Bear Lake to Fern Lake Trailhead is a 8.2 mile lightly trafficked point-to-point trail located near Estes Park, CO that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from June until October.
Start at Moraine Park Visitor Center or the Park & Ride shuttle bus parking area across from the Glacier Basin Campground. Ride the shuttle to Bear Lake, hike to the shuttle station nearest Fern Lake Trailhead and take the shuttle from their back to your start point. Take advantage of the free RMNP shuttle system to hike this point-to-point trail at an overall elevation loss. Hike through boulder fields and get some of the best views in the park, including Notchtop Mountain, Odessa Lake, Fern Lake, and Fern Falls.
We started at Bear Lake but somehow decided to take the hardest trail --Flattop. That was very hard, but so beautiful. We made it about 3/4 up the top of the mountain when we started to feel dizzy and the altitude really hit us. Coming from a very flat Miami, over 10,000 ft was challenging. Coming down, although much faster, was tricky since a lot of the trail was slippery from ice and snow. It was a gorgeous day, and we started with 30+ temperatures. But we began to peel off the layers of clothing as we built up a sweat from the hike.
Had we realized this was such a difficult trail, we would probably have opted for a more moderate one. But we're glad we did this one. The views are spectacular!
Unintentionally did this trail this past Sunday, and I don't think a more beautiful place exists than Odessa Lake. I was truly in awe of the cascading peaks surrounding the lake and the crystal clear, blue water. This is a hike that you will not regret and only the first 3.5 miles are up hill. Everything from the descent down to Odessa to Fern Lake is downhill. Be prepared for about a 9.5 mile hike!
We did this hike on 9/24/16. It snowed for a good portion, but it was beautiful. This was our first real Colorado hike (we moved here from Florida a little more than a month ago). The hike was tough sometimes, but for the most part, it was enjoyable. There was a lot of horse poop on the trail leading up to Fern Lake and beyond. And this hike can be pretty rocky at times, but it was worth it.
This is a long trail with very rocky path. Sights are OK but not worth hard effort. I will never do this hike again.
Amazing hike showcasing beautiful lakes and peaks
This was worth every second. The views are spectacular and we even saw a moose!
Fun, diverse trail with beautiful fall colors especially near the starting and end points.
Great trail. We came in mid-September and the weather was amazing. The terrain is diverse - with rock cliffs to forest and waterfalls. We had hoped to see wildlife along trail but it was an exceptionally busy year so maybe another time.
This was a hike that we are glad we accomplished. The incline to Helene lake is modest, but the decline down to Fern Lake, was the rockiest hikes Ive ever been on. Great views, and well worth the hike.
Absolutely one of my favorite trails. Completed twice this summer. Minimal traffic and spectacular views. If you have time, prior to Helene Lake, boulder thru to the left of the trail .15 mi by the Sourdough campsite to get a view of Two River Lakes and Marigold Pond.
Joe Mills Mtn cliff crossing is awesome down to the stunning Odessa Lake. Found several species of Mushrooms and Wildflowers. On down to the beautiful Fern Lake and on to Fern Falls.
My favorite hike! Spectacular views near Lake Helene, and at Odessa Lake and Fern Lake. You have to go off the main trail a bit to get to Odessa Lake, but it is very much worth it. There's often snow on this trail, even in the Summer, so check with a Ranger at Bear Lake before attempting the hike or you may have to turn back.