- Physical DifficultyThis 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.
- Technical DifficultyThis 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.
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.
Dream Lake Elevation Graph
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Dream Lake Reviews
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