Starting at the Bear Lake Trailhead in Rocky Mountain National Park, the trail passes Nymph and Dream Lakes on the way to Emerald Lake, with prominent views of Longs Peak, Glacier Gorge, Flattop Mountain, and Hallett Peak. If you have limited time to explore, this should be on your list for it’s beauty and accessibility, even in winter (additional gear required).
- Trailhead: Bear Lake
- Round trip: Nymph 1.1 miles, 1.8 km / Dream 2.2 miles, 3.5 km / Emerald 3.5 miles, 5.6 km
- Elevation: Nymph 9,450′-9,705′ (+255′) / Dream 9,450′-9,905′ (+455′) / Emerald 9,450′-10,110′ (+660′)
From Bear Lake the trail makes a steady climb up to the south side of Nymph Lake, which is usually filled with pond lilies. Once around the lake, follow the trail for a fairly steep climb for a short section. There are spectacular views of Longs Peak, Pagoda Mountain, Storm Peak, and the Keyboard of the Winds to your left.
At just over a mile you will reach the Lake Haiyaha junction. Stay to the right and you will arrive at Dream Lake after a short distance. Follow Dream Lake along it’s northern shore. The views here are spectacular.
Once past the lake the trail begins climbing a series of steps. On your left Tyndall Creek rushes down Tyndall gorge, and the jagged peaks of Flattop Mountain can be seen in front of you. Upon reaching Emerald Lake, 12,713′ Hallett Peak will be the mountain in front of you and on the right will be the jagged spires of 12,324′ Flattop Mountain.
Parking is a bear