Fern Lake Trail is a hiking trail in Larimer County, Colorado. It is within Rocky Mountain National Park. It is 7.3 miles long and begins at 8,156 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 14.8 miles with a total elevation gain of 4,618 feet. The Fern Lake Trailhead parking and the Doctor Thornton R Sampson Grave (elevation 8,146 feet) grave yard are near the trailhead. Along the trail there are camp sites and waters.
Fern Lake Trail Professional Reviews and Guides
"This trail can be used for a short, easy hike just to the featured lake or a major adventure by starting at Moraine Park and finishing at Bear Lake. If you do that, start early to avoid storms, and use a car shuttle or the park shuttle. You can also use this trailhead to climb all the way up to Odessa Lake another 500 feet in elevation and 0.6 mile beyond Fern Lake. That part of the trail is very steep and makes the trek a moderate to challenging hike if you then go all the way to or return from Bear Lake."
--Alan Apt and Kay Turnbaugh, Afoot & Afield: Denver, Boulder, Fort Collins, and Rocky Mountain National Park (Wilderness Press).
"The trail to Fern Lake features the park’s “best of” attractions for hikes with kids: monster-size rocks to wander among, a log bridge spanning a deep pool in the Big Thompson River, a mist-spewing waterfall, and a lake promising ﬁshing fun."
--Maureen Keilty , Best Hikes with Kids Colorado (The Mountaineers Books).
"Five waterfalls pour through Odessa Gorge, west of Moraine Park in Rocky Mountain National Park. The first falls, “Windy Gulch Cascades,” is hidden off the trail and fueled by an unnamed source. “Spruce Creek Falls” tumbles past, in long leaps below the trail. Fern Falls roars over a trailside cliff, protected by dense, green shrubs and Engelmann spruce; and Marguerite Falls is not easily accessed by any trail, but the upper leaps may be enjoyed, downstream from Fern Lake."
--Susan Joy Paul, Hiking Waterfalls in Colorado (Falcon Guides).
"The Old Forest Inn Campsite is the best backcountry site for first-time campers. It’s in proximity to Bear Lake access, without the Bear Lake crowds. The beauty of the campsites here attest to the perfect location of an old inn that no longer exists. This hike also offers plenty of easy, yet scenic miles and even more miles of leg-burning uphill. The ascents are rewarded, of course, with the amazing water shows of Marguerite Falls and Fern Falls, and Fern Lake itself. Take the whole family on this outing, camp, split up according to fitness level, and get exploring."
--Kim Lipker, Day & Overnight Hikes: Rocky Mountain National Park (Menasha Ridge Press).
"Fern Lake is great for an outing to a spectacular location. It has more of a feel of exploration than of visiting an old ski area. Going there today must feel much like it did when the original CMC members made their outings decades ago. Fern Lake is unique in this book, in the sense that it never had lift service of any type, but it is included for its historical significance. The beginnings of skiing at Fern Lake date back to 1909, when Dr. William J. Workman—from Ashland, Kansas—traveled to Colorado and built a lodge at his favorite fishing location, Fern Lake. The original lodge was constructed during 1910, and completed by 1911. Up to 500 guests visited the lodge each winter, and every guest was asked to sign a red leather-bound log book. Eventually, adjoining and nearby smaller cabins and tents were added."
--Peter Bronski, Colorado Powder Ghost Towns (Wilderness Press).
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