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Emerald Lake

 4.7 (211)
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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


Shared By Brian Smith


Minor Issues 60 days ago
Snowy - Snow is shallow for the majority of the hike. 0.8 miles in snow drift can get pretty deep. Difficult to follow trail at times History

Getting forecast...

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

Brian Smith

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 sport along the way!


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


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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Your Check-Ins


Dec 28, 2018
Terry Breedlove
Dec 3, 2018
Emily Den Boer
Nov 23, 2018
Monica Shekhar
Nov 20, 2018
Timothy & Caitlin Sweet
Beautiful stops for photography, bird viewing... Great hike for a family or quick out & back with scenic views and minimal effort. 6.2mi
Nov 17, 2018
Kayla Maness
Nov 14, 2018
Jaimie Whaley
Trail completely covered in snow. All 3 lakes were frozen over. Easy hike with yaktrax. 3.3mi
Nov 2, 2018
lindsey n.
Oct 31, 2018
Corey R

Trail Ratings

  4.7 from 211 votes


in Bear Lake


  4.7 from 211 votes
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in Bear Lake


in Colorado


581 Views Last Month
24,067 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
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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