If you’re chasing breathtaking mountain vistas and serene water reflections, look no further than the alpine lakes near Estes Park. Located in Rocky Mountain National Park, these lakes offer stunning views, invigorating hikes, and a taste of untouched wilderness. Here’s a list of our favorite alpine lakes that promise to make your hiking experience unforgettable.


Bear Lake

Distance: 0.6 miles (loop)

Elevation Gain: Minimal

Difficulty: Easy

Bear Lake is the perfect introduction to alpine splendor. Just a short, flat walk from the trailhead, this glacially-carved lake offers panoramic views of Flattop Mountain and Hallett Peak. It’s accessible year-round and is particularly enchanting during the winter months when the lake is frozen over. Early mornings or late afternoons are the best times to visit for a tranquil experience.


Emerald Lake

Distance: 3.6 miles (round trip)

Elevation Gain: 650 feet

Difficulty: Moderate

Emerald Lake is a gem tucked between dramatic mountain peaks. The trail passes by both Nymph Lake and Dream Lake, providing a triple treat of alpine beauty. The clear waters of Emerald Lake reflect the jagged peaks of Hallett and Flattop, making it a photographer’s dream. Expect to be mesmerized by the changing hues of the lake as the sun moves across the sky.


Dream Lake

Distance: 2.2 miles (round trip)

Elevation Gain: 450 feet

Difficulty: Moderate

Dream Lake, true to its name, offers a surreal experience with its crystal-clear waters and surrounding pine forests. The trail to Dream Lake is relatively short and sweet, with rewarding views that make it a popular hike. Winter visitors will find the lake iced over, creating a magical winter wonderland.


Mills Lake

Distance: 5.4 miles (round trip)

Elevation Gain: 700 feet

Difficulty: Moderate

Mills Lake provides a serene escape with its stunning mountain backdrop and calm waters. The trail to Mills Lake is moderately challenging, winding through forests and alongside streams, with Alberta Falls offering a picturesque halfway point.


Sky Pond

Distance: 8.5 miles (round trip)

Elevation Gain: 1,710 feet

Difficulty: Hard

For those seeking a bit more adventure, Sky Pond is a must-hike. The journey to Sky Pond involves passing by the stunning Glass Lake and climbing a short rock scramble near Timberline Falls. This challenging hike is rewarded with breathtaking views of Sky Pond, cradled among rugged cliffs and high peaks.


Stay at Rocky Mountain Resorts

After exploring the alpine lakes near Estes Park, Rocky Mountain Resorts is the ideal choice for lodging in the area after enjoying great picnics in Estes Park. We offer a variety of accommodations ranging from cozy cabins and cottages to large and spacious vacation homes. In addition, guests enjoy the nightlife of downtown Estes Park and are less than a 10-minute drive from all that Rocky Mountain National Park has to offer. You truly have the best access to must-do Estes Park activities with a stay at Rocky Mountain Resorts! Book with us today.