Odessa Lake Via Fern Lake Trail

MODERATE 74 reviews
#26 of 156 trails in

Odessa Lake Via Fern Lake Trail is a 8.3 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Estes Park, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, camping, and horses and is best used from June until October. Horses are also able to use this trail.

8.3 miles
2004 feet
Out & Back



horseback riding





wild flowers

no dogs

Take Hwy. 36 out of Estes Park to RMNP entrance, then go to Bear Lake Rd., follow it to the Bear Lake Th.

19 days ago

Completed this section a while back on a three night backpacking trip through RMNP with some friends. We had mule deer walk a mere two dozen feet or so around our campsite, up close and personal. Certain times of year you'll need to be ready for the mosquitos, as they're a never ending nuisance, they did eventually force us all in to our respective tents just to get some relief, as we didn't really have any bug repellent with us at the time. Mosquito nets would have been an excellent addition as well.

3 months ago

Beutiful hike, but very windy in the morning. Make sure to wear layers. The last part of the trail to Odessa is also extremely icy and inclined so make sure you have the right equipment .

6 months ago

VERY icy/snowed in at the top. Would only recommend if you have spikes/proper gear/experienced. Ice was worth the views/incredible pictures

7 months ago

Stunning views and a quieter trail. We needed microspikes for the higher portion past Flat Top mountain- its quite icy in the morning!

7 months ago

Still snow on the ground in June. Parents decided to stop early because of a side-ways sloped snow/ice surface we had to cross to get to the lake. Jaw-dropping view. Would definitely go again.

8 months ago

Great hike! The views at Odessa Lake were awesome and made for a wonderful lunch stop. Our round trip mileage was 9.4. Caution with eating at Fern Lake - the chipmunks will come after your food aggressively - we quickly decided not to eat there.

8 months ago

Wonderful hike much to see. Water falls, flowing brooks, beautiful, flush vegetation, two lakes Fern and Odessa. Sweet mountains views around Odessa.

9 months ago

Absolutely beautiful. My favorite hike I've done in a long time.

10 months ago

The views were fantastic. Tons of mosquitos! Also we were not able to do that last half mile or so due to snow on the trail. But the view of fern lake was amazing (you can climb a rock where the trail turns for a great viewpoint).

10 months ago

Great day hike. Flat for the first mile n a half. 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. The extra mile to Odessa lake is so worth it. The lake and surrounding mountains are extraordinary.

Bring bud spray! Bad mosquitoes in July

10 months ago

Hiked on July 3. 3 parts of snow but sneakers were fine. Starting at Bear Lake and ending at Fern Lake was the move.

11 months ago

Camping in June was a tad too cold for us, but I loved this hike! Would love to do it again.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

RMNP best kept secret!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Attempted to snowshoe this trail last weekend when the snowstorm hit. Did not make it to any of the lakes. It was too cold and there was no clear trail. My buddy and I got lost a couple times and had to make our own trail. Barely made it half way but I would attempt this on a better weather day. It was surreal and amazing though!

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Did not make it to Odessa Lake. Bad weather was moving in, the snow was almost knee deep. We also had snow shoes. There was no visible sign of tracks but we made it to Lake Helene which was really beautiful.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Amazing views and well worth a few steep climbs and windy conditions.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

The trail was already covered with snow so it was very slippery. But the view was absolutely amazing!! Totally worth it.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Planned to hike to Fern Lake, but kept on to Odessa. Definitely worth it!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Awesome hike! We went from Bear Lake to Odessa Lake. It took three hours to get there but there is a lot of variety to the trail and such a close views of the mountains. A lot of picture taking. Odessa Lake was beautiful. Would definitely recommend.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Just hiked this today starting from the Fern Lake trailhead. Trail is well maintained, easy to follow, and has a fee nice waterfalls. We had Odessa Lake pretty much to ourselves and really enjoyed the view.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Did this as a section of a much longer backpacking trip. This section is awesome! especially the high country between Odessa lake and Sourdough campsite. If you camp at Sourdough, bring a lot of bug repellent. I suppose all these small lakes are breeding grounds for Mosquitoes. Besides that the campsite is fantastic. It even has a Privy. These backcountry campsites are some of the best I've ever camped in.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

One of my favorite hikes! I've been to Fern Lake more times than I can count. The extra mile past Fern to Odessa lake is beautiful. Highly recommended.

Monday, February 08, 2016

Wonderful hike! Gorgeous views almost throughout the entire hike. This is up in my top ten hikes in Colorado:)

Sunday, August 16, 2015

I didn't make it down to Odessa Lake, so this is why I titled it as Odessa Gorge. Since I have been Odessa Lake from the Fern Lake TH, and wanted to explore Lake Helene and Two Rivers Lake, I turned around once I got half-way down Odessa Gorge.

This hike was more amazing than I had expected! Once I got to the the Junction for the Flattop Mountain trail, it was all-new territory for me. From here the trail begins to level out and is so pleasant. You are near tree-line, and the trail crosses through open, wildflower specked fields. In front of you are the mountains and snowfields that you will soon be walking along through Odessa Gorge. The morning I went had ominous clouds hovering, and the wind was whipping so that I felt I was crossing the Misty Mountains!!

But before you turn into the gorge you pass the Sourdough backcountry sites on the right side of the trail. About a 5- minute walk you'll notice spur trails on your left with slight views of water- the first one is Two Rivers Lake, and Lake Helene is after it.

Then, I turned, and Odessa Gorge opened up, and there at the bottom is Odessa Lake. Gorgeous (heh heh heh). But it really took my breath away. There are no more tress around you as thr trail is cut into the rock. You are now hiking down alongside the mountains you were hiking towards for so long, and on this day they were sheer and cold, and majestic. It was one of those hikes were you take a step and stop to look all around you, feel insignificant, take another step, and repeat. It was at this moment when I stopped and pondered if I should do the loop and take the shuttle from Fern LAke back to Bear LAke... but Lake Helene!! I turned around and found the spur trail to the water.

I could have spent a whole afternoon exploring Lake Helen. It is under a small snowfield, and the hills behind it kept calling to me. But I was cold and alone, and I love leaving new things to explore for next time! So I contented myself with circling the lake, navigating the lush green grass and flowing water at timberline,and trying to pick a path through the krumholz. There was even one area with a killer overlook to Odessa lake. I only saw one other group of people here, and as far as I know, they never saw me sitting against a tree munching my granola bar.

I went back out onto to main trail and eventually came upon the spur trail for Two Rivers Lake. Once I got to the lake I realized I could have easily gotten there from Lake Helene. Oh well, for next time! This lake had a bunch of big boulders lying in it, and that part of it reminded me a bit of Lake Haiyaha, but the shoreline is way more accessible. Again, I saw no one actually come down here although I could hear all the later hikers on their way to Odessa. After pausing here for a few minutes I turned, picked my way back to the trail, and began the journey home, dreaming about my wonderful finds awaiting me at Esh's!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Started at the Fern Lake trailhead to Fern Lake and on to Odessa Lake. I would really encourage you to hike all the way in to Odessa. The view is spectacular and we only saw two other couples up there. Trail is a moderate hike, well marked, and well maintained.

Monday, June 29, 2015

I did the hike from Bear Lake to Fern Lake- it's roughly 9 miles, but if you do it the way I did, it's all downhill and not that bad. However along this route you get to see Bear Lake, Lake Helene, Odessa Lake, Fern Lake, Fern Falls, & the Pool. There isn't a place in the RMNP that doesn't have the best views around, but I really recommend that you try and do this trail thru. There was still some snow pack on the trial closes to Lake Helene and on the way down to Odessa, but manageable without Ice Trekkers

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Snowshoed, Nice sunny day, shot with my Hasblad camera. 1999winter

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Great day to hike to Little Manahorn. 2007-aug

Monday, July 29, 2013

Odessa Lake is amazing. Technically I've never hiked this route as described (out and back from Bear Lake), but I'd highly recommend hiking Bear Lake to Fern Lake TH instead, as you see much more country, including Fern Lake and Fern Falls at only a few miles more total distance. (Link attached.) It's worth noting that there's a backcountry camp site near Odessa Lake.


Friday, August 24, 2012

One of my favorite hikes in RMNP. If you make it up to Fern Lake, you might as well hike up to Odessa, it is worth every single step. If you get get up there early you could be the only person on the lake, which is always nice. Highly reccomend this hike.

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