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    Dream Lake Trail

    This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
    Very Easy
    This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
    This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
    3.2 km
    This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
    130 m
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    Directions to Trailhead

    The Dream Lake Trail lives up to its name. Hike up through lush aspens and towering pines to a shimmering, crystalline lake that resembles something only you could dream of. Dream Lake is considered one of the prettiest lakes in the park and there is no doubt as to why. The Dream Lake Hike is an ideal, year-round, family-friendly adventure in Rocky Mountain National Park.

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    Route Description for Dream Lake Trail

    Immerse yourself in the stunning wilderness of the Rocky Mountain Nature Park. Though not the longest hike, the Dream Lake Trail is perhaps the most beautiful. Dream Lake is one of the most Instagram-able locations in the Rocky Mountain National Park, which means it is often quite crowded. If you are hoping to avoid the crowds, consider heading out to the trail in the early morning, around 7-8 am. Early morning hikes are not only more secluded, but the lake is also often calmer, mirroring the Hallett Peak in its crystalline waters. Furthermore, an early morning hike means you are more likely to find parking at the trailhead. If you are worried about parking, consider taking the free shuttle service offered seasonally by the park! Note that visitors are required to purchase a pass when entering the Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP).

    We love the Dream Lake Hike, and we know you will too. The Dream Lake Hike is wheelchair and stroller accessible until Nymph Lake, where the paved route turns to dirt. This short but undeniably scenic adventure is a great excuse to get the whole family out into nature. Hike through towering pine, aspen and fir trees up to the lake’s shore, where you will be granted breathtaking views of the encompassing craggy, snow-capped peaks. This hike is a must add to your adventure bucket list in the Rocky Mountain National Park.

    Embark on your adventure to Dream Lake from the Bear Lake Trailhead past the Ranger Station. From the trailhead, track southwest along the paved Nymph Lake Trail. Hike the well-marked, well-maintained path through vibrant aspens and notice the damage to the lodgepole pines from the beetle infestation.

    Ascend the forested path, and you will eventually be guided around the east side of Nymph Lake. Nymph Lake is a small alpine lake ringed by pond lilies. Travel around the lake, and the route will curve you around the north shore.

    From Nymph Lake, the trail will lead you west up the more primitive path. Walk along the alpine stream and notice sights of Longs Peak in the south, peeking through the trees. Eventually, you will confront an intersection with the Lake Haiyaha Trail. Keep right, and you will summit the ridge to Dream Lake.

    Once the trail opens up to Dream Lake, you will be rewarded with unforgettable views of the blue-hued alpine lake and Hallett Peak in the background. Revel in the picturesque scenery and snap a few photos for your socials! Enjoy the views and appreciate the grandeur of the Colorado Wilderness before retracing your steps back to the trailhead.

    Trail Highlights

    Dream Lake

    Dream Lake, the culmination of the Dream Lake Trail, is a stunning alpine lake located within the Rocky Mountain National Park. Dream Lake sits at approximately 9905ft in elevation along the Continental Divide and is flanked by the towering Hallett Peak. Long and narrow, Dream Lake provides the ideal passage for photographers to capture a snap of Hallett Peak and the mirroring lake. Actually, the view from Dream Lake is one of the most photographed sights in the Rocky Mountain National Park. If you visit the lake, you will understand why.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Is Dream Lake a difficult hike?

    No, the Dream Lake Trail is an easy hike in the RMNP that hikers of most skill levels and children should be able to easily manage.

    Can you swim in Dream Lake?

    Yes, you can swim in Dream Lake. Note it is fed by an alpine glacier, so it’s bound to be chilly.

    Can you hike Dream Lake in the winter?

    Yes, the Dream Lake Trail is a wonderful snowshoeing excursion in the RMNP.

    Insider Hints for Dream Lake Trail

    • Trade your sneakers for snowshoes in the winter and you will be rewarded with a fresh perspective of the snow draped landscape.
    • Wear layers! The exposed lake shores are subject to windy conditions.
    • Venture the Dream Lake Trail in the autumn while the aspen trees are at their peak vibrance.
    • Due to the popularity of the Dream Lake Trail, you may want to consider catching the free shuttle to the Bear Lake Trailhead during the peak season.
    • If you are seeking a longer excursion, consider adding the Bear Lake Trail to finish off your adventure.

    Getting to the Dream Lake Trail Trailhead

    The Dream Lake Hike is accessed via the Bear Lake Trailhead at the end of the Bear Lake Road in the Rocky Mountain National Park.

    Route Information

    • Backcountry Campground


    • When to do


    • Pets allowed


    • Family friendly


    • Route Signage


    • Crowd Levels


    • Route Type

      Out and back

    Dream Lake Trail Elevation Graph

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    Dream Lake Trail Reviews

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