Bear Lake Road
The Bear Lake Road leads south from Trail Ridge Road to Bear Lake, offering access to Glacier Basin and other areas along the way. This road is maintained and generally open all year. During the busy summer season, parking is often full at Bear Lake and other popular points. In such times the park offers free shuttles on Bear Lake Road.
Mile 0 – Trail Ridge Road
Bear Lake Road begins at its intersection with Trail Ridge Road.
Mile 1.2 – Moraine Park Museum
The Moraine Park Museum is on the left. There are natural history exhibits, a half mile nature trail, and a bookstore.
Mile 1.3 – Moraine Park Campground
The access road to Moraine Park Campground is on the right. This is a very large and popular campground. For more on all Rocky Mountain campgrounds, see Rocky Mountain Camping.
Mile 3.6 – Hollowell Park Road
The road passes by the side road to Hollowell Park.
Mile 5.0 – Glacier Basin Campground, Shuttle Parking
The Glacier Basin Campground is on the left. To the right is the parking area for the shuttle system. To access the Glacier Basin and Bear Lake Trailheads, whose parking lots are often full, these shuttles offer the best way to access them.
Mile 5.6 – Sprague Lake
The Sprague Lake area is on the left. The well-constructed Sprague Lake Trail encircles the lake, allowing great views. The best views, with the mountains in the background, are from the back portion of the trail. For more on the trail, see Rocky Mountain Hiking.
Mile 6.5 – Storm Pass Trailhead
The road passes by the Storm Pass Trailhead. This is a steep 4.5 mile hike that leads to Storm Pass, then descends almost a mile to Moore Park.
Mile 6.7 – Bierstadt Lake Trailhead
A parking area is on the right for the Bierstadt Lake Trailhead. This hike is usually a little less crowded than the popular lake destinations near the end of the road.
Mile 8.2 – Glacier Gorge Trailhead
The road goes by the large (but not large enough) parking area for the Glacier Gorge Trailhead. This is one of the most heavily used trailheads in the park, leading to such top destinations as Mills Lake, Black Lake, the Loch, and Alberta Falls, shown to the left. During peak season you’ll likely need to ride the shuttle to this trailhead due to lack of parking. For more on the short hike to Alberta Falls, see Rocky Mountain Hiking.
Mile 9.2 – Bear Lake
The road ends at the massive Bear Lake parking area. As large as it is, it will likely be full in the summer months from mid-morning to late afternoon. Use of the shuttle is probably necessary. The short and relatively easy Bear Lake Trail encircles the lake, making it an extremely popular area. Several longer hikes also start from here, including the outstanding four lake hike to Emerald Lake.