Dragon's Tail Couloir Climb

Bear Lake Trailhead

A classic Rocky Mountain couoir climb. Short approach and fun steep snow climbing (1500 ft). Easy to knock out in a couple hours in the morning if you're in shape.

Start your day at the Bear Lake parking lot, and head out on the short 2-mile approach that winds uphill past Nymph and Dream Lake. After arriving at Emerald Lake, skirt around the shore on the left side to reach the bottom of the couloir, clearly visibile on the far side of the lake.

The 1500 ft climb starts gradually and increases in steepness as the couloir narrows towards the top, reaching somewhere around 50 degrees. Depending on conditions, this may be a very classic straightforward snow climb, or you may have to deal with a few rock/icy steps on the way up.

The route branches about 3/4 of the way up and you have the option to go left or right. The typical route heads left, but be on the lookout for cornices on either side, depending on the time of year.

Enjoy spectacular views of Flattop, Hallett and Longs Peak from the top.

From the top of the route, you can either continue on to the top of Flattop Mountain (about a mile and a few hundred feet) or take a right and follow the ridge back down the Flattop trail back to the Bear Lake parking lot.

Pack List

  • Mountaineering Axe
  • Crampons
  • Climbing Helmet
  • Depending on conditions/your experience level, you may want to bring a rope and a couple pieces of protection
Show More
Activities Rock Climbing
Skill Level Advanced
Season Spring
Features
Scenic

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Good Winter Hike

This is an easy, fun winter hike that accesses 3 lakes. I HIGHLY recommend skiing down this couloir after climbing it!


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Nearby Adventures

More Nearby Adventures

Climb Notchtop Mountain in Rocky Mountain National Park

Park at Bear Lake, and follow the signs north of the lake to Odessa Lake.

68 Saves

Hike to Nymph Lake

While not as popular as Dream Lake, Nymph Lake is just as beautiful. The hike to Nymph Lake is an easy hike just over 1 mile.

164 Saves

Hike to Ptarmigan Lake

The hike to Ptarmigan Lake has plenty of elevation gain for mountain lovers and views for miles from the Continental Divide.

211 Saves