Bear Lake Trailhead


Range: Front Range
Coordinates: 40.18729, -105.38753
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Road Difficulty

Paved Road 0   (0=Paved, 6=Very Difficult 4WD)

Driving Directions

Go to Estes Park via Hwy 34 or Hwy 36 to the intersection of those two roads. Go west on Hwy 36 business (also known here as Elkhorn) through downtown Estes Park. After a third of a mile, turn left on Moraine to stay on Hwy. 36. There is a sign that says Rocky Mountain National Park headquarters entrance.After two miles the road splits - stay to the right to go to the park main entrance. The park entrance is two more miles from the split (four miles total from the turn onto Moraine).A quarter mile into the park, make the first left onto Bear Lake Rd. The sign refers to Bear Lake and Moraine Park.Take Bear Lake Rd. 9.5 miles to reach the trailhead at the end of the road.

Winter Access

The road is plowed in the winter, during the daytime.
Status Updates 
Posted By: supranihilest
Info: Basically empty at 4:30am. A complete nightmare zoo at 3pm. Plan accordingly.
Posted By: Drone_Boss78
Info: Blowing snow.
Posted By: kingshimmers
Info: Parking lot is completely dry. Flattop trail (and the Dream/Nymph/Emerald trail) is hardpacked and icy in spots. Trail is thoroughly covered. Used microspikes on the way up Flattop; snowshoes were not necessary on the trail.
Posted By: WillRobnett
Info: Ice and hardpack. Some areas without coverage near the TH, going up coverage stays good.
Posted By: WillRobnett
Info: Freeze thaw cycle is 50% ice & 50% hardpack going Bear Lake >Nymph Lake > Dream Lake > Emerald Lake. (not to mention heavy foot traffic) Lots of people sliding there with 100% coverage ice and hardpack. Lots of people falling, saw it three times on that route alone. People with microspikes were still moving pretty cautiously and uneasy. I had crampons on at the Bear Lake Ranger Station seeing ice everywhere, and cruised. Highly recommend having real spikes on the trail with real ice! Also hiked to Gem Lake from Lumpy Ridge TH today. Trails were mostly dry to Gem, up near the lake is a few solid-ice switchbacks.. saw two more falls later in the day there. Be careful! Freeze thaw is hitting the lower trails pretty hard right now. Photo isn’t the worst spot, just one of many.
Posted By: emgordon
Info: No construction. Road and trailhead are great, but busy. Shuttles run regularly.
Posted By: krishcane
Info: Bear Lake Rd. is currently closed for maintenance from 9 am to 4 pm, Monday through Friday. It is open at all other times.

You can drive up before 9 am, and you‘ll still be allowed to return during the maintenance window - it‘s just that they won‘t allow any new vehicles to go up during that time.

You can also park at the Moraine Park area (1 mile in to Bear Lake Rd.) and take the visitor‘s shuttle up to Bear Lake, though there can be delay of up to 2 hours on the shuttle during peak visiting time.

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