Dramatic peaks rise like wallpaper around this scenic lake, which is among the highlights from a flurry of water features along Bear Lake Trail.
Dream Lake is a stunning alpine lake. Its shimmering surface reflects the surrounding steep mountainous forest, creating beautiful opportunities for photos or memories. Leading to the water basin are myriad nature trails that provide spectacular views of Rocky Mountain National Park. Stand on the eastern shore and gaze up at the imposing Hallett Peak and Flattop Mountain that rise high above the water.
Start walking along Bear Lake Trail and listen to the birdcalls coming from the surrounding forest. Sneak views of pond lilies gracing the surface of enchanting Nymph Lake. Wildflowers beautify the shores of this serene spot.
Continue along the path and pass picturesque Lake Haiyaha, which is surrounded by a large jumble of boulders. Look for The Sharkstooth peak rising up behind the lake.
After Lake Haiyaha, Dream Lake is not much farther along Bear Lake Trail. Arrive and enjoy a picnic with your family on a large, flat boulder. Admire the views of the Tyndall Gorge between the mountains. Watch fishers hard at work in the clear waters. If you look closely, you may see trout swimming over the pebbled bottom. Wander through the adjacent forest and spot chipmunks and other wildlife.
Arrive early in the morning, when this popular lake is least busy. If you have time, consider visiting nearby Emerald Lake, a little farther along the same trail. Note that the path is considered fairly easy to walk, making it accessible for everyone in the family.
Dream Lake is located at the end of Bear Lake Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park. It is at the foot of Hallett Peak. From Estes Park, drive southwest for 13 miles (21 kilometers) to reach the lake in about half an hour. You can also ride the free shuttle bus to the trailhead.
Explore the surroundings for other gems such as East Glacier Knob, Saint Catherine’s Chapel on the Rock and McHenrys Peak.