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Amazing experience. Got there around 7:45 and got the last parking space. Nevertheless, never felt crowded. Such a nice trail. Water along the way. Gentle slope. When we got to the falls, agree with other reviews you need to go up the left side. We tried to go further after lunch, but it was too much for my 11 and 13 yo.

We started out early (7:30) and avoided most of the crowds. Headed out from the fern TH to make the finish easier - better to walk 1 mile on a dirt road when it’s cool and empty. We saw wild turkeys, elk, marmots. The lake is nice, but the pool is way better. Coming down along the Big Thompson river was crowded. Loved it. Done with an 11 and 13yo.

hiking
1 day ago

Hiked this today with my 7yo (experienced hiker) and had no problem at all. Beautiful views of Copeland at the bottom and there’s a few nice spots to take a break at the falls. Keep left there, as everyone says, have fun be safe!

Took about three hours to complete, two out and one hour on the return trip. Took upper path on the accent, and descended via the lower trail. Great views almost the entire hike. Advise getting to the trail head pre 7am as parking is very limited on the Old Fall River Rd near the trail head.

Family of 4 with an 11 and 13 year old. One of the best hikes we have ever done. Got there around 8 and got the last marking spot; so arrive early. Gorgeous trail with a gentle grade. Agree with others who recommend going up the left side of the falls. We tried to extend to Ouzel Lake, but the trail was hot and steep. Just too much.

hiking
5 days ago

This was my first hike at RMNP, and it didn’t disappoint! My husband and I started at the bear lake trailhead, took a portion of the flattop mtn trail then when flattop mtn trail branched off to the left, we continued straight on the fern lake trail. We took the trail for a few miles and turned around right before two rivers lake. The incline was a good, challenging pace, not scrambling but not flat. We are beginner to intermediate hikers so this was perfect for us. The higher you get the rockier it gets on the trail. Some nice streams along the way and while it started off sunny and warm, it cooled at bit on the way up while in the pine forest. There was a portion of the trail that is next to a mountain that is nothing but rocks, so we slowed down a bit on this. This portion was also very sunny, but did not last long. Did not see any wildlife. I would do this again and next time probably go farther! Beautiful views along the way and not too crowded. I noticed the farther we went on the trail, the less foot traffic we came across. We arrived at the trailhead around 8:20am and it was full. Was able to snag a spot though. Might consider arriving a little earlier next time. First time at RMNP and I’m hooked. I never want to leave!

The hike was really nice. The waterfall was okay though.

Pretty darn good hike. We parked at fern lake trailhead and hiked to the bear lake trailhead and took the shuttle back. Note that the shuttle does not go all the way back to the fern lake trailhead. You will still have 0.7 miles to get to the actual trailhead. Overall it’s almost 10 miles and about 2700 ft gain in elevation. It would be a lot easier to go bear lake to fern lake. Bear lake is higher so the climb is much less daunting. Parking is more difficult at bear lake. Either way the scenery is gorgeous and the streams and lakes are beautiful as is fern falls.

hiking
6 days ago

Great trail if you love water! The stream and various falls are all along the trail up to Ouzel Falls. At Ouzel, venture to the left to get up close to the falls ... find a good rock and enjoy the beauty. Instead of doing this as an out and back, we continued on past the falls, picked up the Wild Basin Trail and then at the Thunder Lake Trail junction turned right. This will take you past several campsites and connect back into the main trail. We really enjoyed this added section. (made the total distance a little over 6 miles) We arrived at 7:45 am and there were still 10+ parking spots left. Recommend getting there early to get ahead of the crowds.

hiking
6 days ago

Secluded and peaceful. Great views of rockies on the way.

hiking
8 days ago

Very pleasant & fairly easy hike, mostly in the woods, past several nice waterfalls (Copeland Falls and Calypso Cascades) and culminating at the best of the bunch, Ouzel Falls. Nice views of Longs towards the end as well. We went in the late afternoon and had no trouble finding parking at the Wild Basin trailhead or in navigating the dirt road in a 2WD. All in all, a great alternative to the Bear Lake craziness at RMNP.

hiking
8 days ago

This was our last RMNP hike ☹️. I wanted something easy (after having done a few days of alpine mountain hikes) and yet has good views. We also wanted to sleep in for the day so I have to avoid overly popular and crowded trails. This trail fits the bill.
We arrived close to 11am and was able to park at the trail head since the early birds are just done with their hikes then. Much nicer to be right at the trail head than have to park on the dirt road where you may end up walking close to 1 mile to get to the trail head.
Most of the trail is along the river which is very nice and you can hear the sound of waterfall which is very refreshing. The last mile is more technical. Once you get to the bridge at the base of Ouzel falls, I took the advise of other reviewers and walked to the left of the bridge and up an unmarked trail to get up close and next to the fall. Quite amazing. Since we started off late, we were caught in a bit of rain and slight hail but it was nothing too bad as the walk down was fairly easy and not technical.

This hike was lovely - truly the stereotypical mountain lake ideal view. It's as gorgeous as you'd imagine. :) Yes, if you hike it in the summer, it'll be well populated, but that's the case for most trails at any national park.
As I approached Mills Lake, I watched the water that would become Alberta Falls rush by, flowing heavily from MIlls Lake. After that, I crested a hill with large boulders around, that opened up to the spans of Mills Lake, flanked by idyllic rocky mountains.
As an Arizona hiker who visited in August, I layered my clothing: yoga tank under a long sleeved t, under a sweatshirt, under a waterproof windbreaker. I'm SOOOO glad I took all layers (I almost left the sweatshirt in the car), because in the 30ish minutes I sat by the lake, the weather went from full sun, dy, then thunder, rain and hail...and then sun again. ....and then rain. Mother Nature was verrry moody the day I hiked this trail, and judging from what the Park Rangers, guides and locals told me, this is common. So, be sure you're prepared!
This trail felt like a true hike, whereas Bear Lake was not at all. The hike to Mills Lake is rated moderate, but I believe it's somewhere between Easy and Moderate.
There aren't any steep grades, despite you ascending almost all the way. The grade is subtle.
Because you are walking on a trail with loose rock and stepping around larger rocks, I also recommend you wear grippy shoes/boots.
You'll love it.

Great trail and agree with other reviewers that you must walk/ climb through the trees to the left of the falls to see the Ouzel Falls which would be pretty easy to miss. I don't find the falls to be INCREDIBLE, but the trail was great and there are quite a few other water features along the way. We saw a moose just over a mile in! We were at the trailhead by 645am and there was plenty of parking.

One of my favorites. Hiked 9/2014 and again 7/2018 and the wild basin area continues to be my favorite areas. In 2014 I did not climb the top of the ozual falls, tho this past trip in 2018 I did and wow what a view. At ozual falls keep hiking left into that boulder collective valley, there is a trail you will come across but if not just keep hiking along the rock ridge to a point and theres where you turn right and start making your way back to the waterfall to see 2 amazing views, one down the falls and the mountain view behind you. Def my new favorite lunch spot

Beautiful hike to Mills Lake. It was challenging but well worth the effort. Only drawback was too many people on the trail.

Great trail, with diverse landscapes and reasonable uphills. However I recommend to do an extra effort and continue to Bear Lake instead of coming back. This would imply a “hard” hike, taking into account the uphill between Fern Lake and Lake Helene. But it pays off!: You don’t repeat landscapes and you will experience the rocky world of the RMNP, with vistas of some glaciers. And you arrive to the crowded Bear Lake, where the bus is waiting for you to bring you back to Lake Fern trailhead. Give it a try!

Horse shit on half the trail.

Pretty easy-moderate hike. Not a lot of people

Hiked up to Black Lake a week ago. Quite a few folks between Alberta Falls and Mills. But beyond Mills we found only the committed. We had Black Lake all to ourselves until the weather chased us down. Hike from Mills to Black is beautiful and serene. Loved the waterfall below Black. Take the time to relax at Black. It is worth the time and effort.

Beautiful. 14 miles RT to lake #1. Last 2.2 miles are the only really steep section. Maybe add .8 to 1 mile to total if going to lake #2.

no dogs on the trails? what's the point of allowing them in the park at all? pretty sorry for a national park.

Beautiful hike!

Really great trail near Estes Park. The Wild Basin trailhead is a lot less crowded than Bear Lake. We went early (7am) and it felt like we were alone for the most part.

Be sure to hike around the left side of the waterfall !

Beautiful hike. Perfect weather. Too many tourists. Will do again when not in the middle of summer and the rest of the country isn’t there.

Liked it but so did hundreds of other people. We were late to the trailhead and only went to Mills lake. Sounds like Black and Frozen were less trafficked so maybe another time.

hiking
16 days ago

Pretty awesome hike. When you get the waterfall make sure you walk left of the bridge, and you can get right up next to the falls. It’s a pretty awesome waterfall. You can feel the mist from multiple spots. Also if you’re feeling up to it, you can actually hike to the top of the falls. It’s an amazing view. You have to go a little off trail and just walk up and around the canyon it’s on.

Hiked to Mills Lake. Beautiful, not too hard. Great views. Serene lake. Overall amazing. Just get there early (before 9am) or parking is atrocious!

hiking
16 days ago

My husband and I tried this one at a friend’s suggestion. The burned trees are sad to see, but the meadow is lush and there is a lot of healthy vegetation. The first couple of miles are a gradual incline, rocky in places, but manageable. The lake is a little over two miles in and it is gorgeous! It’s covered in lily pads. After the lake, the trail winds through some wooded areas and the Thompson River becomes visible. It’s also very pretty and there are multiple places to rest, have a snack, and dip your toes in the water. About a mile and a half before the end, there are several large, random boulders. We saw several people practicing their bouldering skills. All in all, a great hike with lots of photo ops.

went to Black Lake. really amazing hike. Just hit the favors list. After Mills, and Jewel, the rest of the hike is beautiful and challenging. So much scenery. Waterfalls, wild flowers, saw a moose and Elk. Well worth it!

hiking
16 days ago

Our favorite RHMP hike so far. We loved the well shaded route to Calypso Falls. It got more open after that, and the trail became a nice combination of forest and views. Instead of turning around at Ouzel Falls, we continued on to the Thunder Lake Trail then headed back to the trailhead from there, making the hike a lollipop instead of an out and back. We saw way less people going back by doing this and we got to see new stuff. We got to the trailhead at 7am on a Tuesday and the parking lot only had a dozen cars in out, but I think it filled up quickly after we arrived, and it was so crazy when we left at noon that it was almost a traffic jam.

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