Hike to Lake Helene and Two Rivers Lake

Bear Lake Trailhead, Estes Park, Colorado, United States

  • Activities:

    Fishing, Photography, Snowshoeing, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Year Round

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    6.4 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    1200 Feet

Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Lake
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers

Visit two beautiful lakes in Rocky Mountain National Park and have captivating views of Notchtop Mountain, Little Matterhorn, and Flattop Mountain. Two Rivers Lake does not have a direct trail to it, so expect relative solitude. For those interested, you can continue hiking to Odessa and Fern Lakes or take an off-trail scamper to Joe Mills Mountain.

Begin the hike by following the Bear Lake trail and after ~.45 miles take the trail to the right towards Odessa Lake and Flattop Mountain. Continue along the trail as it climbs above Bear Lake to the split with the Flattop Mountain trail at approximately 1 mile. The trail continues toward Odessa Lake and will climb through forests and meadows along the way. Travel moderates to the Sourdough Campsite, crests, and drops to several unmarked trails on your left for Lake Helene. Each winds through the forest to the northeast shore of Lake Helene. Note the lake is partially concealed from the trail and spurs are fairly easy to miss. If you make a sharp hairpin turn north (right) and begin descending, you've gone too far.

Two Rivers Lake is near treeline just downstream of Lake Helene. It's aesthetically comparable (if not competitive) to Lake Helene, but sees much less traffic.Though easy to find on most maps, a thick forest and boulder field stand between the main trail and lake, making it difficult to reach. The To reach the lake it can be just as easy to walk north from Lake Helene for a few hundred yards through forest and meadows.

Pack List

  • A map
  • Compass
  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Appropriate footwear and clothing
  • A camera
Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Community Photos

+ Add Photos

Reviews

Overall rating: 

Leave a Review

Hiked on Sunday, December 10, 2017. Snow was well packed so snow shoes were not needed, traction would be helpful but I was fine in trail runners. Arrived at 10am and parking was easy (we parked at glacier gorge trailhead which is about a mile from bear lake). The views throughout the entire hike are spectacular, and the trail ranges from wide open to surrounded by trees. The elevation gain is very mild, most anyone would be fine to do this hike. As you near Lake Helene veer off to the right about 200 meters and you will be rewarded with a great view of Odessa lake. It’s windy and chilly at the lake as the sun falls behind the mountain but you will not be disappointed.

2 months ago
2 months ago

I was here in January 2017 right after a snowstorm came through, I made the trail in my snow shoes which was getting knee deep in areas for about 2 miles it felt like, it was a great experience the woods were so quiet and the trees were covered in snow! RMNP is nothing but beautiful in the winter time, it's great a hike though, the trail doesn't get strenuous or steep.

11 months ago
11 months ago

This is a really scenic spot. It's a really cool area and I'm always surprised there aren't more people here. Also consider exploring the area further west or go up to Lake Odessa nearby.

about 1 year ago
about 1 year ago

Eric Schuette Explorer

I love adventure and exploring. Currently a school psychologist who tries to spend my free-time hiking, climbing, fishing, and celebrating with a good beer in Colorado. On Instagram @ericschuettephotography Cheers!!!

Are we missing something? Suggest an edit

Nearby Adventures

Hike the Sugar Bowl Loop in Kings Canyon NP

Tulare County, California

First and foremost, to get to this trailhead you need to drive down a 2-mile, one lane dirt road that is quite steep.

6 Saves

Hike to Ehukai Pillbox

59178 Ke Nui Road, Hawaii

This hike starts directly across from Banzai Pipeline, the famous barreling wave at Ehukai Beach.

7 Saves

Winter Hike to Calypso Cascades

1046 County Highway 115, Colorado

While most people go snowshoeing near the Bear Lake or Glacier Gorge area in RMNP, Wild Basin is a much less trafficked option.

5 Saves