Dream Lake is an alpine lake in Rocky Mountain National Park. It is an extremely popular destination due to the ease of access, incredibly beautiful views, and shared trailhead with other fantastic Colorado hikes.

Elevation: 9,905 Feet (3,019 m)

Distance:  2.2 Miles (3.54 km)

Elevation Gain: 450 feet (137.2 m)

Difficulty: Easy

Duration: 1-2 hours


There is one main trail to Dream Lake, which is from the Bear Lake Trail. This 1.1 mile journey will take you past 2 lakes, Bear Lake (a couple hundred foot detour at the trailhead) and Nymph Lake, before hikers reach Dream Lake. Each of these lakes feature stunning views of Hallet Peak and Flattop Mountain.

This trail is very well traveled by all types of hikers. Taking a trip around dream lake to the various viewpoints is common due to the ease of access and fantastic views. Many hikers choose to travel an additional half mile or so to Emerald Lake, with even more impressive views.

Hikers begin on a relatively flat trail heading towards Nymph Lake. Once passing Nymph Lake around (.5 miles into the hike) hikers will quickly ascend towards dream lake. The destination is only .6 miles away from Nymph Lake, making the climb relatively quick. The trail features views of Tyndall Gorge and even Longs Peak.

This is also the same location that hikers start at for summiting Flattop Mountain.

Trail Map


Dream lake is accessible year round. It is gorgeous in all seasons, and each season provides a unique and beautiful perspective.


Fishing is allowed in dream lake and is extremely fantastic. The cutthroat trout are beautiful and plentiful. Barbless hook, catch and release only.

Directions & Parking

This is an extremely popular area, so during peak season, it is recommended taking the Rocky Mountain National Park shuttle system to the trailhead. During the off season, this hike still gets quite busy, and the very large parking lot can fill up. The parking is located at the end of Bear Lake Road.

Information on the shuttle can be found here: https://www.nps.gov/romo/planyourvisit/shuttle_bus_route.htm

To Bear Lake Trailhead Parking Area (At the end of Bear Lake Road)

Weather Forecast

Estes Park, CO

Mostly cloudy. Low around 20, with temperatures rising to around 23 overnight. West southwest wind around 17 mph, with gusts as high as 28 mph.

A slight chance of snow showers after 1pm. Mostly sunny. High near 34, with temperatures falling to around 32 in the afternoon. West southwest wind 16 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 31 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%. New rainfall amounts less than a tenth of an inch possible.

Sunday Night
Mostly clear. Low around 23, with temperatures rising to around 25 overnight. West southwest wind 15 to 18 mph, with gusts as high as 36 mph.

Sunny, with a high near 35. West southwest wind around 21 mph, with gusts as high as 39 mph.

Monday Night
Mostly clear, with a low around 24. West southwest wind 16 to 21 mph, with gusts as high as 36 mph.

Mostly sunny, with a high near 35.

Tuesday Night
Partly cloudy, with a low around 22.

Additional Pictures

Dream Lake

Views overlooking Dream Lake during summer.

Views Passing Nymph Pond Heading Towards Dream Lake

Views Passing Nymph Pond Heading Towards Dream Lake

Dream Lake Views

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