Emerald Lake is one of Rocky Mountain National Park's Top Winter Trails. At least 1.5 million people hike the trails in Rocky Mountain National Park each year. The majority of these people visit in summer, but winter can get crowded, too, especially at the Bear Lake Trailhead.
This trail starts at the Bear Lake trailhead and is mostly uphill until you reach Emerald Lake.
It is a moderate to difficult hike on the way up for sure. The weather wasn't great and the trails were snowy but still busy with other hikers and skaters heading to the frozen lakes.
The scenery just gets better each step from Bear lake, to dream lake up to Emerald Lake. No matter the season, get an early start to avoid the crowds. From the Bear Lake Trailhead at 9,475 feet, find the trail on the east side of the parking lot. Cross a wooden bridge, then follow signs and bear left (south) at the first trail junction. Heading right will take you on a .6 mile loop around Bear Lake, which is an excellent choice if you’d like to extend your day on the way back
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