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Fern Lake Trail

HARD 168 reviews
#6 of 121 trails in

Fern Lake Trail is a 3.1 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near June Lake, California that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, trail running, and nature trips and is best used from June until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 3.1 miles Elevation Gain: 1,564 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dog friendly

hiking

nature trips

running

forest

lake

views

waterfall

wild flowers

hiking
2 months ago

Did this trail on Nov 23 with a bit of snow, but still easy to follow the path. If you hit the creek, you’ve gone too far. The trail was steeper than anticipated but worth the views. It took about 2 hours and was closer to 4 miles round trip.

hiking
4 months ago

The lake has a phenomenal reflection as the sun sets. Get there about 4pm (mid Sept.) for a beautiful display. This hike is short but straight up and will have your heart pounding.

hiking
4 months ago

This is a pretty steep hike I would call challenging, but so worth it. The terrain is changing all the time and with beautiful Aspens, gigantic Pines and it is shaded! Beautiful lake at the top.

hiking
4 months ago

Bluebird day Sept 6. 830 am ascent. No bugs at Fern lake, windy and sunny. Had the place to ourselves. A few lupines in bloom, red berries coming in on the bushes on the upper part of the trail. Perfectly doable, take your time. Hiking poles very helpful, especially going down hill. Great hike. Toward the moderate side of a hard hike.

hiking
4 months ago

This is a great trail and it’s pretty much doable even if you’re used to Moderate hikes. You just have to go slowly and take your time as it is steep in several places. Don’t make the mistake of coming up to the waterfall and missing the sign for Fern Lake to the right. We were so mesmerized by the waterfall and crossing it that we continued on to Yost lake before we realized we were off the path To Fern Lake. Do not cross the waterfall, turn right and look up the hill for the trail to Fern. From this point it becomes rather steep but as I said if you go slowly it’s not really much further up. It’s a lovely spot.

hiking
4 months ago

Hard incline up but nice reward at the end. outstanding views.

hiking
5 months ago

This trail reminds me of the 4-Mile trail in Yosemite. I turned back after about the 1.6 mile mark. I highly recommend three water bottles and two trekking poles if your first attempt. My attempt was made at the end of August. I will be back in the future. My recommendation is for the casual hiker who takes on difficult but doable trails from time to time.

hiking
scramble
5 months ago

This is a tough hike but so beautiful. Great views of the valley and all the lakes in June. Note: if you get to the waterfall you have gone too far. The turn to this hike is about 100 yards before the waterfall. At this point the steep climb begins. some loose rock and STEEP. We encountered lots of mosquitoes. Once at the lake we saw a few tents set up and ran into a hiker who had just sumitted from this trail. Hard work was rewarded with a June Lake Brewery beer and Ohanas 395 ahi taco after the hike! Well worth it :)

hiking
5 months ago

Great trail! Great views on the way up this short but challenging trail. The views at the lake are outstanding!

hiking
6 months ago

Absolutely beautiful! Definitely rated appropriately.

hiking
bugs
6 months ago

hiking
bugs
6 months ago

Awesome trail! If you’re an experienced hiker this is just another “walk in the park”. I was reading some of the reviews and was a little worried how difficult it was going to be- the beginning is a difficult 2 miles straight up hill, but after a break, heading down is a breeze. Just be mindful of loose dirt and rocks. I think the most difficult thing about it is the altitude, it’s pretty tough to catch your breath but once you find your flow you can cruise up. All trails says it’s 3.2 miles but i tracked it and from the map at the bottom of the hike up to fern lake is exactly 1.98 miles- so it’s closer to 4 miles total round trip. The bugs are RELENTLESS so i highly suggest repellant. The lake is an amazing reward, if your feet are tired, just kick your boots off and dip them in the lake! It’s essentially a giant lake of melted snow so it’s chilly but it’s fun :) i suggest going as early as you can, the sun was pretty strong coming back around 10 am, if you bring your dog just be mindful of the dry heat. We took a half hour-45 minute break at the lake but in total it took us 1 hour and 35 minutes to hike round trip :) happy hiking!

hiking
bugs
6 months ago

This trail was a difficult one with breathtaking views! I would recommend going early in the morning. We started at around 12pm and finished at 2:30pm. It was hot so we made sure to take our time going up and stepped at shady areas. This trail is dog friendly, but can get hot for doggy paws. I would recommend having dog booties just in case. MOSQUITOES ARE A THING! Bring bug spray as the mosquitoes come out in force at the top and they are giant!

the payoff is well worth the effort. the hardest portion of the trail is in the beginning before you get to the waterfall. once you hit the split to Yost lake, it eases up a bit. don't let the other reviews scare you, we saw families with young kids and grandparents make it all the way up. once you get to fern lake there is a lot to explore and the views are amazing.

hiking
6 months ago

Brutal trail. Pretty much straight up the whole time but nice secluded lake with a great spot for a picnic. Felt longer than 3.2 miles roundtrip closer to 4 miles

hiking
6 months ago

was very hard when my husband and I did it 2 years ago while I was carrying my 1 year old on my back

recorded Fern Lake

7 months ago

last section of the trail is snow packed but if you follow the creek you'll be ok.

hiking
snow
7 months ago

hiking
8 months ago

Awesome hike. We encountered a lot of snow (14th May) so would not recommend until the snow melts away unless you are confident hikers who can navigate direction whilst trekking through very deep and steep snow. we had a lot of fun - but it was very steep and the path is hidden by the snow for the last half of the hike. The view at the top was glorious and there wasn’t another soul in sight. The hike itself was also awesome with beautiful views both up and down the mountain.

hiking
Mon Oct 15 2018

Great hike, serious vertical up and out of the loop. One hour or more on the way up. Lake surrounded by granite walls.

hiking
Mon Oct 08 2018

We hiked it in the beginning of Oct. - it was cold - so you may want to dress properly around that season. It was challenging a bit but definitely worth it!!! a beautiful little lake, great view on the way down - highly recommended!

hiking
Fri Oct 05 2018

What makes this trail especially difficult is the altitude. Yes, the elevation gain in a short period is quite intense as well, no denying that! I've done this trail several times on my Eastern Sierra camping trips over the years, with every intention of going again on my next trip. The scenery is incredible, and the lake is outstanding. Breathtaking, in more than one way!

hiking
Fri Sep 14 2018

Beautiful trail. Husband and I hiked to Fern Lake in the springtime. Bring plenty of water and a packed lunch because you'll want to hang around and spend some time up there once you make it to the lake! It was short but hard, very steep at times. We tried it again in the winter and hiked up to knee deep snow and only made it to the creek crossing. I wouldn't advise going any further than that in the snow. But still beautiful to see.

hiking
Thu Sep 06 2018

LOVED this hike. It's a relentless uphill grind, almost no level ground: a calf, glute, thigh and lung punishing 1600 feet of elevation gain in a relatively short period. The first half or so looks out over the town of June Lake, then the trail turns and gets super quiet - and steeper. Right after the signpost for Yost Lake it gets even steeper and rockier, then mellows out in a really beautiful tree-lined forested area. Then it gets rougher, and rockier again right before the trail opens up to a magical, beautiful and isolated alpine lake. We had the place to ourselves for hours, and didn't wanna leave. One of my favorite hikes in Mammoth, but unless you're a seasoned backcountry hiking triathlete, don't let the reviews calling this easy fool you. It's tough! The AllTrails app went absolutely bonkers on us on this hike, on a pretty new and fully updated iPhone X. We'd be standing still or sitting down taking a break and it would show us wandering all over the mountain. According to the app it was 3+ miles to the lake - not round trip - but again, it was being really wacky so we don't know what to believe. It sure FELT like 3+ miles to the lake.

running
Tue Sep 04 2018

It was a nice short and sweet (and steep) trail to a lake. We initially missed the turn to Fern lake and headed a mile or so towards a different lake (Yost) but once we got back on track and reached Fern lake it was worth the slight setback. The lake is pretty devoid of people and the aspens changing colors in early September made the reflections even more special. I’m docking a star because there were crazy mountain bikers coming down the trail and almost crashed into us.

hiking
Tue Sep 04 2018

A short but steep beautiful trail. Started at 10:30 am and arrived at the lake at 11:35 am. The lake was so serene, a perfect lunch spot. We ate lunch and left at 12:15, came back down at the trail head at 12:55.

Fri Aug 17 2018

Worth the steep uphill! Great views

hiking
Thu Aug 16 2018

Practicing for a Yosemite backpacking trip in a month and decided to give fern a try. I’ve been training for a couple month and went with my wife who never hikes. It is a difficult hike but she kicked butt. Took about 1:30 hours to get up (with pictures at the waterfall about halfway). We at lunch and fished at the top for about an hour and caught a bunch of small brook trout very quickly (power bait). Was much quicker coming down ~45min to an hour. Great place for a family hike. Bring a walking stick! It’s steep.

Mon Aug 06 2018

toughed hike but the view is all worth it.

hiking
Mon Jul 30 2018

Awesome hike, very difficult even coming down can be scary. Went up with a large group and kids between the ages of 10-16. Took us about 1 hour 30 mins to go up and this was with multiple stops. About 1 hour to get down.

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