Bear Lake Trail
Updated on July 22, 2012 by Mary Norton
Trail Length.5 mile loop
Rocky Mountain National Park has many, many trails that lead to mountain lakes or ponds. One of the easiest to access is Bear Lake at the northeast end of the park (entering from Estes Park). The trail is an easy .5 mile hike on a flat, natural surface. It leads through the trees along the water’s edge and there are beautiful views of the mountains that flank the lake as well as the mountains that are far in the distance.
There are a few wooden benches along the path to rest and take in the scenery (also a good spot for a family photo). Cascades of water flow down the hills around the lake as well which are lovely. This is a beautiful area to wander and to relax at the water’s edge.
This area is extremely crowded during the summer months with the high traffic. It is best to visit this hike early in the morning before the crowds or in the off-season when there are fewer park visitors. The shuttle to the Bear Lake parking lot is a very good alternative to finding your own parking place during summer months.
(Note: Major construction work on Bear Lake Road in 2012 & 2013 includes mandatory use of park shuttles May 29-Oct 9 between 9 am–4 pm, significant delays, and some night closures).
The parking lot also serves as the trailhead of other hikes like, trail(s) to Nymph Lake, Dream Lake, Emerald Lake and Lake Haiyaha. Try one of these hikes for a longer trail with a mountain lake. Restrooms available at parking area.
DirectionsEnter Rocky Mountain National Park through Estes Park and the Beaver Meadows Entrance.
AttractionsRMNP offers many hiking trails, camping and scenic driving. Estes Park has an abundance of quality restaurants and several hotels and inns (our favorite is Mary's Lake Lodge and Resort).
About Mary Norton, Contributor of this Hike
Mary grew up here, so she knows all the best places to go! With a family of 6 children and no lack of enthusiasm for the outdoors, Mary is well qualified to give you tips and hike spots that will challenge you as well as delight your whole family. Whether you have kids, dogs, or are just looking to enjoy nature by yourself, Mary will show you where to go to find what you are looking for.