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Emerald Lake

 109 votes

3.3 Miles 5.4 Kilometers



661' 201 m


-651' -198 m


10,104' 3,080 m


9,476' 2,888 m



Avg Grade (4°)


Max Grade (11°)

Minor Issues

3 days agoUpdate

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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4.7 from 109 votes

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Your Check-Ins


Nov 19, 2017
Katerina Chewy
Nov 18, 2017
Chrissie PENA
Nov 13, 2017
Anna Guembes Lilla
Nov 4, 2017
Terri Seldon
Hiked w/Brad, Molly & Brooke. It was 42, snowing & windy.
Nov 3, 2017
Cam Morton
Oct 27, 2017
David Verdun
hiked from BL trailhead, then continued on Best of Bear Lake loop
Oct 26, 2017
James Morrison
Oct 25, 2017
Peter Scott

Trail Ratings

  4.7 from 109 votes


in Bear Lake


  4.7 from 109 votes
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9,616 Since Jan 8, 2015
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Minor Issues 3 days ago
Snowy, Icy - Traction recommended
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Getting forecast...

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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