Hiked and did some backcountry camping on this trail over the weekend. It really lives up to the dozens of reviews for being a really beautiful hike. Taking this route from the entry point of Bear Lake to the exit point at the Fern Lake trailhead is a great way to go- especially if you’re carrying about 25-30 lbs. on your back. There is some elevation gain at the start till you get to the hard right turn about 3.7 miles into the hike. At this point, some of the most beautiful views on the hike appear as you descend to Odessa Lake. While this trail does not take you right next to Odessa Lake, you get a nice view from the elevated trail vantage point. But, there is a trail that connects to the lake if you want to back-track to see it up close along with the rushing creek waters. Continuing on another .8 mile takes you to Fern lake. This is a beautiful high mountain lake with some overflow ponds and a creek with waterfall. All of this water is great for filtering and drinking and cooking. There was a duck family there with ducklings. Also there were quite a few cut throat trout in the lake too. We camped at the group camping spot which is a nice area not too far from the lake. We checked out the individual campsites, and they were quite a walk back up from the lake. I didn’t care for them too much. We hiked to Spruce lake in the evening and the trail is rougher but manageable. There is nothing spectacular about this lake. The campsite was quiet and the privy was not far off from the group camping area. The next day we headed for the Fern Lake trailhead. It’s basically a downhill journey all the way but passes through several waterfalls and rushing streams. There are a lot of wildflowers and you will want to visit the Arches Rocks formations. The views on this side aren’t as spectacular, but still nice. I am not happy about all the piles of horse poop on this side of the trail. I know that say it degrades, but it’s just a mess trying to dodge the nasty stuff IMO. The stated mileage is not correct from what I can see for this trail. With our extra hike to Spruce Lake, we clocked 14 miles. We had someone pick us up at the Fern Lake trailhead because there’s not much parking. See my recording and pic’s for a highlight of the trip. All in all, a beautiful hike.