Nymph Lake

Rocky Mountain National Park
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Nymph Lake

Distance: 1.8km
Elevation: 88m
Time: 1h

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If you are new to snowshoeing or winter hiking, the trail to Nymph Lake is a great introduction. Nymph Lake is a beautiful alpine lake located not too far from the trailhead. If you get here and are feeling comfortable in the snow, keep on going to Dream or Emerald Lake!

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 16.1km until it ends at the Bear Lake Trailhead.

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

High

Route Type

Out and back


Elevation


Detailed Description

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.

Nymph Lake is a great introduction to RMNP and winter hiking and snowshoeing. Depending on the current conditions, you may be able to hike to Nymph Lake without snowshoes.

We recommend the Nymph Lake trail if this is your first time trying out snowshoes and are looking for an easy trail without compromising on the views.

From the Bear Lake Trailhead, follow the signs for Nymph Lake as it branches off to the left. Of course, if you have time, it is worth having a quick pit stop at Bear Lake to check out the views for its eastern shore before continuing onwards.

The trail for Nymph Lake will steadily climb uphill through a dense pine forest. Fortunately, to help keep you motivated, you can catch a glimpse of Longs Peak through gaps in the trees. Further, owing to the popularity of this route, much of it has been paved to help preserve the area.

After only a short distance, you will arrive at the frozen Nymph Lake where you will be greeted with superb views of Hallett Peak and Flattop Mountain in the distance.

To get back to the Bear Lake trailhead, return the way you came by retracing your steps. Alternatively, if you have the right equipment and stamina, you can continue on towards Dream Lake (check out #1 for more information on this trail).

Insider Hints

  • Did you get to Nymph Lake and want more? Check out #1 Dream Lake which continues on from Nymph Lake.

  • If you fancy a nice lunch, you should stop at Smokin’ Dave’s BBQ & Brew in Estes Park for a bite to eat.

  • 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 ideally a satellite transceiver, like a Garmin InReach. Cell phones may not work on trail.

  • Always check the avalanche forecast for the Front Ranges before heading out.

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