A two year reconstruction project covering 5.1 miles of Bear Lake Road from its intersection with Trail Ridge Road to the Park & Ride at Glacier Basin was in full swing this last summer and will continue through the summer in 2013. Bear Lake Road was originally completed in 1928 and no major road work has taken place on the lower section for more than 80 years.
The new road alignment is now in operation and makes for an easier winter drive up to Bear Lake, however, from May 28 thru July 19 it is closed to private vehicles from 9am to 4pm on weekdays (Shuttle Buses only). Private vehicles will be allowed in both directions prior to 9am and after 4pm, and all day on weekends, and will be allowed to leave throughout the day. Expect at least two 20-minute delays in both directions through the construction area.
Bear Lake Road runs between Upper Beaver Meadows and Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park. Along the way you will pass hiking trails, picnic areas, campgrounds, the Moraine Park Museum and Sprague Lake.
There is a large picnic area at Sprague Lake (elevation 8710 feet), portable rest rooms, a stable, and a wheelchair-rated trail around the lake. The view to the west from just around the curve of the trail is fabulous.
The road ends in the Bear Lake parking lot. Park your car and walk the few yards to the famous lake. There are rest rooms a few yards from the parking lot for summer visitors.
Several popular trails begin at Bear Lake. Some are short and moderate hiking for families with younger children, while others are more strenuous. The trail circling the lake is easy, and photographic opportunities abound around the clear, smooth waters of the beautiful lake.
At an altitude of 9475 feet, Bear Lake freezes in the winter. Cross country skiers take advantage of the snow-covered lake and trails. Tubers hike across the lake and up the mountainside for a fast descent back down and across the lake. Bear Lake Road is plowed during the winter, but may be closed for clearing after significant snowfall. Please call (970) 586-1206 for current conditions.
Traffic can be heavy during the summer months and parking may be difficult to find. There is a shuttle parking lot (Park & Ride) on the Bear Lake Road where you can park, and take the shuttle bus to and from the lake. The shuttle runs during the summer months only.