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 behind 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. The lake and Chaos Canyon are known for excellent bouldering.
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.