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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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Picnic Area


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

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

Glacier Basin Campground

Estes Park, Colorado

Moraine Park Campground

Estes Park, Colorado

Estes Park KOA

Allenspark, Colorado

Olive Ridge

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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"I came for the winter, and stayed for the summer," is a phrase you'll often hear around town.  The weather is one of the highlights. During the day the temperature hovers in the 70's and 80's, and by evening the mercury will drop into the 60's. Arts & culture enthusiasts will be just as fulfilled as the adventure junkie during summer in Aspen.  The events calendar abounds with activities for everyone, from cultural events to athletic pursuits.

Experiencing all Aspen has to offer is as easy as opening the front door. Join us for a summer adventure that’s anything but ordinary.

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