|Trail Name||Emerald Lake|
|Nearest City||Estes Park|
|Distance||2.6 Miles Round Trip|
|Elevation Gain||680 Feet|
|Low Point||9,420 Feet|
|High Point||10,100 Feet|
|Trip Reports||Emerald Lake|
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A 3/4 mile continuation of the trail to Dream Lake, the trail to Emerald Lake offers streamside views of Tyndall Creek as it cacades through rocks and boulders, and at the stark landscape surrounding Emerald Lake.
How to get there
From Estes Park, continue west on Hwy 36 to the Beaver Meadows entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park. Just beyond the entrance, turn left and head south on Bear Lake Rd. for about 9 miles, until it dead-ends at the Bear Lake parking lot. The trailhead is at the end of the parking lot, between the shuttle bus stop and the ranger office. Restrooms available, no water. The Bear Lake parking lot will fill up on rare occasions. If so, you can drive back on Bear Lake Rd. to the Park & Ride shuttle bus parking area across from Glacier Basin Campground, where you can park your car and ride the shuttle bus back to the Bear Lake trailhead. See the Rocky Mountain National Park Shuttle Bus Information Page for shuttle bus stops and schedules.
As this is a continuation of the trail to Dream Lake, refer to the Dream Lake trail description for details to that point.
From Dream Lake, the trail to Emerald Lake continues along the north shore of Dream Lake. There are several steep, rocky sections. One section is close to Tyndall Creek, where it has cut its way through the rock and is cascading towards Dream Lake. The trail continues through forest and boulders, until a final short but steep ascent takes you to Emerald Lake.
Hallett Peak and Flattop Mountain rise abruptly from the shore of Emerald Lake, and the the edge of the lake is quite rugged and rocky; a more stark and somewhat ominous landscape compared to Dream, Nymph and Bear Lakes. There are no trails around the shore of the lake, since the surrounding mountains rise so steeply from the shoreline.
Fees, Permits, etc.
- Rocky Mountain National Park entrance fee required at the park entrance. RMNP Fees & Reservations
- Dogs are not allowed on trails in Rocky Mountain National Park.
- Rocky Mountain National Park offers a free shuttle from Estes Park to Bear Lake Trailhead, Glacier Gorge Trailhead, Bierstadt Lake Trailhead, and Cub Lakes Trailhead. RMNP Shuttle Bus Routes
After the Hike
- 40.312, -105.646, Bear Lake Trailhead
- 40.31035, -105.6513, Nymph Lake
- 40.30957, -105.657, Dream Lake
- 40.30985, -105.6668, Emerald Lake
- 40.30416, -105.661, Lake Haiyaha
- Suggested hike list on National Park Service Rocky Mountain National Park web site