Located in lower Chaos Canyon, Lake Haiyaha is unlike other lakes in Rocky Mountain National Park because it is surrounded by enormous boulders on all sides, left by a retreating glacier.
Since my trip was in winter, with substantial snowfall, I was able to travel over most of the boulders with my snowshoes. However, getting to Lake Haiyaha from Dream Lake created some navigation challenges you would not normally find in the summer months. A less traveled, unique, and beautiful hike.
Trailhead: Bear Lake Round trip: 4 miles / 6.4 km Elevation: 9,475′-10,244′ (+769′) / 2,888m – 3,122m (+234m)
The trail begins alongside Bear Lake and climbs westward towards Tyndall Gorge, passing Nymph Lake along the way. Past Nymph Lake the trails climbs again to Dream Lake. Once there, the trail moves up a southward slope into the Chaos Canyon drainage and arrives at Lake Haiyaha, located at timberline along Chaos Creek.
Lots of scrambling in the summer over the last 1/4 mile to the lake, which is surrounded by large boulders.
Haiyaha – a Native American word for rock – aptly describes this secluded, boulder-riddled lake in lower Chaos Canyon.
Near the Bear Lake trailhead heading to Nymph Lake
Crossing frozen Nymph Lake, a lily pond in summer.
Looking at Nymph Lake as I climb the Dream Lake trail
Approaching Dream Lake, looking for a way to Lake Haiyaha through the dense forest on the left.
From the left - Storm Peak (13,326'), Longs Peak (14,259') with the flat summit, followed by the spires of Keyboard of the Winds. In the distance (center) is Pagoda Mountain (13,497'). Thatchtop Mountain (12,667') is the tallest peak on the right.
Passing through a dense forest after Dream Lake
Chaos Canyon with Lake Hiayaha just ahead
Otis Peak (12,486) ahead as I get over the ridge from Dream Lake.
Lake Hiayaha below right with Hallett Peak on the left.
January view of Lake Haiyaha
Standing on frozen Lake Haiyaha looking into Chaos Canyon
Crack in the ice on Lake Haiyaha
Upheaval of ice on Lake Haiyaha
Returning to Dream Lake, the clouds started rolling in