Bear Lake Trail

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado 80517

Distance0.6mi
Elevation Gain130ft
Trailhead Elevation9,454ft
Top9,500ft
Elevation Min/Max9451/9500ft
Elevation Start/End9454/9454ft

Bear Lake Trail

Bear Lake Trail is a hiking trail in Larimer County, Colorado. It is within Rocky Mountain National Park. It is 0.6 miles long and begins at 9,454 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 1.1 miles with a total elevation gain of 130 feet. Near the trailhead there are restroom and an information map. Along the trail there are a bare rock and screes. Near the end of the trail is an information board.

Bear Lake Trail Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Road Biking Colorado (Falcon Guides)
Robert Hurst
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"This is a moderate climb to a popular tourist attraction in Rocky Mountain National Park. The scenery is gorgeous and the road lovable. But don’t feed the tourists! Rocky Mountain National Park was created only through the work of diligent and devoted conservationists more than one hundred years ago. Not that the mountains would crumble down without that National Park designation, but the area would have become something quite different without it. So appreciate the park in its relatively pristine state while you still can. Arguably, biking on roads that are bumper-to-bumper with looky-loos is a poor way to do that. Plan a little extra time to get off the road and into the woods." Read more
Winter Trails: Colorado-The Best Cross-Country Ski and Snowshoe Trails (Falcon Guides)
Andy Lightbody and Kathy Mattoon
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"Established by Congress in 1915, Rocky Mountain National Park is 265,727 acres of spectacular mountain scenery, including one of the most famous Colorado fourteeners—Longs Peak at 14,255 feet. In the park you might see elk, deer, and an occasional moose. During the winter months, great horned owls and Steller’s jays make the park their home. Located on the east side of the Continental Divide, the park is a convenient distance for winter enthusiasts from Denver and the Front Range. Snowmobile traffic is not permitted on the cross-country and snowshoe trails described here." Read more
Winter Trails: Colorado-The Best Cross-Country Ski and Snowshoe Trails (Falcon Guides)
Andy Lightbody and Kathy Mattoon
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"Rocky Mountain National Park offers 415 square miles of untamed forests, valleys, and mountain areas for the cross-country skier and snowshoer. All are a relatively short distance from metro Denver and the Front Range. Even in the wintertime Moraine Park Campground is open for tent and RV camping, while Longs Peak Campground is open to tent camping only. There is a fee for camping in these sites. There’s no firewood in the park, and campers must bring their own water. But an overnight adventure on one of the unmarked trails is truly worth the experience for skiers or snowshoers who are familiar with Colorado’s temperamental weather conditions and are experienced in reading topographical maps and using a compass and a GPS unit." Read more
Best Easy Day Hikes: Rocky Mountain National Park (Falcon Guides)
Kent Dannen
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"Snow on the route to Hollowell Park often is adequate and shaded by heavy forest after a short ascent on an open, southfacing slope. This trail leads to Bierstadt Lake, a popular destination for backcountry travelers in Rocky Mountain National Park in both winter and summer. Frequently during the winter and spring, snowshoes or skis must be carried over some relatively snowless sections when hikers are traveling beyond the lake to meet Bear Lake Road in Hollowell Park. Bright markers delineate the 4.5-mile route from the Bear Lake parking lot to Hollowell Park. Markers also lead to an alternative destination at the summer parking area for the Bear Lake Shuttle. Begin with a short, steep climb to the trail’s high point, about 0.5 mile from Bear Lake. Thereafter the route is downhill for the remaining 4 miles. At the high point the Odessa Lake Trail heads left from the Bierstadt Lake Trail. The National Park Service considers the trail to Odessa Gorge to be avalanche prone." Read more
Colorado's Quiet Winter Trails (Colorado Mountain Club Press)
Dave Muller
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"Cross-country skiing can be daunting in Rocky Mountain National Park. Narrow, winding trails, limited snowfall, and the lack of old mining roads call for snowshoes as the preferable winter transport mode within the park. Touring skins are advised for the skier." Read more
Best Hikes Rocky Mountain National Park (Falcon Guides)
Kent Dannen
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"This path perambulates along the perimeter of the park’s most popular lake." Read more
Best Hikes with Kids Colorado (The Mountaineers Books)
Maureen Keilty
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"Bear Lake and the surrounding area is a quiet showcase of Rocky Mountain National Park’s ever-evolving forests and shores. The trails wander through a collage of nature’s best: rainbow-making waterfalls, wildflower-bordered streams, cathedral-like forests, and mountain mirroring lakes." Read more
Best Easy Day Hikes: Rocky Mountain National Park (Falcon Guides)
Kent Dannen
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"This path perambulates the perimeter of the park’s most popular lake." Read more

Bear Lake Trail Reviews

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8/26/2018
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7/13/2018
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7/11/2018
This hike is easy, short, and picturesque! Bring your kids for sure. It is more of a stroll than a hike. The lake is gorgeous.
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7/10/2009
There are many pretty sites around here and this one is nice, but I wouldn't prioritize it above others that are more beautiful.
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7/1/2009
We've hiked the Loch a half dozen times. It is hands down one of the best hikes and most beautiful lakes in the park. Allow enough time to continue up the valley to Timberline Falls, Lake of Glass and Sky Pond for a great day of hiking!!
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11/20/2008
We hiked this trail while the trail was covered with both some loose powder and some snow pack. The entire trail was covered with snow which we liked. Once we reached Alberta Falls we decided to go back country and we crossed the frozen water fall near the top. From there it was a lot better due to not seeing any more tourist and seeing a lot more nature. After about three hours in the back country we came back across the trail and followed it up to the Loch. The lake was of course frozen solid with about 3 to 4 ft. of snow covering most of the lake. The wind was blowing at about 30 miles per hour with gusts in the 50s. When we stood on the parts of the lake that had little to no snow, the wind would push us across the ice. Pretty cool. Theres lots of water falls and plenty of wild life. I guess the only bad part is that its in the park so you will need a permit and a parking pass if you want to camp. Even then you can not have a fire unless your in a designated camping slot which I will never do. Thats not camping.
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11/1/2008
This is an excellent hike for anyone. We love to walk around the lake with our two toddlers and admire the gorgeous views of the lake and the mountains.
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7/16/2008
The hikes around Bear Lake in RMNP are breath taking in the surrounding scenary. The trail around Bear Lake has some of the finest views of Long's Peak you will find anywhere in the Park. A benefit or drawback is the accessiblity. If you are looking for solitude you won't find it here. The trail is handicapped/stroller accessible and heavily used. I felt somewhat foolish as I walked prepared for heavy-duty mountain hiking, and had several people pass by on the trail with infants or walkers. If you seek and easy and beautiful hike this is it. If you would like more challenge and less company, Try nearby, Emeral Lake or the Loch.
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6/19/2005
This easy trail is located a few hundred yards from the bear lake parkinglot and ranger station. It is a headway for other more "loafty" destinations. Namely Flattop and Halet peaks, both are visible from the shoreline. Good hike for a beginner.
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7/1/2001
This is the best trail in the Park for people in wheelchairs or those who want to view nature but aren't very mobile. Way too crowded, however! The farther you go from the parking lot, the less populated. And this place leads off to other trails, so it was a good meeting place for our group of diverse hiking needs.
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Bear Lake Trail Photos

Trail Information

Rocky Mountain National Park
Nearby City
Rocky Mountain National Park
Parks
Kid-friendly
Accessibility
For current conditions and more information, contact Beaver Meadows Visitor Center, www.nps.gov/romo or (970) 586-1206
Local Contacts
Rocky Mountain National Park brochure; USGS McHenrys Peak
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Dec 2018