Trail Snapshot:Emerald Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park
- Hike Distance: 3.6 Miles Round Trip
- Difficulty: Medium
- Duration: approx 2-3hr Round Trip
- Trail Type: Out & Back
- Elevation Gain: +605′
- Seasons: All Year
- Dogs: Not Allowed in RMNP
- Hike Trail Map: Click for a Trail Map
- Denver Drive Time: Click for Google Map
- Town Nearest Hike: Estes Park, Colorado
- Beauty:Lakes, Cascade Waterfalls, Wildlife: Abert’s Squirrel, Birds, Bears, Elk.
- Fee:RMNP Park Pass Required
- Activities: Hiking, Snowshoeing, Fishing
Emerald Lake Trail Directions & Trailhead Information
The trail to Emerald Lake begins at the Bear Lake Trailhead (driving directions). In the event that parking at Bear Lake is full, you’ll then need to park at the Park & Ride near the Bierstadt Trailhead and take the bus into the trailhead. This service runs 7am to 7PM and more information on the RMNP shuttle bus routes can be found at this link. The trail to Emerald Lake is located on your way to Bear Lake, off to the left, just before reaching the shore viewing area of Bear Lake.
For conditions at Emerald Lake, see the Rocky Mountain National Park Trail Conditions page.
List and Links of Destinations From Bear Lake to Emerald Lake
Tips & Resources for Hiking to Emerald Lake :
- Get to the Bear Lake trailhead early: We say this for almost every hike near Denver, but the Bear Lake Parking area is probably the busiest in the park. If you can’t get there early, just take the shuttle from the lower parking area.
- The Wildlife: We have seen a beautiful black bear in this area on one occasion. It just saw us and ambled away. As with any hike where there are a lot of wildlife, keep small children within sight at all times. On your way out, be sure to stop around Moraine Park and watch the Elk.
- Snowshoeing to Emerald Lake In the winter, this is a Colorado wonderland and a very accessible trail to snowshoe. You can rent snowshoes for a great price at The Colorado Mountain Shop in Estes Park.
- Photo: We would like to express our gratitude to Tim Lumley for sharing this great photo of Emerald Lake in RMNP.
- Trail Map for Bear Lake Corridor: Trail Map Link
- Colorado Road Conditions: Colorado Road Conditions
- After the Hike: Kind Coffee