On our first trip to the Rocky Mountains, we decided to travel to several lakes: Bear Lake, Nymph Lake, Dream Lake, Haiyaha Lake, and Alberta Falls.
We left Estes Park in the morning for the Bear Lake trailhead. The trip to Bear Lake requires, in addition to the Access Pass to the national park and a registered entrance time, an additional payment for the trip to the Bear Lake Corridor. Please take a look at the details about organizing for entry here.
The lake is at an altitude of 2,880 meters above sea level and is about seven hundred meters from the parking lot. The route around Bear Lake is accessible to wheelchairs, and at the beginning of the way, there are toilets, rangers, and direction signs. Please note - the parking lot at the entrance is not large, and there is a good chance that you will have to go back, park in a parking lot that is a few kilometers from the trailhead, and use the free shuttle that the park offers and operates from morning to evening.
The signage in the park is very organized, and it is difficult to get confused. Large wooden signs direct the travelers wherever the route splits or where there may be some doubt in the desired walking direction.
Near the lake, we met a group of female moose.
From Bear Lake, we started to climb to Nymphs Lake. After walking about seven hundred meters, we reached the lake's southern end, partially covered with pond lilies.
Another eight hundred meters of climbing brought us to the sub-alpine lake, Dream Lake. And you can really see dreamy views from here:
Our original plan was to finish the route at Dream Lake. However, the ranger at the trailhead changed our mind: he told us that due to a one-time natural phenomenon, the color of the water changed just three months before our visit, from deep blue to turquoise as a result of a mountain slide, which introduced a glacier flour into the lake. He suggested we make an effort and get there. And he was right. We have never seen anything like this:
From there, we continued to Alberta Falls. This time most of the way was already downhill. We saw a beautiful lake that no one bothered to name, squirrels, and a small bridge that Liat decided was suitable for dancing:
As you get closer to the falls, you hear the flow of water:
From Alberta Falls, we continued to the trail's end, which was close to the trailhead. There was a shuttle stop there, and after a few minutes, we got on the bus that took us to the parking lot, where we left the car.
It was a perfect day trip. Although the climb was challenging because we were not used to hiking at such a height, and the breathing was a bit heavy, the views and the lakes were simply amazing.
And because it was a long post, let me remind you again: there is a fee to enter the Rocky Mountains National Park. Entrance to the Bear Lake Corridor requires an additional cost, and during the tourist season, it is also necessary to coordinate the entrance time to the park. We wrote you all the details in this post.