Distance: Approximately 3.5 miles Roundtrip
This rocky mountain lake trio works well for those visiting Rocky Mountain National Park for the first time and in April, often provides snowshoeing opportunity. The trail is beginner friendly and easily accessible with fun challenges that vary in degree of difficulty. And each destination is dramatically beautiful.
Park at the Bear Lake Trailhead and before you begin, stop by the ranger station to talk with volunteers about trail conditions and gear recommendations, rules/regulations, the national park in general, wildlife, and more! Continue past the ranger station and follow the sign toward Emerald Lake.
The trail gradually climbs through a beautifully aromatic conifer forest until reaching Nymph Lake, which was still frozen and easy to walk across. There is a log bench on the Northwest shore that can serve as a landmark to reconnect with the trail, which gets steeper from this point. At about ⅕ of a mile, there is a fantastic spot to catch your breath and view Longs Peak and Glacier Gorge.
Continue hiking through the forest to Dream Lake, best viewed from its spectacular eastern shore. When it’s not fully frozen, follow the trail along the northern shore to skirt around the lake.
Carry on past Dream Lake and push up steep forested slopes for a half mile to Emerald Lake. With low winds and bluebird skies, this is an amazing spot to share an afternoon with chatty Stellar's Jays, Blue Jays, and Mountain Chickadees.
Follow the trail back the way you came, and find all those steep sections you worked so hard to ascend but this time, glissade down them! This multi-lake traverse is best served with a generous dose of sunshine, laughter, and friends-
Enjoy, and Happy Trails!