Dream Lake Rocky Mountain National Park Engagement Session


I have lived in Colorado for 6 years. I moved here straight from Peru and opened my Colorado Wedding Videography business immediately. I have seen a lot of the world, including incredible spots like Patagonia, Chile and the Swiss Alps. However, Colorado’s beauty still takes my breath away. And Colorado’s sunrises are incredible. Last week, I took a couple to the best spot in Colorado for sunrise, Dream lake Rocky Mountain National Park.


Dream Lake, the best sunrise engagement spot in Colorado


Here are the top reasons I vote Dream Lake Rocky Mountain National Park as the best sunrise engagement spot.


  1. It requires very little hiking. You can reach the top of Dream Lake within about 30 minutes and only a mile hike.
  2. The hike is very easy. While there is a small incline, so wear good shoes, the hike is not strenuous. My 3 year old daughter did this hike. Most of my couples that are coming from sea level appreciate a hike like this since they are not acclimated to Colorado’s high altitude.
  3. The alpenglow is unreal. Weather depending, this mountain lake is positioned perfectly with the sunrise to create the most beautiful alpenglow. The alpenglow happens just moments before the sunrise. The sun begins to appear over the  hills and cast the first light on the breathtaking mountain.
  4. You have the option to go further to Emerald Lake. If after your sunrise session, you want to continue to another mountain lake, then consider hiking up to Emerald lake for a up-high view of lakes and mountains. 


The logistics of getting to Dream Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park


Dream Lake is located in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park. Unless you are camping, you will need to stay the night before in Estes Park. Estes Park is the cutest mountain town, with luxury hotels such as the infamous Stanley Hotel ( where Stephen King’s the Shining was based off of) and cute eateries. From your hotel in Estes Park, you will need to drive into the national park and pay your entrance fee. This is usually about $30.00. Then you will need to take the scenic road to Bear Lake Trailhead.


Bear Lake is right off the parking lot and here you will find a rangers station and bathrooms. However, the rangers station will be closed if you are coming for sunrise!


From Bear Lake, you take the one mile hike up to Dream Lake. Along the way you will see Nymph Lake. A pretty lake with lily pads and oftentime larger wildlife such as Moose.


As pretty as Nymph Lake is, don’t stop here. Continue up the small incline to Dream Lake! 


Quick Tips to Make the Sunrise!


Sunrise in the mountains is different than other landscapes. I highly recommend using apps and software such as google earth to help you pinpoint the exact time of the sunrise. Also, remember, you will not want to be here just for the sunrise. The alpenglow is worth you arriving 15 minutes early! This is when you get that red glow on the mountains!


A few more reminders! Bring plenty of water, snacks and headlamps! Also, hand warmers and hats are a must! It can get cold at 4am!


Haley and Jason’s sunrise engagement session at Dream Lake


Haley and Jason are having an October elopement in Denver. However, not being from Colorado, they wanted to have some epic mountain views for their final film. I suggested they booked me for an adventure session to Rocky Mountain National Park. They liked the idea of a sunrise engagement so I suggested Dream Lake. Since they didn’t want a long hike, I explained for the reasons above, that Dream Lake was the best sunrise engagement spot in Colorado.  


We woke up around 2AM. Haley did her own hair and makeup. She looked incredible. I however, had my 2am tiny eyes and hair pulled in a not-so-cute messy bun. We all met at 3AM and began our short, 30 minute drive, to Rocky Mountain National Park. 


When we arrived at the trailhead of Bear Lake, we were amazed with how beautiful and bright the stars are. Since most of us live in a populated area with lights, we don’t have the chance to see incredible stars and the milky way like this. 


We completed the hike in 25 minutes. We had plenty of time to enjoy a hot cup of coffee before the alpenglow began. Haley and Jason teased how fun it would be to see a bear ( from afar haha) and so I gifted them some souvenir coffee mugs to take home as a memory of their fun adventure.


The alpenglow was spectacular and the 2 am wake up call was worth it. I think if you asked Haley and Jason they would agree that Dream Lake is the best engagement spot in Colorado.


Here are some photos of their engagement session at Dream Lake Rocky Mountain National Park. All their video footage will be revealed in their final film! It will be epic so stay tuned!


If you are looking for a wedding videographer for your elopement or small wedding, give me a call. I offer full planning for my eloping couples from location to honeymoon!


See you at sunrise!


Whitney Milton



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Dream Lake RMNP