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.