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Rocky Mountain National Park: Dream Lake Sunrise Hike

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Activity: Hike to Dream Lake

Date Visited: 3/6/16

Trailhead: Bear Lake Trailhead

Mileage: 2.2 out-and-back

Dream Lake is a heavily photographed sunrise spot in Rocky Mountain National Park and it is easy to see why: it is only a 2.2 mile out-and-back hike and the lake is surrounded by picturesque mountains that are lit up by beautiful alpenglow during sunrise.

We arrived to the Bear Lake trailhead around 5:30am. When we got out of the car we were buffeted by the wind. The previous night had been a windy one and it seemed the wind still hadn't died down so I bundled up. I regretted this decision after we started our hike to Dream Lake and I was sweating after only a few steps. We used our snowshoes but they weren't necessary, ICEtrekkers would have sufficed just fine. The snowshoes made the hike more slow going than it would have been otherwise and we stopped a few times along the way to take pictures from panoramic viewpoints. By the time we arrived to Dream Lake the faces of the surrounding mountains were illuminated by alpenglow and a slew of more punctual photographers had taken all the "best" vantage points. Alex and I quickly took off our snowshoes and unpacked our gear and I was able to capture a few images before the alpenglow was gone.  

Sunrise over Nymph Lake en route to Dream Lake

Sunrise over Nymph Lake en route to Dream Lake

We spent about a half an hour at Dream Lake. It was cold and the wind made it even more bitter but the spot was beautiful and we did our best to keep the cold at bay so we could enjoy the scenery. There is also the option to continue on another 0.7 miles from Dream Lake to Emerald Lake but we had to make it to the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center to pick up a backcountry permit and we didn't want to be late so we didn't continue onwards. Just another hike to add to the list for next time!  

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See more photos from my adventures in Rocky Mountain National Park HERE!