Fern Lake Trail

MODERATE 228 reviews
#13 of 152 trails in

Fern Lake Trail is a 7.1 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Estes Park, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until October. Horses are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
7.1 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1453 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

birding

fishing

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

snow

no dogs

Fern Lake Trail is a relatively uncrowded hike to a scenic mountain lake accessed from the Moraine Park area on the east side of Rocky Mountain National Park. The trail follows the Big Thompson River offering great views of Fern Falls, Notchtop Mountain and the Little Matterhorn from Fern Lake's north side.

hiking
4 days ago

The trail up until about half mile to the falls was clear, the falls themselves are still covered with snow. I didn’t wear my spikes on the way up to the lake and didn’t have any problems. I love Fern Lake it’s beautiful. Just be careful, it looks frozen but don’t take your chances on it.. I wanted to go to Odessa Lake but started post holing around the boulder field.

hiking
28 days ago

Hiked this on a Monday in late January, just boots. Packed snow almost all the way to the lake, then loose snow at least 3 ft. deep for the last half mile and all around the lake. Ultra windy. Clearly a busy trail on weekends.

30 days ago

Hiked this trail in late September 2017. This wasn't on our agenda, but due to the weather closing down the road to the west side of the park we took this trail.

Turned out to be one of the highlights of our trip because we were able to see three moose (Bull, cow, and calf). The trail follows the river and they were seen near the river feeding. It was some what difficult to no be so close to them due to the proximity of the trail to the river.

We only went to the falls, quite a climb, but worth the trek. Be sure to dress with warm clothes, as you get to a higher elevation the temperature drops.

Excellent views and waterfall

hiking
1 month ago

Hiked about a month or so ago and loved this one. I had never taken this road around Moraine Park so it was a completely new area of the park for me. Not many people at all compared to the huge crowds at Bear Lake or Glacier Gorge Trailheads.

Fern Lake is beautiful and has some incredible views once you get out there. The 25+MPH winds were the reason I only spent a few minutes out there even though I would have loved to spend much longer out there.

hiking
3 months ago

Beautiful! Hiked only with boots and didn't need microspikes. Very windy.

3 months ago

Snowy and gray on Christmas morning. Only a few others out. Had to park at the shuttle lot and hike the .7 miles to the trailhead. Went as far as the Pool area - going was ok with just spikes. Could have used snowshoes, but not bad up to this point. Nice to see at this time of year!

hiking
4 months ago

Trail was amazing. Started out a little to late and tried (with success) to reach Odessa Lake. Got caught in the dark on our way up. Headlamp was a great bring. Didn't make it out with out a scare or two and a Grand show by the stars. Truly Glorious!

hiking
4 months ago

Beautiful area. The trail was clear today until a little past the bridge. We used micro spikes the last mile and a half.

hiking
5 months ago

Was a pleasant hike on a Tuesday. The trail head parking was closed so I added an extra 2 miles on to the total length. Gets icy and snow packed the last 2.1 miles. I didn't have micro spikes only hiking poles. I would recommend using micro spikes, though I did only fall once.

backpacking
5 months ago

October rain and late start from Bear Lake was great for a one nighter

backpacking
6 months ago

My friends and I went backpacking along a 14 mile loop of the 5 lakes in this area and Fern Lake was by far my favorite (followed closely by Odessa Lake). The hike can be challenging at times but the views make it that much more worth it! Definitely worth checking out if you haven't been before!

hiking
6 months ago

Ferns. Nuff said.

hiking
7 months ago

7 months ago

Great waterfall pictures

7 months ago

The hike was nice, there were pleasant views the whole way up, but it wasn't anything out of the ordinary as compared to some of the other hikes I've been on around here. The lake was beautiful, as was the waterfall section.

hiking
8 months ago

Nice trail near Estes side of Rocky. Pretty hike through trees near stream that's flat-ish until you cross a bridge then climb up higher, pass a nice waterfall and keep going to fern lake which is quiet and beautiful. Saw an osprey dive and catch a fish in the water. Saw a couple white-tailed pheasants on the trail as well.

hiking
8 months ago

Mildly busy, get there early to get a parking spot close to the trailhead. The falls are beautiful, and the lake itself is super relaxing.

9 months ago

Arrived at 6:45 AM. Only three cars in the parking lot at the trailhead. It only holds about 22 cars, so get there early. Otherwise you have to park 8/10 of a mile away and you have to hike that. We hiked to the pool, which was 1.7 miles. Pretty flat. You see the river quite often. The pool is not what I expected. It wasn't a big huge area, which is the river under a bridge. But it's all very pretty except for the horse poop on the trail. There was quite a bit of it.

hiking
9 months ago

Great day hike. Flat for the first mile n a half following the river. Then goes up after you cross the river, but it's not bad. Fern falls are great and will cool you off mid hike. Fern lake is pretty, although it's hard to get a good view of the entire thing. I highly suggest going the extra mile to Odessa Lake.

Bring bug spray. The mosquitoes were terrible.

hiking
9 months ago

Great little day hike. The first few miles are deceptively flat and easy. Once you get to the pool the trail does climb pretty steadily all the way to fern lake. Stick with it as the views from the lake are well worth the effort.

hiking
9 months ago

Relatively flat all the way to the pools, then climbs steadily to falls and lake. If you feel comfortable with the incline, definitely take the trail all the way to the lake - the views are worth it. Start early. We started at 6 am and were in the shade until about 930 when we were on our way back down. Bugs weren't nearly as bad as the bierstadt lake loop, but we needed to apply bug spray after the falls they seemed to get a little worse after that point.

It took us 5 hours to complete the out and back, and by 11 am there wasn't any parking for miles.

9 months ago

We did this Trail in 16 and it's definitely not my favorite Trail in RMNP. It's winds alongs the Big Thompson which keeps the temps cool longer into the day but it was SUPER buggy

hiking
9 months ago

Hiked the trail to the pools, which was a nice trail! At the Pools, made a left and went towards Cub Lake. We meant to head to Fern Falls but were a bit confused as to how the trail continued...finally figured it out but after we had sat and ate lunch one the way to Cub Lake and decided to head back and discover more of the park!! I had previously been to the trail in 2008...a lot had changed due to the flood of 2013....But overall, it is SOOO beautiful!

hiking
9 months ago

Love this trail. The first 2 miles are pretty easy and relatively flat up to "the pools". This is also the busiest part of the trail. Another moderately difficult mile to Fern Falls which is flowing great right now and you feel the mist from it on the trail. Were quite a few people on the trail up to this point. The next mile to Fern Lake was fairly difficult (for me anyway, lol). I only saw a few people on that part of trail. Fern Lake was absolutely beautiful. Only a few other people at the lake-10 at the most. I then continued on to Odessa Lake which was also fairly difficult. I had the entire small lake to myself. This is great in that the park was so busy that day that all the lots, including the park and ride lot, were full & I had to park at the visitor center and take the hiker shuttle to the park & ride shuttle.

hiking
9 months ago

Another awesome hike in RMNP. Easy for a bit then a steady, rocky climb to the big waterfall and eventually Fern Lake. We kept climbing up to Odessa Lake. I'm glad we did, gorgeous lake with a great view of the Little Matterhorn. Perfect lunch spot. Much of the hike is along the stream which was running well at this time. Trail can be crowded at times but thins out past the waterfall and again past Fern Lake. Our roundtrip was 9.4 miles.

10 months ago

This has been my favorite trail so far. I love the ever-present river and the sound of running water that accompanies the hike.
The 1.7 mile hike to The Pool took about an hour and was an easy hike and great for kids.
We continued another mile to Fern Falls and found it to be more difficult due to the incline. This wouldnt be good for reluctant kids, only those kids who really enjoy hiking.
Fern Falls was stunning and provided a refreshing mist. We turned around after Fern Falls and headed back. Our round trip took about 3 hours and was 5.4 miles. It was a beautiful hike!

hiking
10 months ago

Fantastic hike yesterday! Trail has some open areas of sun shining through but also wooded in other parts. When you reach Fern Falls you'll welcome the mist; the climb will definitely get your heart rate up! Incredible views of the mountains towering over the lake.

backpacking
10 months ago

Trail is in great shape- first half to the pool is very easy hike - second half to Fern lake is definitely more difficult. Take the side hike to spruce lake if you have time. Fern lake is gorgeous but Spruce lake is even more picturesque.

hiking
10 months ago

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