Haiyaha. That’s an interesting name. And while there’s no information about the origin of the name, the trail to Lake Haiyaha in Rocky Mountain National Park was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2008.
The summer trail starts at the very popular Bear Lake Trailhead. Walk a few steps from the parking lot and you’ll come to a sign directing visitors to several attractions. Before you start this hike, turn right and walk a few steps to the shoreline of Bear Lake. That rocky mountain with the funky shape up there? That’s Hallet Peak. While you’re not going to the peak, you are going to two lakes in its shadow.
After a photo stop, go back to the trail split and go the opposite direction. The sign here says Lake Haiyaha is 2.2 miles away. Just a few steps away is a second trail split. A sign here directs hikers to the right for Lake Haiyaha. Now you’ll start climbing uphill.
As you hike the path here, you may notice some asphalt. While park officials don’t know when the path was paved, they are allowing it to disintegrate.
“The pavement is bumpy, inconsistent and not new,” the park said in its application for the National Register of Historic Places.
It’s just about a half mile hike to Nymph Lake. Nymph is a small lake that is covered with lily pads in late summer. As you walk around the shoreline, you’ll get another look at scenic Hallet Peak in the distance.
The trail winds around the lake, then begins climbing several stairs. About a third of a mile from Nymph Lake, you may spot an overlook. It’s nothing official. Just a big rocky outcropping on the side of the trail but there are nice views at this spot.
After a photo or three, hike another 0.25 mile to a trail split. A sign here says Lake Haiyaha is on the trail to your left. However, turn right and take that trail just a tenth of a mile to beautiful Dream Lake. Dream Lake sits in a valley below Hallet Peak and is beautiful. This is a great spot to take photos. Then head back to the trail split and continue on the Haiyaha Trail.
The Haiyaha Trail gets steeper here. The path soon leaves Tydall Gorge and turns into the Chaos Canyon drainage and winds along a cliffside as it heads to Lake Haiyaha reaching the lake about 2.25 miles from the trailhead, including the side trips to Bear Lake and Dream Lake. One warning, the last bit of trail before the lake can be difficult to follow and, be aware, the shore of the lake is mainly boulders. Chaos Canyon is also known for being quite windy.
When you’re done exploring and taking photos, return the way you came.
Details: The hike to Lake Haiyaha with detours for Bear Lake and Dream Lake is about 4.1 miles with 965 feet of elevation gain.
Important note: This trip report describes the summer trail to Lake Haiyaha. This trail is closed in the winter, due to the high avalanche danger. Check with the rangers for the latest conditions and information. (See photos of the lake in winter)
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