We hiked up Flattop Mountain to get to Hallett Peak. The elevation and steepness of the trail did cause me stop to take a few breaks along the way (although my hiking partner from Houston was fine). But I never felt like the hike wasn't something I couldn't complete.
About half the trail is above the tree line and we were hit with strong winds as soon as we reached that point. We were glad we wore pants and took jackets. I wore a hat but ended up taking it off when we were fully exposed on top of the mountain due to the wind. I could have used an ear warmer at the very top but was ok without it.
The views above the tree line are amazing though and worth the whole hike. We started around 7 am and saw one marmot on the way up but about a dozen on the way down. We saw two pika on the way down too. Towards the top we saw snow fields which was amazing to see in July to two Texas girls. Definitely take time at the top to soak in the views.
While rated moderate, the trail is well maintained. I had hiking boots but my hiking partner wore tennis shoes and had no problems.
Starting in the morning, it was still cool on top of the mountain for us, especially when we had the headwind. As far as food and nutrition, I used a camelbak with 2L capacity, 3 extra 16 oz bottles, a packet of Skratch Labs for one of the bottles, 2 Bonk Breaker bars and some beef jerky.
It started raining on us right as we reached the parking lot at about 1:30. There were definitely more people on the way up than down when we finished. I highly recommend starting early to avoid the crowds and the afternoon showers. We also saw a lot of people who only had a plastic water bottle for hydration who were struggling above the tree line. The sun is strong and if you don't start early you will feel it quick.
The Bear Lake/Nymph Lake/Dream Lake/Emerald Lake hike is the best way to see quintessential Rocky Mountains but if you have a few days or like to go off the beaten path I would definitely recommend this hike.
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