Emerald Lake located in Rocky Mountain National Park is a gorgeous hike from start to finish. There is nothing lacking on this trail, it screams Colorado Rockies in spades. One of the most popular hikes in the Park.


Nymph Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park

Note: Many of the links are affiliate links which means I receive a very small commission (at no added cost to you).


Starting at the Bear Lake Trailhead this hike will take us first to Nymph Lake (photo above).


Dream Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park, RMNP Trails


… then on to beautiful subalpine Dream Lake (photo above)


And now to Emerald Lake … It’s a fairly easy hike up to Dream Lake, however, it becomes a slightly more moderate hike to Emerald Lake.






After passing Nymph Lake and hiking to the right of Dream Lakes shoreline we are on our way to Emerald Lake. Views of Flattop Mountian and Hallett Peak drawing us into the Tyndall Gorge. It’s a little steeper now with much more snow. Quite slippery in late May, but doable.

Highly recommended spikes when there is a possibility of snow and ice on the trails. Makes your hike much more enjoyable and safer.





Not to be taken lightly, It’s a high altitude trail, and dehydration plus fickle weather is always something to consider. CLICK HERE> for a look at practical gear that we love at Crazy About Colorado and have in our backpacks on every hike.


Emerald Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado Vacation


After hiking through a wonderful pine forest we can see the end of the Tyndall Gorge and the jagged edges of 12,324 ft Flattop Mountain straight ahead. Emerald Lake is here in this magnificent setting. I’m pretty sure I was speechless!




We had the thrilling experience of watching 2 backcountry skiers coming down the Tyndall Glacier. Meeting them later on the trail, it was fun to hear how excited they were.





Sweeping views on the entire hike back down left us often stopping and taking it all in. One hike I did not want to end.


TIP: The trail to Emerald Lake is heavily trafficked, and parking at Bear Lake Trailhead is tricky. Come early or take the shuttle in the summer months. We found parking at Glacier Gorge Basin Trailhead and hiking towards Alberta Falls, which has a trail connecting to Bear Lake Trailhead, was a better option.

For a trail map, >CLICK HERE. For shuttle Info, >CLICK HERE

3.5 miles out & back

Rated: easy/moderate

Lake elevation: 10,110 ft

LOCATED: Rocky Mountain National Park


Bierstadt Lake Trail is Classic Colorado!

Cub Lake Trail a Wildlife Wonder

Isabelle Glacier Trail is Unstoppable Beauty!


13 Rugged Alpine Lake Hikes

Colorado Hikes, 23 Awesome Trails

Connect with me on Instagram! I enjoy hanging out there and leaving tidbits of trails I’ve hiked in Colorado. Follow me and say hi – send me a message! Follow other hikers and be inspired!

Note: Many of the links are affiliate links which means I receive a very small commission (at no added cost to you).