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Hike to Bear Lake, BC

Estes Park, Colorado

based on 1 reviews



5.6 miles

Elevation Gain

1699.5 ft

Route Type



Added by Irina Koegl

There is a great view when you hike up the pass and has beautiful scenery, especially in the fall when larch trees are turning golden. Very good for a beginner overnight backpacking trip.

Start your hike at 6,100 feet elevation at the parking lot. The first section of the trail will take you through the forest on a rather steep trail. After half a mile keep left on the main trail that leads you away from the creek. Watch your step, the gully you're walking in can be slippery at times. Soon after the first fork you'll have the option to take a steep trail on your right, the more direct route to the lake, or keep left for the scenic trail. After about 1.5 miles, roughly 1 to 1.5 hours of climbing, you'll reach the lake shore at 7,100 feet elevation.

Take a break right here or make your way over to the northern shore to stop for lunch. At the nothern shore you'll also find a small campsite to set up your tent if you wish to stay overnight. Be aware of bears and other wildlife! I have yet to see a bear around the lake, but most of my friends have.

If you wish to continue your hike from there, keep walking along the lake shore until you reach the far end of the lake. Follow the steep trail up to the ridge, the last bit of the trail will be switchbacks. Enjoy the view from the ridge at approximately 7,800 feet elevation. You'll be looking down at Bear Lake on the one side and Ruault Lake on the other. On a clear day you may also be able to spot Summer Lake in the distance. Explore the ridge before heading back towards Bear Lake and the parking lot.

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Dog Friendly
Family Friendly

Hike to Bear Lake, BC Reviews

Great Lake. The road to the trail head is in bad condition and only a truck with good clearance can make it. The hike itself was short but steep. Beautiful at the top, and especially worth the day hike up to look over at summer lake from the peak of the mountain. Gorgeous views. It was very cold at night. September 2nd and we hit -8 at night so come prepared. There’s also an outhouse at the lake but bring your own mountain money.

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!


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