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Fern Lake Trail

Intermediate
 4.1 (34)

A two-faced (easy, then very hard) trail that leads to a stunning waterfall and serene alpine lake.


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Map Key

3.5

Miles

5.7

KM

Point to Point

9,466' 2,885 m

High

8,151' 2,485 m

Low

1,341' 409 m

Up

27' 8 m

Down

7%

Avg Grade (4°)

24%

Max Grade (13°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Birding · Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Description

From the Fern Lake Trailhead, begin along the relatively flat trail paralleling the Big Thompson River. The canyon through which this trail runs is stunning - the northern wall rises abruptly over 1,000 feet above the valley floor.

Just under two miles from the trailhead, the Fern Lake Trail crosses the river and is met by the Moraine Park Cub Lake Trail from the south. Near this intersection there is a bridge over the Big Thompson River that is not far from the Arch Rocks or Old Forest Inn campgrounds. The bridge provides a beautiful look at the Big Thompson River as it passes over a small waterfall and under this bridge, coursing out into the meadow in Moraine Park. Enjoy the view down the river!

From here, the gradual meandering character of the trail is now replaced by steepening grades as it heads up the Fern Creek Drainage.

After an initial contouring ascent, the trail begins a series of switchbacks as the terrain steepens. After two large switchbacks the Fern Creek Falls, which you've surely been hearing, will come into view. Take a moment, or many moments, to enjoy the sheer power of the cascades before hiking up the final portion of trail to Fern Lake.

Contacts

Shared By:

Brian Smith

Trail Ratings

  4.1 from 34 votes

#1

in Moraine Park

#139

Overall
  4.1 from 34 votes
5 Star
29%
4 Star
56%
3 Star
15%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#1

in Moraine Park

#37

in Colorado

#139

Overall
88 Views Last Month
4,612 Since Jan 19, 2015
Intermediate

3%
0%
77%
0%
19%
0%

Photos

Fern Falls!
Sep 10, 2019 near Estes Park, CO
Great view of the Big Thompson River.
Jul 20, 2016 near Estes Park, CO
Big Thompson River Waterfall
Apr 16, 2018 near Estes Park, CO
This beauty was gushing!
May 23, 2016 near Estes Park, CO
Fern Falls was flowing very strong from snow melt
Jun 30, 2019 near Estes Park, CO
River view on a bridge
Apr 16, 2018 near Estes Park, CO

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Current Trail Conditions

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All Clear 48 days ago See History
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Check-Ins

Aug 19, 2020
Andrew Blank
2h 15m
Aug 16, 2020
Jeff Brock
Hard stretch up to fern lake but beautiful lake
Aug 1, 2020
Shane Hoss
Made it to Fern Lake
Jul 13, 2020
Mackenzie Munie
Amazing view of Fern Falls. 5.6mi
Jul 13, 2020
Paula M
Jul 1, 2020
Michael Gallagher
Jun 9, 2020
Angelo Marasco
Jun 5, 2020
Emily Flanders
With family (Cathy, Callen). Made it past the Pool up to Fern Falls before turning around. Easy until the climb up to the falls. 6.3mi