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Emerald Lake

Intermediate
 4.7 (335) 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

Out and Back

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 335 votes

#2

in Bear Lake

#14

Overall
  4.7 from 335 votes
5 Star
76%
4 Star
21%
3 Star
2%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#2

in Bear Lake

#7

in Colorado

#14

Overall
281 Views Last Month
46,220 Since Jan 8, 2015
Intermediate

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82%
4%
5%
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
Dream Lake
Jan 8, 2015 near Estes Park, CO
Long's Peak and aspens
Jan 19, 2015 near Estes Park, CO
Dream Lake
Aug 25, 2015 near Estes Park, CO

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

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Check-Ins

Oct 21, 2021
Danny Collins
Oct 15, 2021
Alex Mauro Ross
To dream lake
Sep 28, 2021
Bear Rinehart
Sep 26, 2021
Ivan Vo
Sep 26, 2021
Harris Ahmed
Sep 23, 2021
Yue Li
Andrea hiked it — 3h 30m
Sep 19, 2021
Shawna Newsome
Sep 5, 2021
Sandy Oaks
always worth the hype 3.3mi