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blue Fern Lake Trail


3.5 mile 5.7 kilometer point to point


Ascent: 1,341' 409 m
Descent: -27' -8 m
High: 9,466' 2,885 m
Low: 8,151' 2,485 m


Avg Grade: 7% (4°)
Max Grade: 24% (13°)


No Dogs
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Trail shared by Brian Smith

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

Brian Smith

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


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.

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Jun 29, 2019
Rachel Pierstorff
Had to park at Cub Lake trailhead and walk an extra mile each way. 9.2mi — 5h 00m
Jun 24, 2019
Michael Taylor
Going to camp at Fern Lake 3.5mi — 8h 30m
Jun 19, 2019
Eric Folkerth
Jun 16, 2019
Marian Van Vlack
7mi — 3h 30m
Jun 3, 2019
Derik Bunch
May 25, 2019
Dave MacRunnel
A little Muddy. Beautiful day! 1.7mi — 1h 30m
Apr 21, 2019
Greg Collette
Sep 29, 2018
David Orner

Trail Ratings

  4.2 from 31 votes


in Moraine Park


  4.2 from 31 votes
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in Colorado


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2,198 Since Jan 19, 2015
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