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greenBlue Emerald Lake

  4.7 ( 217 )

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3.3 mile 5.4 kilometer loop


Ascent: 661' 201 m
Descent: -651' -198 m
High: 10,104' 3,080 m
Low: 9,476' 2,888 m


Avg Grade: 7% (4°)
Max Grade: 19% (11°)


No Dogs
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Trail shared by Brian Smith

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

Brian Smith

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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Apr 15, 2019
Mark Pellittieri
Apr 13, 2019
Apr 4, 2019
Abby Lowe
Mar 18, 2019
Tayler Corcoran
With Ava — 2h 16m
Feb 26, 2019
Mi Jung Chung
Feb 19, 2019
Corbin Thornbrough
Feb 9, 2019
Lizzie Mosier
Dec 28, 2018
Terry Breedlove

Trail Ratings

  4.7 from 217 votes


in Bear Lake


  4.7 from 217 votes
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in Colorado


608 Views Last Month
26,368 Since Jan 8, 2015
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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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