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Estes Park, Colorado

Hike Nymph Lake, Dream Lake, and Emerald Lake

Originally added by Brock DeHaven

Duration: 3.6 miles roundtripCan be done in 2hrs to 4hrsRelatively flat, short hike with unbelievable sceneryEach Lake offers its own unique vibe, splits up the hike very nicely

The hike starts at the Bear Lake parking lot (9,475') and starts winding up through a dense forest landscape before arriving at Nymph Lake (9,705') in what only takes 10 minutes. This lake is surrounded by pine trees and is covered in lily pads, creating an fairytale-esque setting. In what is the most challenging stretch of the hike, you quickly climb up the mountain and are awarded with views of Longs Peak and Glacier Gorge. Quickly after you are back in the forest and come to (what I believe is) the most beautiful portion of the hike, Dream Lake (9,912'). This lake, appropriately named, frames the eastern flanks of Hallet Peak and Flattop Mountain and offers 0.35 miles of shoreline, perfect for fishing or even just admiring the crystal clear water.

After Dream Lake you head 0.7 miles to Emerald Lake through an easy portion of the hike surrounded by a valley with waterfalls, streams, and plenty of chipmunks. Once arrived to Emerald Lake (10,090'), the scenery drastically changes to a more steep and rocky landscape but still offers amazing views of Flattop Mountain and Hallet Peak. After taking in all the views, you can explore around the shoreline and head back down to the parking lot following the same path.

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Tags

Fishing
Photography
Hiking
Forest
Lake
Picnic Area
River
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Great photo hike

Dream Lake is a beautiful place for sunrise and if you're lucky you might catch a moose or elk at the water's edge.

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We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

Stay Nearby

Larimer County, Colorado

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Nearby Adventures

Hike to Nymph Lake

1.1 Miles Round Trip - 245 ft gain

Hike to Ptarmigan Lake

11.8 Miles Round Trip - 3850 ft gain

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