Panorama of Dream Lake snowshoe trail in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
Panorama of Dream Lake snowshoe trail in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Dream Lake Snowshoe Trail

Rocky Mountain National Park
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Winter views on Dream Lake snowshoe trail in Rocky Mountain National Park, ColoradoHike on Dream Lake snowshoe trail in Rocky Mountain National Park, ColoradoSign of Dream Lake snowshoe trail in Rocky Mountain National Park, ColoradoBeautiful lake of Dream Lake snowshoe trail in Rocky Mountain National Park, ColoradoOverview of Dream Lake snowshoe trail in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Dream Lake Snowshoe Trail

Distance: 2.0mi
Elevation: 503ft
Time: 1-2h

Difficulty Rating:

User Ratings:
9 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty

A snowshoe to Dream Lake will take you to a gorgeous alpine lake nestled in the Rocky Mountains with Hallett Peak (12713ft) dominating the background.

Dream Lake Snowshoe Trail Map

Getting there

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 10.0mi until it ends at the Bear Lake Trailhead.

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About

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


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 0.5mi from the trailhead, you will be able to see the top of Hallett Peak (12713ft). 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 1.0mi, 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

  • 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.

Comments

Hikeordie 11 months ago

A spectacular winter hike. Did it twice in January and the trail was absolutely beautiful!

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Wyatt Thomas 2 years ago

Dream lake was a nice, easy trail on snowshoes.

8.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
2 Comments

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