Dream Lake

Difficulty
This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
Easy
Duration
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.
1-2h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
3.2 km
Elevation
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.
153 m
User Ratings
These ratings are completed by users who have completed this trail and not subject to reviews by 10Adventures.
Overall Rating
This is the average user-submitted overall rating on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest.
9.0
Physical Difficulty
This is the average user-submitted rating on the physical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Technical Difficulty
This is the average user-submitted rating on the technical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
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Directions to Trailhead
Panorama of Dream Lake snowshoe trail in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

A snowshoe to Dream Lake will take you to a gorgeous alpine lake nestled in the Rocky Mountains with Hallett Peak (3,875 m) dominating the background.

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Route Description for Dream Lake

Anyone on a snowshoe trip should have Avalanche training, we recommend AIARE 2 for all backcountry travellers, and AIARE 1 is the minimum. It is important to note that when travelling through avalanche terrain it is extremely valuable to always have a companion.

The snowshoe to Dream Lake is a local favorite and comes highly recommended to anybody visiting Rocky Mountain National Park. There are incredible views from all sections of the trip.

Depending on the amount of recent snowfall, you may not require snowshoes and be able to hike to Dream Lake.

From the trailhead turn to the left and follow the well-marked signs toward Nymph Lake. Once you arrive at Nymph Lake, about a 0.8 km from the trailhead, you will be able to see the top of Hallett Peak (3,875 m). This also marks the direction towards Dream Lake. The trail hugs to the right of Nymph Lake before climbing up in elevation as the trail traverses along the steep mountainside.

After snowshoeing for about a 1.6 km, the trail will split. Follow the signs for Dream Lake until you find yourself on the frozen Dream Lake with Hallett Peak dominating the background!

Dream Lake itself makes for a great day trip but it also serves as a gateway to some of the more remote and less explored areas such as Emerald Lake and Lake Haiyaha.

To get back to the Bear Lake trailhead, return the way you came by retracing your steps.

Insider Hints for Dream Lake

  • Avoid the crowds by going on a weekday!
  • You can often get to Dream Lake without snowshoes, depending on current snow conditions.
  • If you get to Dream Lake and you have more in you, continue on to Emerald Lake - #2 on the list of our top 10!
  • Fun Fact: In Estes Park, the Stanley Hotel, overlooking RMNP, was the inspiration for Stephen Kings ‘The Shining’! It is worth checking out and grabbing a beer at the hotel bar.
  • Snowshoeing in Rocky Mountain National Park takes you into remote terrain. Make sure you are prepared for an emergency with warm clothes, extra food, matches and potentially a satellite transceiver, like a Garmin InReach. Cell phones may not work on all trails.
  • Always check the avalanche forecast for the Front Ranges before heading out.

Getting to the Dream Lake Trailhead

From Estes Park, take Highway 36 west and enter RMNP at the Beaver Meadows Entrance Station. Just after the pay station, turn left on Bear Lake Road. Follow the road for about 16.1 km until it ends at the Bear Lake Trailhead.

Route Information

  • When to do

    Late November to Early April

  • Backcountry Campsites

    Yes- get permits at RMNP Visitors Center

  • Toilets

    Yes, primitive pit toilet

  • Pets allowed

    No

  • Family friendly

    Yes

  • Route Signage

    Good

  • Crowd Levels

    Moderate

  • Route Type

    Out and back

Dream Lake Elevation Graph

Weather Forecast

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Dream Lake Reviews

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