Estes Park, Colorado

Hike to Nymph, Dream, Emerald, and Haiyaha Lakes

5.5 Miles Total - Out-and-Back Trail

Originally 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.

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Tags

Camping
Fishing
Photography
Backpacking
Hiking
Family Friendly
Forest
Groups
Lake
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Popular But Very Rewarding Hike

This was the most populated hike on our trip to Colorado. Although, that did not take away from its beauty. You'll start to lose significant hikers after Dream Lake. The terrain was beautiful and diverse through all three lakes. We took our 2 year old son and he was able to hike a significant portion on his own. The trail is well marked and maintain, there should be no issues with those aspects. I could have looked at Dream lake for hours. It might have been my favorite scenic view during our trip. When someone mentions Colorado, I think of Dream Lake.

Gorgeous!

My daughter and I did most of this hike and now I wish we had continued on to Haiyaha as well. This hike made her fall in love with Colorado.

Good hike

Definitely a crowded area but great scenery

Leave No Trace

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.

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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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