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Emerald Lake

Estes Park, Colorado

Emerald Lake

Emerald Lake Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"With more than 350 miles of backcountry trails, Rocky Mountain National Park offers hikers an incredible variety of routes from which to choose. While some take several days to complete, others are comparatively short and easy.

Regardless of the length of any of these wilderness excursions, however, they all feature spectacular mountain scenery and a plentiful supply of natural wonders. One particularly short but popular hike climbs from Bear Lake Road to Emerald Lake in the eastern portion of the park. Because it is easy, this excursion makes a wonderful introduction to the splendor of Rocky Mountain National Park for hikers of nearly all abilities."

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Emerald Lake Trail Trip Reports

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Arvada, CO
Trailblazer | 1381 pts
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3/3/2019
This is a very easy but very crowded trail even in the middle of the winter. I did it on a cold and snowy winter day (3/1/19) and it was packed with people, most of them probably go only to Nymph or Dream Lake but even the portion between Dream and Emerald Lakes was a bit crowded. The trail is well marked and it was well packed with snow. It is pretty level except for a couple of places where it gets steeper but the climbs are not long and the overall elevation gain is less than 1000 ft. The entire hike was only 3.3 miles and it took me 2h and 20 min at a very easy pace and with lots of stops to take pictures and enjoy the view. This is a good "first trail" for those learning to snowshoe or those wanting to explore a little of what the Rocky Mountain National Park has to offer without getting tired.
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Merrimack, NH
Adventurer | 391 pts
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9/13/2018
Easy and highly trafficked but stunning views the entire way
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Centennial, CO
Explorer | 56 pts
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7/20/2018
Get there early. Lots of people but good hike.
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Coppell, TX
Pathfinder | 101 pts
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6/1/2010
Hiked this in several hours with my seven and eight year old daughters. It was strenuous for them, and they required multiple snack breaks, however, the end view of Emerald Lake was enjoyed by all.
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Westfield, IN
Pathfinder | 115 pts
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8/9/1998

This is a great trail to experience the beauty of the Rockies. The end reward is astonishing. Emerald Lake is one of the most pristine lakes that you can easily access. This hike is relatively easy and does not require too much physical ability. This is a great trail to do with the family. You can even have a snowball fight in the summer. As most of the trails with easy access, this trail is wide and has an easy grade. This was my first trip here. The weather was great and there were not many people on the trail. I highly recommend this hike. Emerald Lake is truly a gem in the Rockies!
Happy Hiking! :)
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More Emerald Lake Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Kent Dannen
"Ascending past glacier-carved lakes, the track ends below dramatic cliffs encircling a timberline tarn."
"Ascending past glacier-carved lakes, the track ends below dramatic cliffs encircling a timberline tarn."

Trail Information

Estes Park
Nearby City
3.6
Distance
Out-and-back
Trail Type
Easy
Skill Level
3 hours
Duration
June to October
Season
9,475 feet
Trailhead Elevation
10,080 feet
Top Elevation
Rocky Mountain National Park
Local Contacts
USGS McHenrys Peak
Local Maps