Small Travel

Rocky Mountain National Park – Never a Dull Visit to Colorado

Colorado easily wins one of the top spots in my tally of the United States. Of the numerous tiny trips I have taken to this state, not one has managed to disenchant me. With the deep gorges to the tall Rockies, green rivers and red rocks, Colorado has one of the best hiking landscapes I have come across. My latest trip there took me to a day hike at the Rocky Mountain National Park, and there couldn’t have been a better time for a day hike along the Bear Lake trail than the sunny afternoon of August 20.

(Click on the photos to enlarge)


The Bear Lake Trail leads you up to 4 of the many beautiful lakes in the national park:

Nymph Lake: Adorned with water lilies, this lake extends a perfect welcome to the hikers and offers an excellent photo spot with Hallett Peak peeking through in the backdrop.



Dream Lake: The pristine clear water offers a canvas to capture the reflection of the alpine conifers that elegantly outline the lake’s periphery, and the blue sky that blankets everything above.


Emerald Lake: Half a mile upward from the Dream Lake, the trail leads hikers to the serene Emerald Lake, which is the destination for the hikers. This is a hike that absolutely calls for a ton of photographing, of nature and of people enjoying nature.


Bear Lake: This lake that sits right off the Bear Lake trailhead, can either be a beginning 1 mile warm-up around the lake itself, or the cool-off spot to end the hike with, as many hikers prefer. Enjoy a soothing sunset over the placid Bear Lake.


Given a limited window of time, the Bear Lake trail offered enough picturesque hike to unleash my inner adventurer and let me escape into the wilderness that took me beyond my neighborhood parks and picnic pavilions that weekend. Despite a slight elevation gain up to the Emerald lake (~200ft), this trail does not measure up to some of the strenuous hikes in the national park, thus allowing hikers of a wide age range to make it up to all 4 aforementioned lakes on a day hike. The well marked navigation signs on the trail adds to the ease of finding directions where the trail splits off in different directions.


Ideally, I would have loved to spend a week camping in the Colorado Rockies, but a day trip to the national park has only left me with more reason to go back and explore this hikers’ paradise in the future.

Access to Rocky Mountain National Park:

  • 1.5 hours from Denver International Airport
  • 10 minutes from Estes Park
  • Free shuttle rides (Hiker Shuttle) from Estes Park to Bear Lake Trailhead


  • Camp in the national park
  • Hotels in Estes Park
  • Stanley Hotel: the same hotel that had once upon a time inspired the paranormal Stephen-King-novel and Kubrick-movie – The Shining.

Nearby Attractions:

  • Stanley Hotel: the same hotel that had once upon a time inspired the paranormal Stephen-King-novel and Kubrick-movie – The Shining.

Closest towns:

  • Estes Park, CO: 10 minutes
  • Boulder, CO: 1 hour
  • Longmont, CO: 1 hour
  • Loveland, CO: 1 hour

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