One of the best winter hikes in the Rocky Mountains National Park leads to a beautiful lake that’s completely frozen over during the winter time. The hike is considered moderate, is a 4 miles out-and-back trail, and quite popular during November and December. Here’s how you can get there.
P.S.Remember to check the Rocky Mountain National Park website for reports on snowfall to make sure you get the full experience when you head to the lakes. You don’t want to head over at a time where the lake is covered in snow, which means you can’t skate. Also, parking costs $25 per vehicle unless you have a National Park pass.
The shortest route is to head out from Bear Lake, which is about a 2 hour drive from Denver and has a convenient place to park. The hike from Bear Lake to Lake Haiyaha is about 40 minutes and if you’re headed there in the winter, bring snowshoes or spikes if you want to be extra prepared (and depending on the snow during your visit) and prepare for some of the signs to be covered by snow as well.
You’ll hit two other lakes before Lake Haiyaha, Dream and Emerald, which are lower in elevation, more popular, and blusteringly windy on a cold winter day. Lake Haiyaha is 1.5 miles further than Emerald, steeper, and less traversed. If you make it all the way, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views, less crowds, and possibly see some elk on your way out.
For the truly brave, don your skates and head out onto the frozen alpine lake where you can glide along with the backdrop of the gorgeous snow-capped rockies behind you. How’s that for a winter bucket list activity?