Day Hike to Dream Lake and Lake Haiyaha

Yesterday, we hiked to a couple of lakes we haven’t fished in a while. Starting at the Bear Lake Parking Lot, [9,449 ft.] we took the shortcut trail up to Nymph Lake. This old trail follows the path of the pipeline between the upper cistern and the old Bear Lake Lodge. Though shorter, this steep path is difficult hiking and is unmaintained with lots of loose rock.

This shortcut trail joins the main trail at Nymph Lake. Nymph is a barren shallow lake and freeze-kills every winter. From here the trail heads steadily upward to Dream Lake [9,900 ft.] Though populated with hybrid greenback cutthroat trout, we rarely fish there due to the number of visitors that enjoy this lake, only 1.1 miles from the parking lot. We made a few casts and caught a few trout, but later in the afternoon, as weather threatened, we left.

Approaching Dream Lake the trail to Lake Haiyaha [10,220 ft.] climbs along a traverse above Dream Lake. Some of the most spectacular views of Mills Lake and the west side of Longs Peak are found here. From these overlooks, the trail descends to Lake Haiyaha, crossing Chaos Creek, named for the glacier at the upper end of Chaos Canyon, above the lake. This canyon was the scene of a massive landslide earlier this summer which caused the crystal clear water in Lake Haiyaha to become cloudy and take on a Jade green color. We were curious about the cutthroat population there but while fishing the outlet stream we found a few feeding fish. The main trail ends in a boulder pile by an ancient limber pine. If you plan to fish Haiyaha, we find water access is better by bushwacking up the north side of Chaos Creek to the lake. We’re plan to check it out again next summer after some of the glacial till has settled.

We’re glad we went when we did as a cold front arrived last night bringing temperatures in the 40’s today with more rain forecast for the weekend. We had a beautiful day in the high country and both of us released trout but, as usual, Kim caught more.

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