|A Return to Estes Park, part 3|
by Stormy on August 10, 2008
Hundreds of miles of trails crisscross the Rocky Mountain National Park. Each one is unique in some way and each one leads to an adventure.
On Sunday we opted for a shorter hike. Joining me on the hike were all marmots in attendance – Snow, Spruce, Squirrely, Stoney and Summer. We decided to do the Haiyaha/Glacier Knobs loop.
Once again we started out at the Bear Lake Trailhead, this time heading south instead of north. We hiked up to Nymph Lake, which is always a phenomenally beautiful location, then up to Dream Lake. Dream Lake was actually a bit of a detour from our planned hike, but we couldn't come up with an excuse not to go a couple hundred yards out of our way to visit this beautiful lake.
The Bear Lake-Nymph Lake-Dream Lake-Emerald Lake trail is a hike through Tyndall Gorge, just short of two miles long one way, and is one of the most popular hikes in the park due to the beauty of the lakes on the trail. We didn't venture all the way the Emerald Lake, but for anyone who visits this area, I strongly recommend this hike.
From Dream Lake we headed up to Lake Haiyaha, hidden in Chaos Canyon, between Tyndall Gorge and Loch Vale Gorge. The hike up to Haiyaha from Dream Lake follows along a steep drop-off and offers beautiful views of Prospect Canyon and Glacier Gorge. Haiyaha is an Indian word that means Big Rocks and the name does not disappoint. A huge boulder field opens into Lake Haiyaha with boulders the size of houses sticking out of the water.
After a break at Haiyaha we continued south along an unimproved and less often used trail that cuts across to Loch Vale between Glacier Knobs. At the junction with the Loch trail we headed east, back towards Bear Lake, passing by Alberta Falls and re-entering the high tourist density area of the park. It started to rain pretty hard while we were on this segment of the hike and we made only a cursory pause at Alberta Falls and Glacier Junction before returning to Bear Lake in pouring rain. It was amazing to see how many tourists were attempting to hike in this area without the appropriate weather gear.
The hike is six and a half miles long and is a very pleasant walk with a lot of beautiful sights to take in. It's probably an intermediate hike due to the distance and drops and gains in elevation, but if you're up to it, you won't be disappointed!