After we finished our half-mile walk/hike around Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park, we began our uphill trek to see two more beautiful Alpine lakes, Nymph Lake and Dream Lake. Our goal was to hike to both lakes, then return to our car for a late picnic lunch before hiking to Alberta Falls in the afternoon, although we held open the possibility of hiking on to Emerald Lake once we were at Dream Lake.
While our hike around Bear Lake was on a trail at an elevation of 9,475 feet that was basically flat, the trail up to the other lakes was a slow and steady climb, with a few breaks along the way. Fortunately, we were more acclimated to the high altitude on this day than we were two days earlier at Golden Gate Canyon State Park, when we attempted our first hike above 9000 feet and had to cut it short. In fact, we thoroughly enjoyed this particular hike to the lakes and got a good, calorie-burning workout in the process.
The entire hike was amazingly beautiful, and that is likely an understatement. This is one of the most beautiful sites that anyone will ever see, so rather than repeat that fact over and over again, I will try to refrain from stating this fact and just show a few photos to share that fact.
The first part of the hike to Nymph Lake climbed to an elevation of 9,705 feet over a distance of a half-mile, and the climb began right away once we left Bear Lake. It felt like climbing a long staircase for much of the way, but it did not take long to finally arrive at our first scenic stop at Nymph Lake. We had a nice rest break here, enjoying the view and catching our breath a bit. I was surprised to see that I actually had a little cell signal here, so I took that opportunity to take a picture with my phone camera and send it to a couple of good friends who were dealing with brutally hot weather at their respective locations that holiday weekend.
After taking photos and enjoying the views, we then continued onward and upward to Dream Lake, which sits at an elevation of 9,912 feet and is .8 mile from Nymph Lake. It was the highest elevation we ever attempted to hike, and thankfully, it was a great experience for us.
Dream Lake is just amazingly beautiful. There, I said it again. It is hard to not gush over the beauty of this place. We spent quite a bit of time here at the end of our planned morning hike and just enjoyed being there. I was quite surprised to see how many people were already there along the banks with their fishing poles, too. It was such a peaceful, serene place at almost 10,000 feet, and our reward for our climb was definitely worth it.
After hiking to the far end of the lake and just a bit beyond, we made a decision to return to the car for a late lunch, rather than skipping lunch to hike on to Emerald Lake. It was nice to hike downhill for a change, too. Just like a trip by car, the scenery is often quite spectacular behind us, and we discovered that happy fact as we made our way back to Bear Lake. It was just a grand hike in both directions.
Once we were back at the car, we enjoyed another picnic lunch in the park at a scenic spot nearby, which was handy for us. It was nice to not have to sit in the car to eat this time, as the weather was pretty much perfect. Clouds and cooler breezes began to roll in a bit, so we made it a quick lunch, then set out for our last adventure in the park on this trip – a hike to beautiful Alberta Falls, which I will share in my next post.