Thing to Do

Hike to Dream Lake

Visitor sitting and viewing Dream Lake
Dream Lake


  • Distance: 2.2 miles round trip 
  • Elevation Gain: 425 feet  
  • Type of Trail: Out & Back, Easy 

From the Bear Lake Trailhead, Dream Lake is a steady climb through aspen groves and ponderosa pine. At just over a half-mile, you will reach Nymph Lake, a charming lake filled with pond lilies that bloom throughout summer. Continue about another half-mile to reach the east end of Dream Lake as well as a junction – here you have the option to hike to Lake Haiyaha, continue to Emerald Lake, or turn back.

Note: Due to the extreme popularity of this hike, you might want to arrive early. The Bear Lake area is very busy, especially in summer and on fall weekends. Parking often fills by early morning. Roads are congested. The park’s free shuttle bus is here to help! You can ride the shuttle to stunning destinations and popular trailheads, all while avoiding the hassle of dealing with traffic and searching for parking.

Storm Warning: Weather in Colorado can turn in an instant! Be prepared for changing weather conditions. Check the forecast before heading out. Lightning can strike anywhere in Rocky. Watch for building storm clouds and return to the trailhead immediately if you hear thunder. As a rule of thumb, try to be back at the trailhead by noon.

Pets Allowed
Entrance fees may apply, see Fees & Passes information.
Bear Lake Trailhead

From May 27 to October 10, 2022, Timed Entry Permit Reservations are required to enter most areas of Rocky Mountain National Park between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. To access the Bear Lake Road Corridor, Timed Entry Permits are in effect from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

Timed Entry Permit Reservations are only available to be booked through One Timed Entry Permit Reservation is $2.00 and non-refundable. 

Timed Entry Permits are vehicle permits. One Timed Entry Permit will cover one vehicle and all passengers in the vehicle. Timed Entry Permit Holders must enter the park during their reseved 2-hour reservation window. 

To learn more, visit the park's Timed Entry Permit Reservation webpage at

Accessibility Information
This is not a paved trail. It is rugged with a total elevation of 425 feet.


Rocky Mountain National Park

Last updated: July 20, 2022