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.
- Wide-angle Lens
- Telephoto Lens for Wildlife
- Memory Card
- Warm Layers
- Hiking Shoes or Snowshoes
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Beautiful In Winter
This is a wonderful lake to visit during the Winter months if you're wanting to see the snow-covered mountains but don't want to hike to see them. The roads are generally well-maintained even after the snowstorms. After parking in the lot, it's just a few hundred feet to the lake and it's breathtaking after a snowstorm. Great for families with small children or elderly adventurers. If you are more interested in getting a bit of a workout, continue on to Nymph Lake about a half mile up, Dream Lake just a bit further from that and finally Emerald Lake at the top. Hiking boots are fine for Bear Lake but anything further you may want to consider snow shoes to make your trek easier. We rented ours from Estes Park Mountain Shop for $5 a day and it was well worth it.
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.
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.
More Adventures Nearby
Camp at Silver Queen Campground
Colorado / Silver Queen Campground
To start it off, head out from Aspen on Maroon Creek Road.
Hike the Ypsilon Lake Trail
Colorado / Lawn Lake Trailhead
To get to the trailhead, enter Rocky Mountain National Park on the 36.