Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Elevation Gain
?
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
3.90 mi (6.28 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

With just under 800 feet of elevation gain in 4 miles, this trail represents a moderately difficult climb, but it yields unparalleled views of Chaos Canyon dominated by the rugged 12,484-foot Otis Peak and the towering 12,713-foot Hallet Peak at its end. Twisted old limber pines (Pinus flexilis) and lodgepole speckle the hillsides amid massive granite boulders; it's purported that some of the oldest trees in the park dwell in this canyon.

Depending on the translation, "Haiyaha" is a Ute Native American word signifying "rock" or "big rock." The shoreline of this primitive subalpine lake is a challenge to negotiate, especially in inclement weather, but the views of the Continental Divide (marked by Otis and Hallet peaks) are uncontested and afford a privileged perspective on the glacial action that carved the canyon, depositing the behemoth boulders along the way.

Access to the trailhead is negotiated via Bear Lake Trailhead, which is known to experience heavy traffic in the height of tourist season. A free shuttle serves this trailhead, and it is advisable to utilize it as the parking lot fills by 7:30 a.m. 

The hike up to Lake Haiyaha shares a trail with that of Nymph, Dream, + Emerald Lakes, only splitting to the left a mere 100 yards from Dream Lake. 

Note: It is extremely important not to feed, approach, or disturb wildlife within the park. In particular, ground squirrels and chipmunks are common around Dream and Emerald Lakes and Lake Haiyaha, and despite their curiosity and the actions of other tourists, they should be left to enjoy their natural diet and feeding behavior.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Summer
Fall

Congestion

High

Parking Pass

National Park Pass

Pros

Alpine Lake. Panoramic vistas of Rocky Mountain National Park.

Cons

Extremely crowded during the summer. Limited parking.

Trailhead Elevation

9,480.00 ft (2,889.50 m)

Net Elevation Gain

750.00 ft (228.60 m)

Features

Rock climbing
Big vistas
Fishing

Typically multi-day

No

Location

Field Guide + Map

Nearby Lodging + Camping

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