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The Dream Lake Path In RMNP

The Dream Lake Colorado hike is among the hottest quick trails within the Rocky Mountain Nationwide Park (RMNP), positioned close to the city of Estes Park, Colorado.

This lake is a part of the Emerald Lake path, which is a pleasant, household pleasant hike that encompasses a whole of three completely different scenic lakes on the primary path — Nymph Lake, Dream Lake, and Emerald Lake — plus two extra non-obligatory lakes you’ll be able to go to with facet trails (Bear Lake and Lake Haiyaha).

Wildlife sightings are additionally widespread on this path, and it’s a superb starter hike for acclimating to the upper elevations within the Rocky Mountains.

This information will clarify tips on how to do the Dream Lake Path, tips on how to get permits and parking, the place to seek out the trailhead within the Rocky Mountain Nationwide Park, and all the things else it’s worthwhile to know earlier than you go!

The place To Keep In Estes Park


Fast Info*

  • Distance: 2 miles (3.2 km) spherical journey
  • Elevation Acquire: 450 toes (140 m)
  • Begin Elevation: 9,450 toes (2,880 m)
  • Finish Elevation: 9,900 toes (3,020 m)
  • Length: 1.5 – 2 hours spherical journey
  • Problem: Straightforward

*These stats are for the roundtrip hike to Dream Lake with out doing Emerald Lake and the non-obligatory facet trails for Bear Lake or Lake Haiyaha

Dream Lake Colorado


Dream Lake Path: What To Count on

The Dream Lake Colorado hike takes you to 2 completely different alpine lakes, with an choice to do three extra lakes in case you have time.

It’s a comparatively quick and simple hike to Dream Lake, and needs to be manageable for all ages and skill ranges. The elevation may make you are feeling slightly out of breath at first, nevertheless it’s good for constructing as much as among the more durable hikes in Rocky Mountain Nationwide Park.

This lake is a part of the Emerald Lake hike, and one of many nice issues about it’s that you would be able to flip round at any level on the path. Even for those who cease at Dream Lake and don’t go all the best way to Emerald Lake, you’ll nonetheless see loads of good surroundings on the best way there.

A pleasant little chipmunk

Wildlife sightings are one other beauty of the Dream Lake Path. The commonest animals to see listed below are elk, nevertheless it’s additionally potential to see black bears, moose, deer, and different kinds of animals. Pets aren’t allowed, and also you’ll wish to preserve small youngsters within reach.

This hike is extraordinarily well-liked and sometimes very busy, so it’s a good suggestion to begin early within the morning or late within the afternoon, and also you’ll additionally must get entry permits for Rocky Mountain Nationwide Park. I’ll clarify that course of in additional element later on this journey information.

The sections under will clarify every a part of the Dream Lake Colorado hike and what to anticipate. It’s an amazing starter path in RMNP!

• Trailhead To Nymph Lake (Half 1 of two)

Distance: 0.5 miles
Elevation Acquire: 250 toes
Time: 20-Half-hour

The Dream Lake Path begins with a short ascent as much as Nymph Lake, which is the smallest of the three lakes on the primary path. It’s a paved path at first, however rapidly turns into grime and rocks.

Close to the trailhead, you’ll come to a junction the place you’ll be able to flip proper for Bear Lake, or flip left for Nymph / Dream / Emerald Lake. You’ll be able to come again right here later and see Bear Lake on the best way out, if you’d like. It’s proper by the trailhead, so it could wait.

After about 20-Half-hour of climbing, you’ll attain Nymph Lake, which is crammed with lily pads. There’s a pleasant bench the place you’ll be able to sit and take a break from the path.

Nymph Lake

Within the early morning, we encountered a gaggle of elk strolling proper throughout the climbing path! It appears to be widespread at this lake.

Nymph is sweet, nevertheless it’s extra of a pond than a lake. It’s inferior to Dream Lake or Emerald Lake. It’s extra like a preview of what’s to come back subsequent.

We noticed a number of elk on the best way to Nymph Lake


• Nymph Lake to Dream Lake (Half 2 of two)

Distance: 0.5 miles
Elevation Acquire: 200 toes
Time: 20-Half-hour

The quick climb from Nymph Lake to Dream Lake begins out slightly steep, however quickly turns into flatter.

This a part of the hike is when issues begin to turn into scenic, and also you get a tremendous glimpse of Rocky Mountain Nationwide Park, with views all the best way out to Longs Peak.

Superb views of Rocky Mountain Nationwide Park

After about 20-Half-hour of climbing from Nymph Lake, you’ll attain a junction with an indication to show left for Lake Haiyaha, or flip proper for Dream Lake and Emerald Lake.

Shortly after passing the signal, you’ll arrive at Dream Lake, which is larger and higher than Nymph, and you can begin to see Hallett Peak within the background.

Dream Lake


• The Different Lakes

After having fun with the great views at Dream Lake, you’ll be able to proceed climbing to Emerald Lake, or retrace your steps again to the trailhead. Some individuals who aren’t used to a number of climbing might name it quits at Dream Lake.

When you’ve got the time and vitality, I might extremely suggest climbing all the best way to Emerald Lake, as a result of it’s the very best of the three lakes on this primary path by far. There are additionally non-obligatory facet trails to see Lake Haiyaha or Bear Lake.

If you happen to determine to proceed the hike and go to Emerald Lake and/or the opposite lakes, you’ll be able to learn extra about that in my full information for the path.

Learn Extra: Emerald Lake Path

Emerald Lake is gorgeous and effectively price the additional little bit of climbing from Dream Lake


Entrance Price

For many months of the 12 months, you want a nationwide park move AND a timed entry allow to go to Rocky Mountain Nationwide Park, which additionally applies to the Dream Lake path because it’s a part of RMNP.

The nationwide park move is straightforward to get and you should purchase it on-line or in particular person. We usually get the annual move and go to a number of U.S. parks in a 12 months, however in addition they have each day passes. Extra info and present charges may be discovered on the RMNP web site.

A timed entry allow can be required to do the Dream Lake Path. This one is a bit annoying, nevertheless it’s meant to handle crowds at RMNP. There are some exceptions to this rule for those who arrive very early within the morning, or very late within the afternoon.

You’ll be able to learn extra in regards to the timed entry allow and tips on how to get it on the RMNP web site.

Dream Lake Trailhead: How To Get There

The Dream Lake hike begins from the Bear Lake trailhead, which is positioned on the finish of Bear Lake Street in Rocky Mountain Nationwide Park, Colorado.

Listed here are the GPS coordinates: 40.312007745083704, -105.64600936235149

You can too use the Google map under to navigate you on to the parking space, which is a forty five minute drive from the city of Estes Park, or 2 hours from Denver Colorado.

On maps, it’s referred to as the Bear Lake Trailhead, however you’ll be able to relaxation assured that the Dream Lake Path additionally begins from this similar location.


Trailhead Situations

The street is paved and in good situation all the best way from Estes Park to the Bear Lake trailhead, so that you don’t want excessive clearance or something particular to achieve it.

If you first flip into Bear Lake Street, there’s a sales space with pleasant rangers from the Nationwide Park Service checking entry permits. On the trailhead, there are some info indicators, vault bogs, trash bins, a water bottle filling station, and a path map.

The trailhead has an enormous car parking zone with greater than 200 automobile parking areas, however due to the loopy reputation of this hike these days, the parking fills up in a short time. If the car parking zone is full, you should utilize the Park & Trip shuttle bus service offered by NPS.

U.S. Nationwide Park Laws

The Dream Lake path is a part of Rocky Mountain Nationwide Park, so the standard U.S. nationwide park rules apply.

As at all times, please keep in mind to maintain the path clear, be thoughtful of different hikers, and go away no hint. Thanks and completely satisfied travels!

Estes Park Inns


Finest Time To Go to

The Dream Lake Colorado hike is sweet at any time of day, however I believe it’s undoubtedly finest to go within the early morning.

It’s very laborious to get parking for this hike due to its excessive reputation, and by going within the morning you additionally keep away from a little bit of the crowds and warmth. It’s good for images, too, as a result of you’ll be able to see reflections on the lakes.

The Dream Lake hike is open all 12 months, however the very best months to go to are from Could to October, when there isn’t snow or ice on the path. You’ll be able to verify present path circumstances on the RMNP web site earlier than you go.

Extra Colorado Climbing Guides

Thanks for trying! I hope you loved this information for the Dream Lake path in Estes Park (Rocky Mountain Nationwide Park).

Don’t overlook there are a number of different good lakes that you would be able to go to on this similar path! You’ll be able to learn extra about this in my full information for the Emerald Lake Path.



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