Hiking Project Logo

Fern Lake Trail

Intermediate
 4.2 (32)

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


Your Rating:      Clear Rating
Your Difficulty:
Your Favorites: Add to Favorites · Your List
Zoom in to see details
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

  4.2 from 32 votes

#1

in Moraine Park

#124

Overall
  4.2 from 32 votes
5 Star
31%
4 Star
53%
3 Star
16%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#1

in Moraine Park

#34

in Colorado

#124

Overall
357 Views Last Month
3,359 Since Jan 19, 2015
Intermediate

3%
0%
76%
0%
21%
0%

Photos

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
Walking the plank at Fern falls
Jun 7, 2018 near Estes Park, CO
This beauty was gushing!
May 23, 2016 near Estes Park, CO
River view on a bridge
Apr 16, 2018 near Estes Park, CO
Snow melt is slowly strengthening this river
Apr 16, 2018 near Estes Park, CO

0 Comments

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Update Conditions
All Clear 14 days ago See History
Add Your Check-In

Check-Ins

Jul 1, 2020
Michael Gallagher
Jun 9, 2020
Angelo Marasco
May 30, 2020
James Hageman
Caught 7 cutthroat trout from fern lake and spruce. Fairly tough hike but beautiful alpine lakes 10mi
Oct 21, 2019
Russ Ney
Aug 15, 2019
Bailey Sterk
Aug 9, 2019
Linda Reeves
Jul 25, 2019
Jake Roye
Jun 29, 2019
Rachel Pierstorff
Had to park at Cub Lake trailhead and walk an extra mile each way. 9.2mi — 5h 00m