Photograph Bear Lake

Colorado Bear Lake Trailhead

Added by Jason Hatfield

An iconic lake in Rocky Mountain National Park with year-round photography access.

Bear Lake is a popular tourist destination in Rocky Mountain NP, but when the sun is low in the sky or the stars are out you'll find the big crowd are gone. The lake is beautiful at sunrise and sunset but especially photogenic in the fall or at winter's end. While it doesn't have the darkest night skies it can still serve as an excellent location to watch meteors or photograph star trails above Hallet Peak. The area is also frequented by wildlife and you might capture an elk harem, flock of turkeys, or lone fox.

Pack List

  • Camera
  • Wide-angle Lens
  • Telephoto Lens for Wildlife
  • Tripod
  • Batteries
  • Memory Card
  • Warm Layers
  • Hiking Shoes or Snowshoes
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Skill Level:



Year Round



Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Handicap Accessible

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How to Get There

6 months ago

Great to Share the Beauty of the Park

If I have family in town that has never been to RMNP but isn't necessarily up for a "hike," I take them to Bear Lake. Its a gorgeous spot that has a mostly handicap accessible path and incredible views of Long's Peak. It's such a great place to share the beauty of the park without the strain of hiking somewhere further away.

6 months ago

7 months ago

Bear Lake loop

One of my all time favorite hikes to do in RMNP. Its a shorter hike, with great views. The trail pretty much all year is easy to access and easy to complete. I highly recommend it!

7 months ago

8 months ago

First Time at Bear Lake

Hiking to Nymph and Bear Lake was such an awesome experience. Being a first-timer in RNP, I was breathless be holding the stunning and majestic views. Even the drive to the trail head was an event; I stopped when I could to take in the scenery. The trail to Nymph Lake was clearly marked and lead me through fresh-smelling forest. Bear Lake was a bit larger than Nymph.

8 months ago

Added by Jason Hatfield

Adventure and travel photographer based out of Denver, Colorado. I teach photography workshops and offer private guiding around the west. More at

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