Recommendations for Hiking Bear Lake Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado


Bear Lake trailhead is the most well known spot in Rocky Mountain National Park, and it is not challenging to see why. With four alpine lakes, nicely-marked paths and dream-like views, it tends to make for an unforgettable day in nature. 

Situated close to Estes, Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park is a year-round retreat for households, hikers and adventure lovers. The downtown region is charming, with bookstores and taffy shops to maintain you entertained.  Boasting  flowers in spring and skiing in the winter, there’s never ever a undesirable time to pay a visit to. In reality, Estes Park has extra than three million annual guests, 80% of them vacationers.

Here’s almost everything you require to know ahead of you go.


Sign at the entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park is positioned about an hour and a half northeast of Denver and an hour from Boulder. It is quick to access by means of wide open roads. As soon as you get into the park, the roads start off to get windy, and can be perilous at evening.

It fees $25 per day to enter with your car, though if you have a National Park Pass your admission is covered right here and at extra than two,000 other places. You can also pay a visit to on a day when there’s totally free admission. These pop up periodically, most generally in April, August, September and November even though the precise dates differ just about every year.

Note that the park gets quite crowded on totally free admission days and trails are closed when the parking lots get complete. I visited through a totally free admission weekend in August and was not in a position to hike Bear Lake in the morning due to the fact I got there at 9am and each lots had been currently at capacity. 

There are two visitor centers at two separate entrances. I was excited to see Beaver Meadows, a constructing made by Frank Lloyd Wright’s group. Nevertheless, aside from the architectural intrigue there is not a lot to see right here, so I advised stopping by Fall River Visitor Center as an alternative, which has a museum and restaurant.

Make certain you speak to a ranger ahead of starting your hike to get information and facts on parking, programming and climate for the day. They’re very beneficial, and it is fantastic to know if any trails are shut down or if there’s perilous climate situations ahead of time. They can also supply a totally free map if you require one particular. 

View of Nymph Lake through the trees

An alpine lake is a lake at five,000 feet altitude or extra. There are four alpine lakes total on this trail: Bear Lake, Nymph Lake, Dream Lake and Emerald Lake. 

Bear Lake is the easiest to access considering the fact that it is just a couple of feet away from the parking lot. It is also correct by the ranger station. They have restricted hours so make certain to ask any queries you have ahead of embarking on your trail as they most likely will not be there on your way out.

As soon as you finish admiring Bear Lake, continue along the path towards Nymph Lake. It is one particular of the most romantic locations I’ve ever observed, covered in lily pads and supplying secluded corners to sit and take in the beauty.

Following that is Dream Lake and yet another two thirds of a mile from there is Emerald Lake. The complete hike is just more than three.five miles round-trip with moderate terrain. You need to be in a position to total the hike in much less than four hours, maintaining a leisurely pace and stopping to take in the scenery. 

Standing in front of Bear Lake

I went in August and loved it. The climate was pleasant for hiking, not overly hot thanks to the elevation. The landscape was lush and creeks flowed freely. The only downside is I didn’t see a lot wildlife or flowers. 

The summer time months are the most crowded, involving June and August, even though you will not really feel overwhelmed by people today on the trail. It is nevertheless peaceful, even if hugely trafficked.

If you want to see flowers, I advise going to in May possibly. There are wildflowers in bloom that cover the mountains. It does get quite cold right here in the winter, so unless you are a fan of chilly climate, stay clear of that time of the year. 

Hershey kiss-shaped boulder

Make certain to have a hiking jacket on that can maintain you dry in case it rains. The climate is unpredictable. You will also want to have fantastic hiking boots. 

The ranger station at the entrance puts on educational demonstrations all through the day for totally free. They’re well known with young children but adults are welcome to watch and study as nicely. 

There are no trash bins or water fountains on the mountain so please take all your trash back out with you, and bring a lot of water. 

The most important parking lot fills up early — by 7am ordinarily — but there’s an overflow parking region and totally free shuttle service supplied. There are restrooms at the shuttle web site, so take benefit and use them ahead of your hike. Dogs or pets are not permitted on the trail. 

Pro tip: If you go in the afternoon, like about 3pm, most of the morning people today will have left by then and you might have a opportunity of parking in the on-web site lot. 

No matter what trail you opt for or how you program your itinerary, you are certain to adore your time at Rocky Mountain National Park. With views like this, how could you not?


Till subsequent time, secure travels! 

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Bear Lake Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park features four alpine lakes and makes a gorgeous day hike. Here's what you need to know before you go. Save to your travel board for future reference. #bearlakecolorado #rockymountainnationalpark #coloradotravel #coloradohiking #coloradohikes #nationalparktrips #nationalparktravel
Bear Lake Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park features four alpine lakes and makes a gorgeous day hike. Here's what you need to know before you go. Save to your travel board for future reference. #bearlakecolorado #rockymountainnationalpark #coloradotravel #coloradohiking #coloradohikes #nationalparktrips #nationalparktravel
Bear Lake Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park features four alpine lakes and makes a gorgeous day hike. Here's what you need to know before you go. Save to your travel board for future reference. #bearlakecolorado #rockymountainnationalpark #coloradotravel #coloradohiking #coloradohikes #nationalparktrips #nationalparktravel


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