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Emerald Lake

Intermediate
 4.7 (306) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

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


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Map Key

3.3

Miles

5.4

KM

Loop

10,104' 3,080 m

High

9,476' 2,888 m

Low

661' 201 m

Up

651' 198 m

Down

7%

Avg Grade (4°)

19%

Max Grade (11°)

Dogs No Dogs

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 spot along the way!

Overview

This is a short, fairly easy out-and-back that features Dream and Emerald Lakes.

Description

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.

Contacts

Shared By:

Brian Smith with improvements by Waylon Calabrese

Trail Ratings

  4.7 from 306 votes

#2

in Bear Lake

#11

Overall
  4.7 from 306 votes
5 Star
76%
4 Star
22%
3 Star
2%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#2

in Bear Lake

#7

in Colorado

#11

Overall
722 Views Last Month
41,654 Since Jan 8, 2015
Intermediate

7%
1%
84%
2%
6%
0%

Photos

Representing the REI NP Centennial backpack at Dream Lake, looking towards Flattop Mountain (right) and Hallett Peak (left).
May 20, 2016 near Estes Park, CO
The view to Hallett Peak and Flattop Mountain from Dream Lake.
Dec 8, 2015 near Estes Park, CO
Dancing up a dream.
Apr 23, 2017 near Estes Park, CO
Long's Peak and aspens
Jan 19, 2015 near Estes Park, CO
Dream Lake
Jan 8, 2015 near Estes Park, CO
Dream Lake
Aug 25, 2015 near Estes Park, CO

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Update Conditions
All Clear 20 days ago See History
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Check-Ins

Oct 17, 2020
Jeff Nielson
Wonderful day hike. Crazy snow in the morning but became warmer and more manageable as the day went on. 4mi — 2h 30m
Oct 15, 2020
Tyler Shepard
Oct 13, 2020
Kathy Cox
Birthday Hike. 50 degrees & sunny.
Oct 12, 2020
Manoj Abey
3.5mi
Oct 11, 2020
mark berno
Oct 10, 2020
Kayla Finklein
Oct 7, 2020
Yan Li
Oct 6, 2020
Jennifer Smith