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)
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.
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)
Estes Park, CO
A slight chance of snow after 5am. Partly cloudy. Low around 11, with temperatures rising to around 14 overnight. Wind chill values as low as -12. West southwest wind around 33 mph, with gusts as high as 56 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
A chance of snow before 2pm, then snow and areas of blowing snow. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 17. Wind chill values as low as -8. West southwest wind 24 to 32 mph, with gusts as high as 55 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New snow accumulation of 3 to 7 inches possible.
Snow and areas of blowing snow. Cloudy. Low around -1, with temperatures rising to around 6 overnight. Wind chill values as low as -12. West southwest wind 14 to 24 mph, with gusts as high as 40 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New snow accumulation of 9 to 13 inches possible.
Snow and areas of blowing snow. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 5. Wind chill values as low as -24. West wind 14 to 21 mph, with gusts as high as 29 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New snow accumulation of 2 to 4 inches possible.
Areas of blowing snow. Partly cloudy, with a low around -7. West wind 22 to 28 mph, with gusts as high as 38 mph.
Areas of blowing snow. Sunny, with a high near 15.
Patchy blowing snow. Mostly clear, with a low around 9.
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