trail, year round this trail is well defined, well maintained, and well traveled.

You will be walking up an elevation that's equivalent to walking the up the stairs of a 10 story building. Keep in mind, it's not the exactly like walking up 10 flights of stairs, you'll be stopping to take pictures, rest, having a snack, and taking in the view. But no matter you will be climbing around 660 feet, starting at 9,400 foot elevation. How long you stop and rest along the way is up to you. People of average health, and acclimated to the elevation can do this hike in a few hours.

You will start to walk towards Bear Lake, see a glimpse of it, and turn left up the trail toward Nymph Lake. Nymph Lake is a scenic small alpine lake. There’s a few outcroppings that make things scenic. The steepest part of the trail is just past Nymph Lake.

Dream Lake is where the view really goes from good to great. You will have – Wow! – moments if you've never been in an alpine environment before. This is one of the marquee views of Rocky Mountain National Park.

A little farther is Nymph Lake. The view goes from great to outstanding. It’s similar to Dream Lake, but everything is closer. Plan some time to take in the views of the cliffs and snowfields from the waters edge.

In the winter months (typically November through May), the trail is snow covered. Usually the trail is packed down and boots with good traction are adequate. Snowshoes are not needed unless it has recently snowed. Deep into winter (typically Late December through Early March) it is normally safe to walk across the frozen lakes. If you have any doubt about the stability of the ice, do not walk on it. Always remember, you are responsible for your own safety.



    Rate this Hike

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    9 months, 2 weeks ago
    My favorite hike. Very easy route. Bring warm clothes in summer
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    2 months ago
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    4 months ago
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    11 months, 3 weeks ago
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Public Tracks

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Chris Abney 3 years, 7 months ago
Emerald Lake + Others Trail
The hike to Emerald Lake is one of the most accessible hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park. If you are visiting RMNP, and have limited time to visit, the trail to Emerald Lake is an excellent option. You’ll pass both Dream Lake and Nymph lake before you end your hike at Emerald Lake and it’s stunning views of Hallet Peak. For more information on this hike, explore the trail profile which includes trail map, driving directions, and helpful tips and resources to enjoy this Colorado hike in Rocky Mountain National Park. Get to the Bear Lake trailhead early: We say this for almost every hike near Denver, but the Bear Lake Parking area is probably the busiest in the park. If you can’t get there early, just take the shuttle from the lower parking area.
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andrew 3 years, 7 months ago
Bear Lake Trailhead to Emerald Lake
A toddler hike at around half a mile per hour. We saw a herd of elk as we drove to the trailhead, and we saw a marmot when we reached Emerald Lake. Also zillions of chipmunks and many varieties of birds.
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andrew+a 3 years, 7 months ago
Bear Lake Trailhead to Emerald Lake
A toddler hike at around half a mile per hour. We saw a herd of elk as we drove to the trailhead, and we saw a marmot when we reached Emerald Lake. Also zillions of chipmunks and many varieties of birds.
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