Dream Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park
- Date hiked: Several
- Hiked from: Bear Lake Trailhead
- Distance hiked: 2.2 Miles RT
- Total elevation gain: 425 ft
- Maintained trail: Yes
- Overall Difficulty: 2/10
- Overall Views: 7/10
Dream Lake – a Trail Traveled Often
One of the most popular lakes in Rocky Mountain National Park. The reason for this is easy access and incredible views. Just a 1 mile hike will land you at this iconic lake, sought out by many photographers. I’ve been to Dream Lake several times for sunrise and there are always several landscape photographers there. Even in the middle of the winter I’ve shared the lake with some of them.
Hallett Peak and Flattop Mountain are the dominant peaks to the west that make up the surreal landscape. Dream Lake is approximately .2 miles long in length. Fishing is allowed but only catch and release, with a valid Colorado fishing license.
Getting to Dream Lake
Dream Lake is most easily accessed from the Bear Lake Trailhead on the east side of Rocky Mountain National Park. From the Beaver/Meadows entrance station, take Bear Lake road for approximately 8 miles to the end of the road. During the summer months, the parking lot to Bear Lake trailhead fills up quickly. Usually by sunrise. There’s a Park and Ride shuttle bus that runs during the summer that’s a few mile down the road that will get you to the trailhead.
How Long does it take to Hike to Dream Lake?
From Bear Lake Trailhead it’s a 1.1 Mile hike one-way to this majestic alpine lake. It can be hiked to in under an hour. Plan for 1-2 hours of total hiking time if you want to visit one of the most popular lakes in Rocky Mountain National Park.
Other Destinations near Dream Lake
Dream Lake is 1 of 4 lakes that can be accessed within 2 miles of hiking from Bear Lake trailhead. The most common and recommended out and back hike for first time visitors will bring you to Bear Lake, Nymph Lake, Dream Lake and Emerald Lake.
Is Dream Lake a good Winter Hike?
Yes! In fact it’s one of my favorite winter hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park. Keep in mind conditions will vary depending on weather. There are times when heavy snowfall occurs that they will shut down Bear Lake road. So the lake is not always easily accessible. The road is plowed regularly but it’s best to contact the park for current road conditions.
During winter micro-spikes are extremely helpful for traction. Sometimes even snow-shoes if there has been a recent storm. Due to the popularity of this lake in the winter, the trail usually gets packed down pretty quickly though.
Fall Hike to Dream Lake Video