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)

Additional Pictures

Emerald Lake ColoradoDream Lake Colorado