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In this side of the park, Alberta Falls is the entrance location to most trails. It’s very pretty, but there’s definitely a lot of foot traffic.

Whenever I go hiking, I zoom right by because there’s always so many people. The further back you get into the mountains, there’s (obviously) less and less people.

It’s pretty, but if you’re not into touristy, I’d stray.

hiking
15 days ago

If you can get off the beaten path in this area of Rocky, this is pretty close. Join up with hikes to other lakes and make a day of it. Beautiful!

on Fern Lake Trail

hiking
21 days ago

Amazing views and a beautiful hike!

I walked this trail 12/17/18 and it’s a beautiful trail. The trail was snow packed with patches of ice but easily trekked.

snowshoeing
29 days ago

We did this hike from the parking lot to the trail head (.7 miles) then to the pool and from there up to the falls. 90% of our hike was snow packed or ice at least 2-12 inches thick. Many people turned around because they were not equipped with ice grippers and could not get through the ice patches. You should not attempt this trail right now without them for your safety. You can rent them in town at great outdoors for $8. From the pool up to the falls requires grippers or snow shoes. Past the falls I highly suggest snow shoes. Snow as of 12/17 was 2+ feet deep. We didn't meet anyone that made it past that point due to the deepness of snow. Pack warm, sun was behind the mountain by 2pm and temps dropped coming down the mountain. Parking wasn't bad at all for a Monday. Beautiful hike and fairly easy up until you get to the falls trailhead which was very steep for the whole mile up.

hiked early morning 12/9. The hike to mills lake is a nice boot pack, crampons or microspikes reccomended. After mills lake, the trail mostly vanishes and its time to pull out the snowshoes. Great snowshoeing out to black lake. The views from the frozen lakes are astounding. Mild crowding on the way out to mills, very few after that. I would highly reccomend this trail, be ready for some pretty exhaustive snowshoeing the second half.

hiked early morning 12/9. The hike to mills lake is a nice boot pack, crampons or microspikes. After mills lake, the trail mostly vanishes and its time to pull out the snowshoes. Great snowshoing out to black lake, deffinitelty exhausting. the views from the frozen lakes is amazing. I would reccomend this trail, just be ready for some pretty exhaustive snowshoeing the second half.

hiking
1 month ago

First time hiking to Black Lake in winter. Trail from Bear Lake to Mills Lake was perfectly packed down, microspikes made it easy. The lake was frozen solid and it was so cool to walk straight across! Softer snow between Jewel Lake and Black -- changed to snowshoes about 20-30 min before reaching Black Lake after post-holing a few times. Luckily there were clear ski/snowshoe tracks to follow all the way. The distance between Jewel Lake and Black Lake always feels farther than it actually is. We walked around the shore of Black Lake to continue snowshoeing up to Blue Lake (used a GPS watch because we didn't see signs of a trail). SO worth it! The views from above the lake were stunning. Even better, Blue Lake was sheltered from wind making it a perfect spot for a snack break. Will definitely come back in the summer to find Green/Frozen and climb the Spearhead.
12.5 miles in 6.5 hours roundtrip

Was very gorgeous and I wanted to keep moving to black lake but there was nobody going up this direction today and I was hiking alone so to be safe I turned around here as I was alone. it was so gorgeous and didn't need my snowshoes untill I got to Mills lake then I put them on to walk the parameter of the frozen lake which was fun. will upload photos. also it was super windy but I didn't mind too much... the views made it worth it.

hiking
1 month ago

Completed this hike (+ a little extra) with my girlfriend in late summer. We did not set out with a definitive plan...got a late start, around 10am. We attempted to reach Green Lake after Black Lake, but turned around halfway (around 11,150ft) due to approaching storm clouds, and wanting to be back before dark.

Hard is an accurate rating, especially the last half-mile to Black Lake, and the extra mile we did after. I'm in moderate shape, and my girlfriend was visiting from sea level (her first hike above 10,000 ft!). We took a fair number of breaks for snacks and pictures...our Fitbits said 12 miles, 36,000 steps, in ~9 hours. The hike itself was not daunting, but we were exhausted by the end, and sore for a few days after.

Top pros were that the views were spectacular, and that the trail was mostly well marked. The exceptions are that we never saw the turn to Shelf Lake and Solitude Lake. We also completely lost the trail in the bolderfield between Black Lake and Green Lake, which contributed to our decision to turn-around.

The biggest con, and reason for not giving it a 5th star, was the heavy traffic up to Mills Lake. We even got stuck behind a lady talking on her cellphone for awhile. We chose to skip a number of attractions (i.e. Alberta Falls) to avoid, and try and surpass, the crowds. Fortunately, most people stopped at, or before, Mills Lake. We saw less than two dozen people between Mills Lake and our turnaround.

Overall an excellent hike that we hope to do again, next time with an earlier start, a better plan, and hopefully in a little better shape!

Super easy and super beautiful.

hiking
1 month ago

Hiked 12/3. The hike from bear lake to dream lake is our favorite in the park, regardless of the season. Today was no exception. We took snowshoes with and used them the whole time. The hike from the parking lot to dream lake could be easily done with micro spikes. From there to lake Haiyaha will require snowshoes in its current state. Less traffic on this trail and recent snow makes it loose, narrow and uneven in a lot of places. You’ll have to stay tight and inside in a lot of places to keep from sinking a falling down the ridge.

With caution, it’s very doable. We are not super experienced in snowy mountains and managed just fine. It’s worth the trip.

Great hike summer or winter will need spikes for sure

Nice pit stop on the way to black lake

Not to bad of a winter trail
Some ice

hiking
1 month ago

Nice moderate hike. The snow on the trail is well packed, microspikes were nice but not needed. Any travel off of the main trail (even by 1 foot) will need snowshoes.

Great view, really easy loop.

snowshoeing
1 month ago

Great beginning trail for snowshoeing! We went from the Bear Lake trailhead to make the trip a little longer, and it was beautiful and peaceful!

hiking
2 months ago

snowshoeing
2 months ago

Well kept easy trail to hike or snowshoe

hiking
2 months ago

I went sunday, 11/11/18. The final 0.6 miles of road was closed so the whole hike is about 9 miles round trip. It was absolutely gorgeous, it was snowing when I went, wasn't too bad till you get past Fern Falls, then it was about a foot of unpacked snow. If it's fresh snow, I'd recommend taking snowshoes, tho not completely necessary, I went in trailrunners and the whole thing was about 3 1/2 hours round trip, tho I may hike faster than average, I'd plan for probably 4 1/2 to 5 hours. Highly recommend it, especially in the snow, if possible, get the lodge at Fern Lake, that would be absolutely amazing to wake up to that!

Really pleasant lake. Only thing is you can park right next to hit so there's no hiking needed to arrive at the destinations. None the less, super beautiful!

hiking
2 months ago

Waterfall is currently iced up and slow flowing. Not one of the most exciting destinations to visit amongst the Rocky Mountain trails. Would recommend traversing past and head over to Mills Lake.

Beautiful even in snow-packed conditions. The falls are mostly frozen over right now, but there’s lots of easy trails in the area. Good grips on shoes (or traction clamps for shoes) would have made it easier, but still fun! And dress warm!!!

hiking
2 months ago

3 couples hiked it together in November 1st , there were several inches of snow on the ground and it was snowing the most big lovely flakes . The sun was peaking through and shinning off the water . How could I not give it a 5 star review ? Easy access , nice beautiful easy hike . We loved it !

hiking
2 months ago

Absolutely beautiful hike! It was definitely cold and snowy, so I would recommend micro spikes or at least chains for snow boots. At points closer to the lake, the trail would almost disappear in the snow drifts, and the rocks by the lake were very slippery.

If the weather was a little better, I would definitely give this hike 5 stars!

Beautiful roundtrip of Bear Lake. It was a snowy day so not many people on the trail, but it looks like it could be very crowded.

Very slippery in winter, wear good shoes with grip. Husband slipped three times. Beautiful falls.

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful hike. Went up to Fern Lake and Spruce Lake today (10/28/18) total time about 5 hours. There was still parking at the trailhead at 10:45am. Trail conditions were good. No ice or snow on the trail up to fern lake. The trail from fern to spruce can be tough to follow at a few points so pay attention. There was a little snow on this portion but I never had to use spikes. Neither trail nor lake was crowded at all—perfect peaceful solitude for a final summer hike.

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