• Activities:

    Photography, Snowshoeing, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Year Round

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    2.2 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    402 Feet

Bathrooms
Easy Parking
Lake
Scenic

Gorgeous hike in the Rocky Mountain National Park, one hour from Boulder, CO. This is a pretty short hike so catching a sunrise isn't too rough, and it's one of the few hikes in the park that is manageable in any season.

Begin at the Bear Lake Trailhead, located at the end of Bear Lake Road, 9 miles from the entrance on Highway 36. Follow the signs to Dream Lake, passing Nymph Lake about halfway through. At 1.1 miles you will reach Dream Lake. The views of 12,713-foot Hallett Peak and 12,324-foot Flattop Mountain from the east shore of this subalpine lake are incredible, and the perfect backdrop for this aptly named lake. On your way back to the parking lot, be sure to get some shots from the trail as the mountain views headed down are some of the best in the park.

Be sure to check the trail status before you go to get the most current conditions. Micro spikes in the winter are a must, and possibly snow shoes if the trail is not packed down. Also, keep in mind that this is an alpine lake around 10,000 ft, and also can experience very intense winds - be prepared!

Pack List

  • Water
  • Camera
  • Tripod
  • Snacks
  • Microspikes (in wintertime)
  • Backpack
  • Hiking poles
  • Layers
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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Reviews

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I came in the winter and it was beautiful with the lakes frozen over. It WAS freezing though prepare accordingly -- my phone died multiple times due to the cold. I did rent snowshoes but they weren't really necessary as long as you're careful in the deeper snow areas.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Such a fun hike that connects with plenty of other trails. Hiked through the snow and watched the terrain change often

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

This is a gorgeous spot to watch sunrise in Rocky Mountain National Park. Since it's relatively short it makes it a great low effort, hike reward hike that is perfect for sunrises. Alpenglow lights up the surrounding mountains and if there are any clouds in the sky they glow pink and orange!

almost 2 years ago
almost 2 years ago

This is particularly gorgeous in the winter with easy trails to follow and stunning views all throughout the hike. With only 1.8 miles of trekking it's a quick and easy and tons of fun with snow shoes or crampons.

about 2 years ago
about 2 years ago

This view never gets old. Ever. It's a must see, plus if you get there early enough you actually get a parking spot (so the sunrise is a great idea for many reasons).

about 2 years ago
about 2 years ago

We hiked to Dream Lake during the colder season, and it was great because there were no crowds and we were able to enjoy the scenery, including Hallet Peak. Along the trail, you get to enjoy Nymph Lake and Emerald Lake as well!

about 2 years ago
about 2 years ago

The times I've been up here the winds have been 50mph+ for sunrise, so a hammock isn't a good idea. The trail is usually pretty packed down unless there's been snow overnight.

about 2 years ago
about 2 years ago

Christin Healey Explorer

Explorer, adventure seeker, lover of life and all things creative.

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