Out and Back
On June 27, 2020, I hiked the Emerald Lake Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park. This trail includes four beautiful alpine lakes – Bear Lake, Nymph Lake, Dream Lake and Emerald Lake, which are all accessible from the Bear Lake Trailhead in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. The Emerald Lake Trail is a well maintained 3.1 mile trail, with modest 709 feet elevation gain, leading to Nymph, Dream and Emerald upper-montane lakes in Tyndall Gorge. The Tyndall Glacier is one of five active glaciers in the Rocky.
This picturesque hiking trail to Emerald Lake from the Bear Lake Trailhead is a popular trail with beautiful views, including Flattop Mountain, Hallett Peak, and Glacier Gorge. This is a great hike for photographers to capture spectacular shots of the lakes, nearby waterfalls and the surrounding mountains along the trail. Gorgeous scenery at the top with lovely waterfalls as you ascend.
Take a look at my nearby map, which includes waypoints for the many amazing photo opportunities. The hike took me about 3:00 hours after making numerous stops for photos. My actual moving time was closer to 2:15 hours. I arrived at the Bear Lake Trailhead (Waypoint: 40.312912, -105.646400; elevation: 8,165 feet) on June 27, 2020 around 5:50 AM and the parking lot was already filling up quickly.
After visiting Bear Lake, the Emerald Lake Trail is an easy climb through the scenery and next two lakes, Nymph and Dream Lakes. The trail then takes you to the precipice of the hike, Emerald Lake! It is sight to be seen and taken in on all levels. I suggest you climb around to the right of the path away from most of the tourist hikers and you will find perfect spots to picnic.
This trail is absolutely beautiful. However it is definitely not a secret. Expect large amounts of traffic on the trail. This trail can be very crowded with long queues around photo spots and bad trail etiquette.