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Emerald Lake



3.3 mile 5.4 kilometer loop
85% Runnable


Ascent: 661' 201 m
Descent: -651' -198 m
High: 10,104' 3,080 m
Low: 9,476' 2,888 m


Avg Grade: 7% (4°)
Max Grade: 19% (11°)


No Dogs
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Trail shared by Brian Smith

An easy to moderate out and back that culminates at views of Emerald Lake.

Brian Smith

Features Birding · Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Swimming · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife


This is a short, fairly easy out-and-back that features Dream and Emerald Lakes.


From the Bear Lake trailhead, follow the signs for Dream Lake onto this well-traveled, asphalt-sealed trail. Running is very easygoing along the Dream Lake Trail as it contours at very mellow grades up the slope.

Just over 1.5 miles from the TH, you'll reach Nymph Lake, a picturesque mountain lake that makes for a good place to take in the surrounding peaks. Continuing up the trail, you'll eventually cross Tyndall Creek and come to a junction with Lake Haiyaha Trail. Run past this intersection to reach Dream Lake.

Dream Lake is a spectacular, narrow lake that sits in a drainage on the rugged eastern slope of Flattop Mountain. The lake makes for a good resting point on this run. Once you've gotten your fill at Dream Lake, continue running along the trail for another mile until you reach Emerald Lake. This lake is a beautiful sight to see as it sits nestled into the rugged western face of Flattop Mountain.

From Emerald Lake, turn around and run back the way you came to the Bear Lake TH.

Flora & Fauna

This run follows Tyndall Creek up towards its headwaters. Look for riparian vegetation typical of this environment including various willows, mountain alder, and water birch with dark-colored bark. In a few places, blue spruce may grow near streams and sometimes hybridize with Engelmann spruce.

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Jul 25, 2019
Beth Kleekamp
Apr 10, 2019
Anna B
Oct 6, 2018
Andrew G
Aug 29, 2018
Kyle Stephen
Dec 30, 2017
Cassi Zimmer
Sep 29, 2017
Raúl Gross
Aug 12, 2017
Junior Henry
Jun 11, 2017
Anthony Carroll

Trail Ratings

  4.7 from 274 votes


in Bear Lake


  4.7 from 274 votes
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in Bear Lake


in Colorado


375 Views Last Month
34,839 Since Jan 8, 2015



The view to Hallett Peak and Flattop Mountain from Dream Lake.
Dec 8, 2015 near Estes Park, CO
Long's Peak and aspens
Jan 19, 2015 near Estes Park, CO
Dream Lake
Jan 8, 2015 near Estes Park, CO
Dream Lake
Aug 25, 2015 near Estes Park, CO
Emerald Lake, Rocky Mountain NP CO
Feb 9, 2015 near Grand Lake, CO
Dream Lake Trail
Jan 19, 2015 near Estes Park, CO

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