The most Popular Alpine Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park
Bear Lake is an alpine lake in Rocky Mountain National Park that sits at 9,449 ft of elevation. Accessed easily via Bear Lake Trailhead, which is also the most popular trail head in the park. During summer months, even with the new timed-entry system in place, expect the parking lot to fill up before 6am on the weekends.
If parking is full you will have to park at the Park and Ride and take the shuttle service to access Bear Lake trail head. May 27th-Oct 18th from 7am-7:30pm every 10-15 minutes.
Popular Destinations that can be directly reached from Bear Lake Trailhead
One of the reasons for the popularity of this trail head are the number of scenic destinations it can lead you to. To put this clearly, if you only had one day in Rocky Mountain National Park and wanted the most bang for your buck, this is your trail head.
From Bear Lake Trail head there are maintained trails to several scenic locations in Rocky Mountain National Park including:
- Nymph Lake
- Dream Lake
- Emerald Lake
- Lake Haiyaha
- Alberta Falls
- The Loch
- Lake of Glass
- Timberline Falls
- Sky Pond
- Andrews Glacier
- Mills Lake
- Black Lake
- Ribbon Falls
- Flattop Mountain
- Hallett Peak
- Otis Peak
- Lake Helene
- Odessa Lake
- Fern Lake
- plus several more destinations…
Bear Lake Trail head has
- Small concession stand that sells drinks, bug spray, etc.
- Several Rangers around for you to ask questions
- Shuttle Bus Stop
Bear Lake for Landscape Photography
This is the perfect lake to work on your sunrise and sunset landscape photography. Several compositions can be taken here. Bear Lake is scenic year round and the conditions are always changing.
I recommend this for any hiking photographer trying to get better at taking landscapes. There’s no worry about hiking far with heavy gear. You will have plenty of time to set up the composition you want. Only downside will be that you will be sharing the lake with several other photographers at sunrise and sunset. The lake is big enough though and I’ve never had an issue working around other landscape photographers.