Emerald lake is a perfect short hike for those of all levels. The views are outstanding, and the entire out and back trail is only 3.6 miles with 650 feet of elevation gain.

Difficulty: Easy

Distance: 3.5 Miles Round Trip (5.63 Km)

Elevation: 10,110 Feet (3,081.5 M)

Duration: 2-3 Hours

Elevation Gain: 650 Feet (198 M)

Trail Map

Emerald Lake Colorado Trail Map


There is one trail to Emerald lake which is located at the end of Bear Lake road. This 1.8 mile journey will take you past 3 lakes, Bear Lake (a couple hundred foot detour at the trailhead), Nymph Lake, and Dream Lake before hikers reach Emerald 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 an extra loop around Bear lake is common due to the ease of access and fantastic views.

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

Fishing Along The Trails

Dream lake is a very common catch and release fishing destination. Bear lake and Emerald lake are also common. It is important to know that these are artificial lures and fly fishing only areas. They are also catch and release waters.

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

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

Current Weather Conditions

Estes Park, CO

This Afternoon
A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny. High near 57, with temperatures falling to around 55 in the afternoon. West southwest wind 22 to 28 mph, with gusts as high as 44 mph.

Mostly clear, with a low around 42. West wind 16 to 29 mph, with gusts as high as 46 mph.

Sunny, with a high near 62. West wind 17 to 21 mph, with gusts as high as 33 mph.

Sunday Night
Mostly clear, with a low around 45. West wind 10 to 18 mph, with gusts as high as 24 mph.

Mostly sunny, with a high near 62. Southwest wind 12 to 16 mph, with gusts as high as 21 mph.

Monday Night
Partly cloudy, with a low around 46.

A chance of showers and thunderstorms after noon. Mostly sunny, with a high near 62. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

Additional Pictures

Emerald Lake ColoradoDream Lake Colorado