Photograph Bear Lake


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.

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Know for

Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Handicap Accessible



Leave a Review

🥇Top Contributor

4 months ago

Easy addition

My wife and I added this to an already packed day of hiking simply because it was so easy to get to on our way back from a sunrise hike to Dream Lake and Emerald Lake. If you head up this way in RMNP, go check out this lake!

🥇Top Contributor

6 months ago

Easy Access

This lake is easy and handicapped accessed which is great but also makes it crowded. If you are planning on doing this early then you will find a spot, but I have also seen this parking lot fill up by 0700 on spring weekend


🥇Top Contributor

7 months ago

make sure to get to the trail head before dawn.

This parking lot is one of the busiest in the Rockies and I always make sure to get here prior to sunrise to make sure I had a space.

🥇Top Contributor

10 months ago

Early light

Go for sunrise!

🥈 Contributor

almost 4 years ago

Easy approach For Such A Pretty Lake

We finished our hike to Emerald Lake and before returning to the car we decided to quickly check out Bear Lake. It was worth the very fast hike there. You can do a loop but we did not, we simply admired the lake, took a couple pictures and returned to our car. It was raining and the clouds were rolling in, making it particularly different and beautiful.

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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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