Bear Lake is a high elevation lake with a gorgeous loop hike. It features views of Tyndall Gorge, an easy walking path around the lake. The Rocky Mountain Conservancy sells booklets at the trailhead teaching visitors on the natural history of Bear Lake.
Elevation: 9,475 Feet (2878 m)
Distance: .8 Miles (1.29 km)
Elevation Gain: 45 feet (13.7 m)
Duration: 1 hour or less
Need To Know Information
- During a large portion of the year, Rocky Mountain National Park requires permits. Permits can be purchased here along with all other relevant info: https://www.recreation.gov/timed-entry/10086910
- Other permit info (You should read this information): https://www.nps.gov/romo/planyourvisit/timed-entry-permit-system.htm
- Dogs are not allowed in Rocky Mountain National Park
- Parking fills up, so the shuttle system in the park can be used when it does.
- A national parks pass is required to enter the park when the gates are being operated.
The Bear Lake Trail is best done counter-clockwise to go along with the points of interest and educational readings along the path. This is an extremely well traveled trail, and it is recommended to start very early to avoid the largest crowds. The trail is very well marked, and is accessed right next to the parking lot at the end of Bear Lake Road.
This is a common loop in the winter as well.
Hikers often choose to hike a little further to Nymph Lake, Dream Lake, or to Emerald Lake just below Tyndall Gorge. Bear lake cannot be fished, however, each of the lakes beyond bear lake are barbless hook, catch and release.
Bear lake is open year round and gorgeous in all seasons. During summer and fall, the parking lot often gets full, making visitors use the shuttle system to come visit.
Fishing on bear lake is not allowed. Fishing on Nymph, Dream, and Emerald lake is allowed however. The fishing on Dream Lake is fantastic.
Bear Lake Facts & Information
- Elevation: 9,475 Feet (2878 m)
- Size: About 9 acres
Directions & Parking
During peak season, hikers should use the park shuttle. Information on the shuttle can be found here: https://www.nps.gov/romo/planyourvisit/shuttle_bus_route.htm
Bear Lake Trailhead
The Bear Lake Trailhead is a very large lot. It nearly always has a ranger at the ranger station, it has several bathrooms, and picnic tables. Even with a very large lot, it fills during peak hours, requiring individuals to take the shuttle to the parking lot.
To Bear Lake Parking Area (At the end of Bear Lake Road)
Current Weather Conditions
Estes Park, CO
Areas of blowing snow and a slight chance of snow before 2pm, then a chance of snow and patchy blowing snow. Partly sunny, with a high near 21. Wind chill values as low as -13. West southwest wind 20 to 28 mph, with gusts as high as 41 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%. New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.
Snow and blowing snow. Mostly cloudy. Low around 16, with temperatures rising to around 21 overnight. Wind chill values as low as -1. Southwest wind 18 to 23 mph, with gusts as high as 35 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New snow accumulation of 4 to 8 inches possible.
Snow and blowing snow. Cloudy. High near 25, with temperatures falling to around 23 in the afternoon. Southwest wind 18 to 33 mph, with gusts as high as 53 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 4 to 8 inches possible.
A chance of snow. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 11. Wind chill values as low as -12. West southwest wind 29 to 38 mph, with gusts as high as 61 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.
Snow. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 18. West wind 20 to 26 mph, with gusts as high as 43 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.
A chance of snow. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 9. Chance of precipitation is 40%. New snow accumulation of less than half an inch possible.
Snow. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 17. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New snow accumulation of around one inch possible.
Max DesMarais is the founder of Hiking & Fishing. He has a passion for the outdoors and making outdoor education and adventure more accessible. Max is a published author for various outdoor and marketing websites. He is an experienced hiker, backpacker, fly fisherman, trail runner, and spends his free time in the outdoors. These adventures allow him to test gear, learn new skills, and experience new places so that he can educate others. You can read more about him here: hikingandfishing/about