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 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
- Trekking Poles & Traction Devices are Recommended in Spring and Winter: During this time of year, there can be patches and even longer segments of snow and ice on the trail. Because of this, we recommend Trekking Poles and/or Traction Devices for this trail.
- Trail Map for Bear Lake Corridor: Trail Map Link
- Packing List: Always pack the 10 Essentials. Download our Hiking Guide to get list and dayhiking packing checklist.
- Colorado Road Conditions: Colorado Road Conditions
- Photo: We would like to express our gratitude to Justin Mier for sharing such an amazing photograph of this hike to Lake Helene in RMNP.
- After the Hike: Baba’s Burgers & Gyros in Estes Park
Map & Driving Directions
Click for Driving Directions