The Emerald Lake Trail connects 3 beautiful lakes in the the Bear Lake Trailhead area of Rocky Mountain National Park. At less than 4 miles, this is a great intro hike to the Rockies!
Trail Distance: 3.6 miles
Elevation Gain: ~700 ft
Terrain Rating: Easy
Hike Time: ~2 hours
Dog Friendly: No
We started at Emerald Lake Trail around 6:30AM on a Saturday and the lot was already full of people! We had been at Sprague Lake for sunrise earlier, so we were glad we came early to grab a spot. The trail is very well marked and starts off pretty easy. At 10,000 ft. elevation though, any uphill hiking was a bit of a breather :)
The first lake you will pass is Nymph Lake with distinctive lily pads resting on top of the lake. Shortly after the lake, you climb up to an viewpoint. If you look down, you can see Nymph Lake! When you are about 1 mile in, you will arrive at Dream Lake. It is only a small push now until Emerald Lake which is truly stunning. We sat to eat some snacks here before turning back. On the way back, we ran into some elk!
Overall, Emerald Lake is a pretty relaxed trail. We hiked in sneakers, although I think I could have done it in my Keens as well. The elevation made it a bit tough on the lungs at times but we took frequent breaks and made it up ok!