🌎Moderate- Rocky Mountain National Park



Elevation gain


Route type


Try this 3.2-mile out-and-back trail near Estes Park, Colorado. Generally considered a moderately challenging route, it takes an average of 1 h 39 min to complete. This is a very popular area for fishing, hiking, and snowshoeing, so you'll likely encounter other people while exploring. The trail is open year-round and is beautiful to visit anytime. You'll need to leave pups at home — dogs aren't allowed on this trail.

• Rocky Mountain National Park charges a fee to enter. You can also purchase a park-specific annual pass. For more information, please see https://www.nps.gov/romo/planyourvisit/fees.htm
• Parking is limited at this popular trailhead. Rocky Mountain National Park offers shuttle service to this location. For more information, please visit: https://www.nps.gov/romo/planyourvisit/shuttle-buses-and-public-transit.htm

Learn more about EMERALD LAKE


This scenic hiking trail through the Tyndall Gorge to Emerald Lake is an extremely popular route in Rocky Mountain National Park. Starting from the Bear Lake Trailhead, hikers will walk through pine forests, past pristine alpine lakes including Nymph Lake and Dream Lakes, and be treated to beautiful vistas of rocky peaks. Throughout your trip you’ll come across incredible views of Flattop Mountain, Hallett Peak, Glacier Gorge, and Tyndall Glacier.

This is a great hike for photographers to capture spectacular shots of the surrounding mountains along the trail. Consider extending your journey to the beautiful Lake Haiyaha by turning left just before reaching Dream Lake!

You can also hike to Emerald Lake in the winter. Before heading out on a winter hike in Rocky Mountain National Park, it is a good idea to have winter hiking experience. Snowshoes, micro-spikes, or crampons may be needed on this trail depending on conditions. It advised to keep your eye on weather and avalanche conditions. Winter weather can be extreme at higher elevations in the park, and it is critical to be prepared with extra layers and an emergency plan any time you are heading out.

The parking lot for Emerald Lake Trail is at the end of Bear Lake Road - a short drive from Estes Park in Colorado. The parking lot fills up quickly during the summer season, so you may want to consider taking the shuttle bus to Bear Lake instead of driving.

Little icy and snowy but doable with spikes!
— Bridget Sonnemaker
Awesome trail to Emerald Lake, spikes and poles were very helpful, I wouldn’t do it without them, although some people were. Go early before parking fills up. Highly recommended.
— Jordan Lebel
It is SO slippery without ice spikes!!! The frozen lakes were awesome though. Worth it to go all the way up to the top!!!!!
— Lia Sideris