Bear Lake Trailhead is a good place to start your day at Rocky Mountain National Park as it is in the South side of the Park. While we were there rangers did not allow cars to drive down to the trailhead area after 9 am. Luckily we arrived early and managed to get one of the last parking spaces, so we didn't have to waste time waiting for a shuttle. We did the hike to Nymph, Dream, and Emerald Lakes, which is a fairly easy hike (1.8 miles each way with some elevation gain). Once you get to Emerald Lake, take the time to enjoy the scenery and have a snack before heading back. While also in the area, also check out Alberta Falls, another relatively short hike (0.6 miles each way). We did not hike around Bear Lake, but based on pictures I've seen, it looks like any other mountain lake.
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