Visit Lake Haiyaha in Rocky Mountain National Park Now

If you’ve been to Lake Haiyaha before summer 2022… you need to go back! The color of the lake is completely different and no one knows how long it will remain the magical turquoise color.

Why is Lake Haiyaha a different color now? How did this happen?

A rockfall event on the South Slope of Hallet Peak on June 28, 2022 caused rocks to slide into Upper Chaos Canyon with Lake Haiyaha just below it. This event transported a lot of glacial silt into Lake Haiyaha which creates that milky turquoise blue color

Timed entry reservations are required until Oct 10 – make sure you select the option with Bear Lake Corridor Road. Check back next year for 2023 dates, but that means you can go now without reservations – just check the weather reports!

HIKE TO: Lake Haiyaha
TRAIL: Nymph Lake Trail > Emerald Lake Trail > Lake Haiyaha Trail
TRAILHEAD: Bear Lake Trailhead
MILES: 2.74 miles out and back
TIME: 1.5 hrs
DATE I WENT: 9/8/22 
DIFFICULTY: easy
ELEVATION: 10,228 ft
ELEVATION GAIN: 691 ft
HIKE PERMIT: no
PARK PERMIT: yes - I recommend getting an annual National Parks Pass
PARK RESERVATIONS: required from May - Oct
LOCATION: Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

The hike to lake Haiyaha is short and easy for all levels. I visited Rocky Mountain National Park during the busy season when reservations are required but you won’t have to deal with the annoyances of permits, parking and shuttles now like I did. But if you’re planning a trip for next summer, this next bit may help.

It gets very crowded in the summer months and there is a shuttle system in place for overflow parking to easily access the Bear Lake Trailhead – the shuttle comes often and the ride is short, only about 2-3 stops.

We started our hike at 10:26 am and within 10 mins, we passed Nymph Lake which was incredible to see with lilypad-like leaves floating along the edge of the lake. The trail goes through the forest and along the edge of the mountains so there is plenty of shade and although it is only <2 miles one way on a very crowded trail, the hike still provides a feeling of wandering in the wilderness.

Once you reach Lake Haiyaha, there are a lot of large boulders you can sit on for a snack to enjoy the views of Hallet Peak. Since it is a popular trail, you may want to get away from the crowds but still be by the water – walk around to the east end of the lake (your right side when staring at Hallet Peak) and cross some logs and rocks at the end of the lake to find some solitude.

With very little elevation gain overall and epic views of Rocky Mountain National Park along the way, this hike is perfect for the whole family!

This trail also splits off to Dream Lake which I’ve been wanting to see for years, but since I was short on time to catch my flight out the same day, we didn’t have time to stop there as I wanted to soak up as much time at Lake Haiyaha as I could.

Thanks for reading! Would love to hear any questions or recommendations in the comment section below 🙂

& please don’t forget to practice leave no trace!

Other Colorado Hikes You Might Like:

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    If you’ve been to Lake Haiyaha before summer 2022… you need to go back now! The color of the lake is completely different and no one knows how long it will remain the magical turquoise color.
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