Planning a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park

  • by Scott Sajowitz

Rocky Mountain National Park – Time & Again!

Go to Rocky Mountain National Park every weekend for the entire summer and still, you would not accomplish everything there is to see there. Each time you return, you can experience a different piece of it that won’t be anything like the last. When you do go, make sure that one of those times, you tackle the hike that accomplishes 4 lakes in 3 miles, I’ll show you how. 

This park has every type of hike you can imagine for different views and different skill levels. Its an outdoor lovers playground, with fishing, camping, wildlife viewing you name it. So if you can commit to an hour and a half drive from Denver to get to Estes Park, you will have access to it all.

Be prepared to pay a park entrance fee, which was $25/day in July this year (2018), day use for one vehicle. There are plenty of parking lots, depending on which trailhead you are looking to do, so at the entrance pay booth don’t be shy to ask which lot would be most suitable for the hike you are doing. They park will provide you a park map and are very helpful with pointing you to the closest lot for your activity of choice that day. If parking lots are full (because the park brings quite a bit of traffic), you can take the shuttle that picks up passengers from one trailhead to another.

The shuttle is free and runs between every 15 to 30 minutes, click here to view the schedules of how long they run for. As the park shuttle times vary depending on the season.

Beginning at the Bear Lake trailhead is the journey that will take you through 4 amazing lakes, each one unique. Right away, within the first few steps, Bear Lake is nestled in the trees when you haven’t even felt like you’ve begun hiking yet. It has a few spots in between the trees where you can step in closer to the lakes edge and take some shots of the clean body of mountain water.

On your trail, the first fork you hit will separate the path from Glacier Gorge to all of the Lakes, here is where you veer right. The trail stay mostly level as you head towards lake number 2)Nymph Lake, which will be covered with beautiful lily pads. I was pleasantly surprised when the trail lead us to 2 different views of it. First you will reach the base of the lake and as the trail continues, it curves and follows through a slight incline to a top view of it. The top view is invigorating, as it provides a stretch of miles and miles of Mountain, covered in pine trees and Nymph Lake peeks out in the middle.


From lake to lake expect that you will want to take periodic stops, because the trail offers various views and enjoyable nature.  You’ll be eager to see what is next, when you keep coming across running streams, waterfalls and my personal favorite, gorgeous shots of unique trees- whether they’ve fallen or aged, no 2 are the same.


Dream Lake was 3rd, islands of rock go inward toward the water, causing the lake to have a different shape. Many hikers do a little climbing to catch views, take a break and have some lunch. Dont be surprise if you could see the fish through water and take in the backdrop of a higher peak, Dream Lake is where you get a glimpse from some great angles.


The last stop, is Emerald Lake where the surrounding peaks are at its tallest. You will not be able to walk around to the other side of the lake, as its just sheer rock, but you will still have a breathtaking view from one side, here it is! At a distance, you can spot the trickle of water from snow melt that feeds into the pristine frigid lake.


The 3 mile hike that provides a journey through 4 lakes at Rocky Mountain National Park, is an out and back trail. It is great for a leisure hike. Like always, pictures never do a place like this justice. So you are encouraged to make sure to go experience for yourself, see it with your very own eyes!

Rocky Mountain National Park brings in all kinds of visitors near and far. But well visited national parks are a good thing, they are organized, staffed and they promote preservation of the natural landmarks, while at the same time creating a way for people to enjoy. So whether you are a beginner who’s seeking a short doable trail for the afternoon, or an advanced climber who wants to tackle one of the parks strenuous glaciers, you can’t deny that Rocky Mountain National Park offers some of the best, within reasonable distance from Denver!

Thank you so much for reading!

Estes Park, CO
Rocky Mountain National Park

Courtesy of Colorado Caribou



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