Friday, June 1, 2012


Wednesday, May 30th was not a day of rest! We decided to drive down Bear Lake Road to the end and see Bear Lake and make the climb to see three lakes: Nymph Lake, Dream Lake and  Emerald Lake. We had another absoutely gorgeous day in which to do this. Blue skies, low 70s with a little bit of a breeze in the lowlands (7800 ft.) at our Moraine Campground.

Bear Lake Road is under construction and is a two year project. We had to wait for a lead truck to get us through that portion and then we finished our journey to Bear Lake. We took a quick look at Bear Lake itself and decided that we would hike around it after we did the trek to  Emerald Lake. The elevation at Bear Lake is 9,475 ft. at the trail head.

The guide book states that this is a "moderate" hike with some steep sections and it gave us the elevations to each of them. From the 9475 ft at the trailhead, we climbed another 250ft up over .5 miles to Nymph Lake which is the smallest of the three.

Nymph Lake
 It is early in the season and we were not too surprised to see some snow on the side of the trails. The trail was well maintained and fairly easy up to this point.

To continue to Dream Lake, the trail became a little bit steeper rising a total of 425 feet from the beginning of the trail over an accumulation of 1.1 miles. This section brought more snow, but this time on the trail itself. The air was thinner and we stopped more often to catch our breath.
Tim on Path to Dream Lake

Dream Lake..Incredible sight!
Path to Emerald Lake..the snow got deeper!

Looking Back Down the Trail Leading Up to Emerald Lake

Emerald Lake was the piece de resistance. The trail to it was less than that. We reached the lake after hiking a total of 1.8 miles up an incline with a total gain of 605 ft. The last part of the trail was the steep part which they had mentioned in the guide. I have to say though it was well worth the hike! I know the word "awesome" is overused these days, but it really was awesome. Flat Top Mountain (elevation 12,234 ft) and Hallets Peak were snow covered and majestic. It felt like you could almost reach out and touch them. It was a bit colder at this elevation-10080ft.- and quite windy. Once you got there, you forgot the climb! I think Mesa Verde was a practice session for the Rocky Mountains!
Emerald Lake
We made it!

We each used walking sticks on the way up, and I used both of them on the way down. Much easier to descend steep elevations so that all of the pressure is  not on your knees. The round trip took us 3 hours. Sounds like a lot for a round trip of 3.6 miles, but the terrain was not your normal Sun City nature walk!

The three lakes were pristine and extremely picturesque. There were  a few folks fishing and Tim regretted not bring his tackle with him.He thinks he'll go back another day and do the climb to Dream Lake and give it a try.

After lunch, we did hike around Bear Lake which is an easy .5 mile walk. We were going to do the Alberta Falls hike too, but we decided we had enough for the day. We drove to see Sprague Lake on the way home and then we stopped at a stream where Tim got some fishing practice in again!

We had a fire in the evening and enjoyed the snow covered mountain views from our campsite in the cool, crisp mountain air. "Day is done...gone the sun..." A perfect ending to a perfect day.

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