Emerald Lake

#2 of 132 trails in Rocky Mountain National Park

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Emerald Lake is a 3.6 mile out and back trail located near Estes Park, Colorado that features a river. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible from June until November.

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48 Completed 41 Reviews

Nice short hike to a beautiful lake in RMNP. Not a lot of elevation gain and easy access make this lake accessible to many.

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92 Completed 18 Reviews

This is a great little out and back trail, but as others noted since it is easily accessible from the shuttle busses and the large parking lot at the Bear Lake Trailhead, it gets more crowded the later you get in the day. Planning ahead during the summer tourist season helped, as leaving by 7am from Bear Lake cut down on the number of people on the trail severely when we were there a few years back. By leaving Bear Lake around 6am when we came back to introduce the trail to family 2 weeks ago we virtually had the trail to ourselves, with only 4-5 cars in the lot at that time. Remember, even this relatively easy trail can be a challenge if you have not acclimated to the altitude yet or haven't be practicing for some elevation gain, but it is doable if you take it slow. If it isn't doesn't look like enough of a challenge try getting out early enough to trail run it or add on the loop to come back by way of Lake Haiyaha (way less people here), Alberta Falls, and the spur up from the Glacier Gorge to Bearlake for a just over 8 mile hike.

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14 Completed 14 Reviews

The 3 lake trek of Nymph, Dream, and Emerald lake is great way to spend the day. During the prime summer months these trails get very busy as they are a part of the very popular Bear Lake area in RMNP. Get there early and enjoy before the crowds accumulate.

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50 Completed 23 Reviews

Although crowded, this is a great hike in and out. Fishing for the endangered greenback cutthroat tour is also good but difficult to fly fish from the trail due to the number of people on the trail. Tip...go early to avoid the crowds and watch for wildlife.

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23 Completed 9 Reviews

Oops I meant we saw an ELK not a Moose. Great hike!

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23 Completed 9 Reviews

We decided on a morning hike for the 4th of July and we are glad we did.The hike was beautiful from start to finish. With lakes and waterfalls along the way this has been the most scenic hike of the year for us.There was even a grazing moose.
Of course there were a lot of people and that was okay as everyone was considerate and kept things moving. I took well over 300 pictures. I would definitely do thia hike again the next time I am in Estes Park.

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4 Completed 2 Reviews

Decent trail, but very crowded, lots of children. Pretty easy climb, saw some fish in the water.

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25 Completed 16 Reviews

A perfect family hike. Beautiful hike throughout. Still some snow on the trail but this is an easy hike.

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35 Completed 24 Reviews

Its been a while, but I remember this being an awesome hike.

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4 Completed 4 Reviews

Nice hike. Plenty of snow on the ground. I wore shorts and a tank top and felt just fine. Some people wore jackets, pants, etc., but it seemed too hot outside for that. Trekking poles are a good idea for the less stable-bodied hikers.

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