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Emerald Lake

 131 votes


3.3 Miles 5.4 Kilometers


661' 201 m


-651' -198 m



Avg Grade (4°)


Max Grade (11°)

10,104' 3,080 m


9,476' 2,888 m



All Clear 3 days ago
Snowy, Icy History

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An easy to moderate out and back that culminates at views of Emerald Lake.

Brian Smith


This is a short, fairly easy out-and-back that features Dream and Emerald Lakes.
Features: Birding — Fall Colors — Lake — River/Creek — Swimming — Views — Wildflowers — Wildlife
Family Friendly: This hike is short enough and gradual enough to bring along young kids. You can turn around whenever you want and there are many great picnic sport along the way!
Dogs: No Dogs


From the Bear Lake trailhead, follow the signs for Dream Lake onto this 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 1.5 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 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. The lake makes for a good resting point on this hike. Once you've gotten your fill at Dream Lake, continue hiking along the trail for another mile until you reach Emerald Lake. This lake is a beautiful sight to see as it sits nestled into the rugged western face of Flattop Mountain.

From Emerald Lake, turn around and hike back the way you came to the Bear Lake TH.

Flora & Fauna

This hike follows Tyndall Creek up towards its headwaters. Look for riparian vegetation typical of this environment including various willows, mountain alder, and water birch with dark-colored bark. In a few places, blue spruce may grow near streams and sometimes hybridize with Engelmann spruce.


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Apr 15, 2018
Sharon Stechman
Emerald Lake and back 4mi
Apr 15, 2018
Genevieve Labadie
Trail entirely covered in snow. Very happy to have micro-spikes on my boots. Lakes were frozen. Gorgeous, sunny weather despite wind.
Apr 13, 2018
Mike DeLuca
Apr 10, 2018
Don De Guzman
Mar 31, 2018
Brandt Cowan
Mar 31, 2018
Don De Guzman
Beautiful hike snow hike. Trails are not marked visibly with all the powders in the ground. Will come back in different season. 4mi
Mar 31, 2018
Katie K
Mar 31, 2018
Mike G

Trail Ratings

  4.7 from 131 votes


in Bear Lake


  4.7 from 131 votes
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in Bear Lake


in Colorado


1,085 Views Last Month
13,177 Since Jan 8, 2015
Easy/Intermediate Easy/Intermediate

In winter, go with snowshoes. Incredibly beautiful. And go on a weekday when there are very few people. Rent gear including warm clothes at Estes Park Mountain Shop and ask for Zion. Feb 2, 2017
Chad DuBois
Chad DuBois   Roaming
If you don't mind the hordes of people on this trail during the summer months, there is a great payoff at the end. Emerald lake is visually fantastic for such a short hike. Get there early! Aug 24, 2017

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