Bear Lake to Emerald Lake
Rocky Mountain National Park
Date Hiked: Sept 21, 2008
Distance: 3.6 mi (RT)
Elevation Gain: 605ft
Elevation Min/Max: 9,475 to 10,100ft
Managing Agency: National Park Service
Fee: Yes, $20 (annual pass available)
Rocky Mountain National Park Trail Page (NPS)
Directions: This hike starts at Bear Lake. Enter the park through the Beaver Meadows entrance ($20 fee). Make a left on Bear Lake Road and take it all the way to the end. Parking is a hot commodity in the summer so better to park at the shuttle parking lot and take the free shuttle to Bear Lake.
The hike to Emerald Lake is a classic Rocky Mountain NP hike, you will not be disappointed. The trail start at the southern end of Bear Lake and follow the trail signs to Nymph Lake, enjoy the view. Then continue along the trail to Dream Lake, again, enjoy the view. From Dream Lake continue on the trail for another half mile or so to Emerald Lake, really, enjoy the view. All three lake are ridiculously scenic but Emerald Lake is an alpine wonder. The iconic and prominent Hallett Peak and Flattop Mountain are so close that you can almost touch them and the waters of the lake earn their name with a deep green/blue glow. You won't be alone here, but you'll get a true Rocky Mountain National Park experience with just a minimum amount of effort.