Bear Lake to Emerald Lake
(4 miles, +700/-700 feet).
Yesterday we moved from Grand Lake on the west side of Rocky National Park to Estes Park on the east. There are definitely a lot more people on this side, which makes sense since we are so close to Denver. We tried to get out very early to beat the crowds.
The Emerald Lake trail goes by a series of lakes, the first of which is Nymph Lake.
The trail then climbs up to the aptly-named Dream Lake.
At Dream Lake we spied a mature elk. When he saw us, he stuck out his tongue at us!
The elk wasn’t frightened of us, so the kids sat down to watch it for a while.
Finally, we made our way up to Emerald Lake. In spite of it being so close to a very popular trailhead, we were practically by ourselves and it was really beautiful.
We took a good long break to enjoy the scene, and then we made our way back down. By the time we got back to Bear Lake there were dozens of people milling around. We were glad we got an early start.