After many, many trips simply passing through Colorado, I finally made it to the Rocky Mountains. After staying with my Uncle Brad in Denver for a few days, the three of us made an excursion to Estes Park. I had been recommended the hike from Bear Lake to Emerald Lake and it sounded like the perfect hike.
» Bear Lake «
The shuttles were still running so we got to take the little bus right to the Bear Lake parking area. At the trailhead, if you veer left you get to Bear Lake and it’s simply a short stroll from there. The trail from Bear Lake to Emerald Lake is only around 3.5 miles round trip and it’s truly a gem in the Rocky Mountains.
Bear Lake is a very popular location for sunrise! Brad, Matt and I walked all around the lake and found ourselves saying, ‘Wow!’ at just about every turn. You can get beautiful views of the Rocky Mountains and loads of evergreens.
» Nymph Lake «
If you continue on a little over half a mile on the trail, you’ll come upon Nymph Lake. This lake is the smallest-looking lake of the four you come across, but it’s most defining feature are all of the lily-pads floating along the top. It gives a definite green look to the entire lake, but it’s beautiful in its own way.
A view of Nymph Lake from above! You definitely do some climbing on this trail.
A beautiful view of the Rocky Mountains.
I really enjoyed this section of the trail. As you draw nearer to Dream Lake there are some pretty fields and even more beautiful mountain views. I love the way they really take shape as you get higher and higher in the mountains.
» Dream Lake «
Just about a half mile from further from Nymph Lake is Dream Lake. It was my favorite of the four lakes on this hike. I love the mountain views the most here, I love the turquoise-colored water, the trees that surround it and the peaceful feeling that this view brings with it. I mean, they call it Dream Lake for a reason.
Even continuing along the side of the lake it’s beautiful. Plus, the water is so clear that you can see that it’s just full of fish!
This bright blue bird was just so striking! I love the little speckles on the feathers.
» Emerald Lake «
The last of the lakes on this trail was Emerald Lake. It felt the most secluded, since not everyone goes all the way up to this lake. The air was very chilly and it really gave the feeling of being up in the mountains since it’s all you could see all around you. While we were up there a Swedish man braved the extremely cold water and swam across the entire lake! Brave, silly soul.
» Bear Lake at Sunrise «
As I mentioned above, Bear Lake is notorious for it’s beauty at sunrise. Matt and I woke up well before the sun and drove up to this trailhead. We could hear the elk bugling as we drove, which was so cool! I had been hoping that we would be there in time to hear it!
I loved being able to give Matt a great birthday present – his wish was to get to photograph a sunrise in the Rocky Mountains.
The sunrise here isn’t your typical bright colors and sun popping up behind the mountains. Instead, it illuminates the mountains, turning them into a firey orange color.
One of my husband’s amazing shots. He’s so very talented.
Look at the amazing reflection in the water.
This elk wasn’t bugling by the time we saw him, but it was still cool to get to see this guy so close up!
» Estes Park Bonus – The Stanley Hotel «
The Stanley Hotel is known for being haunted and even better known for The Shining! The movie was filmed inside this hotel! Although we didn’t get to stay here (although, that’s now on my list), Brad, Matt and I had dinner and drinks here and it was just the perfect way to cap of a beautiful day in the Estes Park area and our first real trip to Colorful Colorado.
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