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 milky blue green turquoise color.
Do you need a pass for Lake Haiyaha?
Rocky Mountain National Park requires timed entry reservations from May 26 – Oct 22, 2023 – make sure you select the option with Bear Lake Corridor Road.
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
Lake Haiyaha is just one of the many alpine lake hikes near Denver, CO but it should be at the top of your summer bucket list!
Why is Lake Haiyaha so blue now? How is it a different color than before?
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
How long is the Lake Haiyaha hike?
According to the NPS site, it’s 4.2 miles out and back; however, my GPS tracker marked it as 2.74 miles round trip, and the Caltopo maps tracked it at 3.2 miles. Regardless, it is a relatively short hike that can be done in less than three hours total but leave some time to enjoy the lake.
How hard is the hike to Lake Haiyaha?
The hike is short and easy for all levels. I visited Rocky Mountain National Park during the busy season when reservations are required from May through October. If you’re planning a trip to visit Rocky Mountain National Park in the summer, this next bit may help.
Lake Haiyaha Trailhead
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.
Lake Haiyaha Trip Report
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 view 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 and Emerald Lake which are only an extra 0.7 miles one way. Dream Lake is literally just around the corner from the trail junction so drop by!
First time visiting Rocky Mountain National Park? Get a self-driving audio tour!
Places to Stay Near Rocky Mountain National Park
- Stanley Hotel – this hotel was the inspiration for Stephen King’s The Shining
- Coyote Mountain Lodge – nice and clean rooms in Estes Park, CO. Pet-friendly, includes breakfast, parking, wifi, AC, and hot tub.
- Grand Lake Lodge – located along Grand Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park, this lodge is surrounded by a lot of historic sites and landscape. It’s pet-friendly, has free wifi and parking, clean, and close to horseback riding, hiking and biking trails.
- Swiftcurrent Lodge and Cottages by the River – private rustic cottages with secluded outdoor spaces located near the entrance of RMNP. Barbeque grill included.
Things to do near Estes Park, CO
- Guided full-day hiking tour in Rocky Mountain National Park from Denver
- Wildlife Tour in Rocky Mountain National Park
- E-Bike tour of Estes Park
Things to do in Denver, CO
- Take a Denver Food Tour and enjoy the delicious taste of CO
- Soar through the Rocky Mountains on a Zipline Adventure
- Take an Intro to Outdoor Rock Climbing Course
Other Colorado Hikes You Might Like:
- Nederland Colorado: 19 Best Things To Do & Ultimate GuideNederland is a charming town in Colorado just 30 mins north of Boulder. There’s many things to do such as hiking, camping, skiing, visiting breweries, ghost towns, carousels, and more. Read for the 19 best things to do.
- The Best Denver Airport Travel Tip You Need to Know to Skip Long Security Wait Lines: DEN ReserveDEN Reserve is a new program at DIA that allows general travelers to skip the long TSA lines by reserving a designated time slot at security. If you’re traveling out of Colorado from your Rocky Mountain adventures, this travel hack will save you a lot of time at the airport.
- Mount Bierstadt: Guide to Hiking an Easy Colorado 14erMount Bierstadt is considered one of the easiest 14ers in Colorado and but the West Slope still gains about 2400 ft in 3.6 miles one way. There’s also cool mountain goast on this trail!
- Hike to Dream Lake and Emerald Lake in Rocky Mountain National ParkDream Lake hike in Rocky Mountain National Park is a picturesque one mile hike. An extra half a mile will lead you to Emerald Lake.
- Things to Do in Manitou Springs, Colorado in a DayManitou Springs is a charming little town near Colorado Springs. It’s known for the Manitou Incline, Sunwater Spa, and Garden of the Gods. Learn more about how to soak in the mineral hot tubs, reservations and parking for the incline, and hiking trails in Garden of the Gods.
Booking travel soon?
Please consider using my affiliate links below. It costs nothing additional for you but helps me maintain the ever-increasing costs of running a travel blog:
Book your flights here.
Book your accommodations here on Expedia, Booking.com, Hotels.com, and VRBO.
Book your car rentals here.
Book your tours here.
Book your travel insurance here.