Trailhead: Bear Lake (Rocky Mountain National Park)
Distance: 4.4 miles (easy)
We woke up on Saturday morning with a half-plan: skip a big breakfast, tear down camp, and get to the park-n-ride as quick as possible. I was between a couple different hikes, but ended up deciding on Bierstadt Lake because it had been two years since we last hiked it! We had no trouble finding a spot in the lot, but the line for the shuttle was CRAZY! We had to wait for 6 buses to come through before we got on. I ended up in the back between two groups I didn’t know, but they were so nice & I shared my favorite hikes from the Glacier Gorge trailhead with them (and also gave them a cursory overview of how one backpacks in the park)!
When we finally made it to Bear Lake, we were starting to count the time we had left before we needed to be back at the car. With Sam coming in and us having no cell service, I wanted to be sure we were at the campground before him, which meant being back to the car no later than 12:30. By the time we got started, it was 10 am...it felt a little like we were pushing our luck, so we didn’t stop to take many pictures along the way.
The trail from Bear Lake is significantly less steep than the trail up from the Park n Ride or the Bierstadt Lake trailhead. Watching the people struggle up from the Park n Ride trail (it is INSANELY steep in that direction) made us so grateful that three years ago I overheard that Ranger telling a family to take it from Bear Lake. If you are ever planning on hiking this trail, I would definitely recommend taking it this direction instead of the other. Plus, you can do a point to point hike and end up directly at your car!