Nymph and Dream Lakes

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.

Nymph Lake 1
Nymph Lake
Nymph Lake 2
Pond lilies at Nymph Lake
Nymph Lake 3
Beautiful Nymph Lake
Nymph Lake 4
A curious squirrel posed beside me as I took a hiking break at Nymph Lake.

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 Hike 1
Hiking to Dream Lake
Dream Lake Hike 2
The trail to Dream Lake often rimmed the edge of the mountain.
Dream Lake Hike 3
Mountain stream on the hike to Dream Lake

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.

Dream Lake 1
Hallett Peak (12.720 ft) and Dream Lake
Dream Lake 2
Emerald green water at Dream Lake
Dream Lake 3
Looking back over Dream Lake from the west end
Dream Lake 4
People fishing at Dream Lake
Dream Lake 5
Fishermen at Dream Lake
Dream Lake 6
The trail hugged the edge of this beautiful lake for amazing views.

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.

Dream Lake 7

Dream Lake 8

Dream Lake 9

Dream Lake 10

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.

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Author: DK

Blogger at My Five Fs (Faith - Family - Food - Fotos - Fun) and Animal Wonder. Empty-nester that now shares life with my hubby and our two standard poodles. Enjoys camping in our RV, taking and editing photos, trying new low-carb recipes, baking pretty decorated cookies for special occasions, walking daily, spending time with family and friends when we can, playing with the dogs, and is grateful to God for every single day of this blessed life and for the opportunity to share and connect with some great people here.

7 thoughts on “Nymph and Dream Lakes”

  1. This past Tuesday I did this exact same hike. I hiked first to Dream Lake and then to Alberta Falls. I drove back to Sprague Lake where I enjoyed my picnic lunch and then hiked around that lake. What a perfect day it was. I don’t think I could ever tire of RMNP. I agree with you…. beautiful. I’d love to take in one more visit but our time in Colorado is nearing an end.


    1. Good for you! So glad that you have had such quality time in the area this summer. We definitely want to return when we can in warm weather months to continue exploring, hopefully not over a holiday weekend, but I would still go then if that option was open, too. It is only a one hour flight or a ten hour drive for us in the car. After our bad car rental experience there, we may just make the drive next time. That last state park you shared might be a good option for us to just make day trips in the area if/when we ever bring the RV. I appreciate you sharing that, as I never even saw that one when doing my research. If I can find a place to board the dogs during the daytime nearby, that would be perfect, since dogs are not allowed on most of the trails in the national park but are allowed on some in the state parks. 😉


      1. Colorado is sooo dog friendly that finding a doggy day care should not be a problem and Longmont is a great town. St. Vrain SP I think would fit your needs beautifully especially once construction on Hwy 36 is complete. You’d be looking at an hour drive tops to RMNP from St. Vrain SP.


        1. We will definitely re-visit all of this next year and hopefully return to the area, whether by car, plane or in the RV with our four-legged pals. Also, I just saw photos of the Bear Lake area on the RMNP Facebook page, and the aspens are a beautiful golden color already. Can’t believe how quickly they turned just since we were there. Just beautiful!


  2. You must be in better shape than us. We spent 10 days in Frisco CO at 9000+ and even after all that time we still found ourselves winded really easily. Now that we’re off the forest and on flatter ground we’ve been working on our stamina by walking more again!!!!


    1. I will admit that I was pleasantly surprised at how well we adapted after that first day in the area. I walk a lot for exercise, three to five miles a day much of the time and sometimes more, but it is quite different to hike the trails that have that much elevation change, for sure. We were advised to drink a lot of water, and that helped. Our home is at a moderate elevation over 3,200 ft., so thankfully it’s not like going from sea-level to that high altitude for us.


      1. 3200 Feet is nothing to scoff at. We were acclimated to WI — less than 800 ft above sea level, so for us, a sudden rise to 9000+ was significant.

        It was OK, but we huffed and puffed a lot during those 10 days and Peggy for sure is not interested in returning for any duration to that elevation. She had a hard time getting enough oxygen while sleeping. Found herself waking up out of a sleep needing more air.


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