Lake Helene in Rocky Mountain National Park - Day Hikes Near Denver

May 31, 2016 Comments (0) 4-6 miles, hikes near estes park, Lake Hikes, Lakes, Medium, More than 90 Min, Rocky Mountain National Park, Wildflowers

Lake Helene in Rocky Mountain National Park

lake helene rocky mountain national park header

The hike to Lake Helene is a popular lake hike beginning at the Bear Lake Trailhead in Rocky Mountain National Park. Lake Helene is situated in a bowl beneath Flattop Mountain, Ptarmigan Point, and Notchtop Mountain. The trail weaves through aspen groves and pine forests with scenic mountain views at almost every turn. Explore the full Lake Helene hike profile below for trail map, driving directions, and more of the details and tips you need to enjoy this adventure in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Trail Snapshot: Lake Helene in Rocky Mountain National Park

  • Hike Distance: 5.8 miles Round Trip (from Bear Lake TH)
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Duration: Approx 3-4 hrs Round Trip
  • Trail Type: Out and Back
  • Starting Elevation: 9475′
  • Elevation Gain: +1215′
  • Seasons: Year Round
  • Dogs: Dogs Prohibited in RMNP
  • Hike Trail Map: Click for a Map of Lake Helene RMNP
  • Denver Drive Time: 2 hr
  • Driving Directions to Bear Lake Trailhead: Click for Google Map
  • Town Nearest Hike: Estes Park, Colorado
  • Beauty: Sub-alpine lake, mountain views, wildflowers, aspen trees, ponderosa pine, wildlife: Abert’s squirrel, elk, deer, bear
  • Activities: Hiking trails, snowshoeing
  • Conditions at Bear Lake Trailhead: Click Here
  • Fee: Park Pass Required

Parking & Trailhead Information for Lake Helene in RMNP

The trail up to Lake Helene begins at the Bear Lake Trailhead (driving directions). In the event the parking lot 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 Hike: Lake Helene in RMNP

The trail to Lake Helene is located along the perimeter trail of Bear Lake, and on the northeastern end of the lake. This short .4 mile trail will connect up with the Flattop Mountain trail. After hiking .5 mile on the Flattop Mountain Trail, the trail will fork. The trail to the left, leads up to Flattop Mountain. The trail to the right leads to Lake Helene, and then on to Odessa and Fern Lake.

The trail up to Lake Helene is moderate as it climbs approximately 2 more miles up to Odessa Gorge. At this point there is an unmaintained trail off to the left that leads hikers to Lake Helene. Because this spur trail travels over quite a bit of rock and becomes difficult to discern, the route is marked by a series of cairns (stacked rocks).

After enjoying Lake Helene, hikers may want to go 1.1 mile further north on the main trail to Odessa Lake.

Tips & Resources for Hiking to Lake Helene in Rocky Mountain National Park


Estes Park, CO
partly cloudy
64% humidity
wind: 22mph W
H 53 • L 25

Map & Driving Directions

Click for Driving Directions

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