Winter Hiking In Colorado - Dream Lake & Alberta Falls

Winter Hiking In Colorado - Dream Lake & Alberta Falls

 

Dream Lake Trail
Trail Length
: 2 Miles Round Trip
Trail Type: Out & Back
Elevation Gain: 410 feet
Difficulty: Easy
Dog Friendly: No

Click here for directions to the Dream Lake Trailhead

Alberta Falls Trail
Trail Length
2 Miles Round Trip
Trail Type: Out & Back
Elevation Gain: 219 feet
Difficulty: Easy
Dog Friendly: No

Click here for directions to the Alberta Falls Trailhead


​Finding a hike with good conditions in the winter can be a daunting task. You find yourself endlessly scrolling through All Trails, changing filter settings to maybe find a hike with a recent review. Or better yet, you do some Google searches for winter hikes in Colorado only to find the hikes you've already done. We are here to help and offer winter hiking trail suggestions for those of you looking to get out into nature. Rocky Mountain National Park is a good go to when looking for winter hikes, especially Dream Lake and Alberta Falls. These trailheads are located at the Bear Lake Trailhead which is extremely popular in Rocky Mountain National Park. Due to its year round popularity, it is recommended you get there early to secure yourself a parking spot. In the summer, there are shuttles running from the lower lots to the Bear Lake Trailhead, but those are unavailable in the winter.

Dream Lake Sunrise - Photo Credit: @markonthemove
Beginning with Dream Lake, this is an simple stroll for your average hiker. There isn't much elevation gain, the snow is packed the entire way up to the lake, and common winter gear like crampons, micro spikes, and trekking poles are not necessary. Regular hiking boots will suffice and getting to the lake won't require too much effort. If you want some extra traction micro spikes never hurt, especially when hiking in snowy conditions. If you have micro spikes or crampons and want to walk on the lakes, we recommended you bring them. There are a few good lookout points on the way up to Dream Lake if you are looking for photography spots. One of the lookouts offer a higher view of Nymph Lake as well as the valley, which offers great sunrise and sunset photographic opportunity  Winter conditions usually cause high winds up at Dream Lake so keep that in mind. Once up to Dream Lake, you are greeted by Hallett Peak and Flattop Mountain from the east side of the lake. These picturesque mountains offer outstanding views and great photo backdrops. Again, your micro spikes or crampons will give you extra traction if you want to walk on the lakes but be careful! When taking pictures on the east side of Dream Lake my foot fell all the way through into the water so just beware that the ice can be thin in spots!
 
Moving on to Alberta Falls, this feature offers serene beauty not only in the summer, but the winter too. The falls are frozen over completely for most of the winter, but water continues to run under the ice which makes for a unique sight.
A Frozen Alberta Falls - Photo Credit: @markonthemove ​​
The hike begins from the Bear Lake Trailhead like the Dream Lake Trail, make sure you get there early to secure yourself a paring spot. The trail is simple with some ups and downs but nothing major. Since Alberta Falls is so close to the trailhead the snowpack will be firm and  winter hiking gear won't be necessary. The trail winds through pine forests and aspen groves until you reach Alberta Falls. In the summer, the falls are 30 feet tall, but are about half that heigh in winter due to the freezing. In the winter, the entire riverbed is frozen over, so you have the option of viewing the falls from there, or from above. If you are a fan of winter, the falls are just as picturesque in winter as they are in summer!
Article author was not me but rather Mark Munson. For more of Marks powerful work visit https://www.markonthemove.us/

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