Lake Haiyaha (10,244′)

Lake Haiyaha (10,244′)

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.

StatsRoute DescriptionDirectionsNotes

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.

GPX file

The trek to Lake Haiyaha

Map to Lake Haiyaha
Map to Lake Haiyaha

Pictures

  • Near the Bear Lake trailhead heading to Nymph Lake

    Near the Bear Lake trailhead heading to Nymph Lake

  • Crossing Nymph Lake

    Crossing frozen Nymph Lake, a lily pond in summer.

  • Looking at Nymph Lake as I climb the Dream Lake trail

    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.

    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.

    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

    Passing through a dense forest after Dream Lake

  • Chaos Canyon with Lake Hiayaha just ahead

    Chaos Canyon with Lake Hiayaha just ahead

  • Otis Peak (12,486) ahead as I get over the ridge from Dream Lake.

    Otis Peak (12,486) ahead as I get over the ridge from Dream Lake.

  • Lake Hiayaha below right with Hallett Peak on the left.

    Lake Hiayaha below right with Hallett Peak on the left.

  • Lake Hiayaha

    Lake Hiayaha

  • January view of Lake Haiyaha

    January view of Lake Haiyaha

  • Standing on frozen Lake Haiyaha looking into Chaos Canyon

    Standing on frozen Lake Haiyaha looking into Chaos Canyon

  • Crack in the ice on Lake Haiyaha

    Crack in the ice on Lake Haiyaha

  • Upheaval of ice on Lake Haiyaha

    Upheaval of ice on Lake Haiyaha

  • Returning to Dream Lake, the clouds started rolling in

    Returning to Dream Lake, the clouds started rolling in

  • Coyote keeping an eye on me

    Coyote keeping an eye on me

  • Part of a Coyote pack I ran into

    Part of a Coyote pack I ran into

  • Herd of male elk at dusk

    Herd of male elk at dusk

  • Mule deer at dusk

    Mule deer at dusk

  • A herd of female elk

    A herd of female elk

  • Large male elk at dusk

    Large male elk at dusk

 

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