Thing to Do

Hike to Dream Lake

a mountain top is reflected in a lake
Dream Lake

NPS Photo / Alex Gary Gareis

  • 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.

Entrance fees may apply, see Fees & Passes information.
Accessibility Information
This is not a paved trail. It is rugged with a total elevation of 425 feet.


Rocky Mountain National Park

Last updated: November 10, 2020