Hike to Nymph, Dream, Emerald, and Haiyaha Lakes

Colorado Bear Lake Trailhead

Added by Ryan Mckinney

This 5.5 mile roundtrip hike in Rocky Mountain National Park offers stunning views of alpine lakes. If you have a little extra time, bring your fishing gear with you.

From the Bear Lake Trailhead, the path to Nymph Lake is a moderate paved trail. At the lake there are several places to sit and take in the scenery. This is also where you'll find the most people. From here, continue up the trail towards Dream Lake. On the way, the trail forks. The left will take you to Lake Haiyaha, but head to the right, which will take you to Dream Lake. The views here are amazing, and the lake is full of trout.

From Dream Lake, continue on to Emerald Lake. Rocky Mountain National Park is home to five active glaciers, one of which is Tyndall Glacier. Located in the saddle of Hallett Peak and Flattop Mountain, this dominates the views from Emerald Lake. This is a great place to stop for a quick snack.

From Emerald Lake, retrace your steps back down to the Lake Haiyaha and Dream Lake junction and follow the trail to the right towards Lake Haiyaha. This moderate trail switchbacks trough a dense pine forest and offers some amazing views of the Glacier Basin area. Continue straight where the trail splits (taking the trail to the left will take you to Mills Lake and The Loch). The majority of this trail is very well maintained and easy to navigate, but the last 150 feet will take some negotiating. The trail ends at a small pond on the left hand side, but continue to walk through the large rocks on the right toward an old twisted pine tree. Once you reach Lake Haiyaha, you'll see Chaos Canyon lies between Otis Peak (on the left) and Hallett Peak (to the right).

To get to the final lake, head back towards Dream Lake and continue towards the parking area. Bear Lake could be a good place to start the hike, but most of the crowds in the area head there first so it's smart to make it your last stop. The Bear Lake Loop is a relaxing lakeside trail with awesome views.

Pack List

  • Hiking gear (boots, sunscreen, hat, etc.)
  • Tripod
  • Camera
  • Lee Big Stopper Filter(for long exposure photos)
  • Lunch
  • Jacket
  • Water (or bring a water filter)
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Backpacking, Camping, Fishing, Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:



Year Round

Trail Type:



5.5 Miles



Family Friendly

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How to Get There

19 days ago

Beautiful hike

This is a popular hike for good reason; the 5 lakes offer different views of the surrounding mountains, each one equally breathtaking. With minimal elevation gain throughout the hike, it is well-suited for all skill levels. We choose to combine this hike with Loch Vale and Alberta Falls to make a 10-mile loop. Great way to spend the morning!

19 days ago

2 months ago

Loved Dream Lake!

Arrived early morning to beat most of the crowds. Getting there early we were also able to see quite a few Elk at Bear Lake Trailhead and around Nymph Lake. Spectacular views along the way to the lakes!

2 months ago

6 months ago

Winter Hike

Had the amazing opportunity to visit colorado for a week. My girlfriend and I drive up the park just for this hike. It was an amazing experience. Cannot wait to go back.

6 months ago

8 months ago

Great Winter Hike

Although at times it can get a little crowded, this is a great, simple way to get outside & enjoy some stellar views. I'd recommend hitting it earlier, to avoid some of the crowds. In winter, it'd be best to have some crampons or snowshoes.

8 months ago

9 months ago

Beautiful lakes, awesome hike.

We did the hike to Dream Lake and it was a real treat to see Nymph and Emerald along the way. Be sure to go during off season to avoid the crowds. More enjoyable, better hiking weather, and you get the views all to yourself!

9 months ago

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