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Fern Lake Trail

Intermediate

Trail

3.5 mile 5.7 kilometer point to point
84% Runnable
Intermediate

Elevation

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

Grade

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

Dogs

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

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 running up the final portion of trail to Fern Lake.

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Trail Ratings

  4.2 from 31 votes

#1

in Moraine Park

#129

Overall
  4.2 from 31 votes
5 Star
32%
4 Star
52%
3 Star
16%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#1

in Moraine Park

#34

in Colorado

#129

Overall
95 Views Last Month
2,661 Since Jan 19, 2015
Intermediate

3%
21%
55%
14%
7%
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
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
Fern Falls!
Sep 10, 2019 near Estes Park, CO

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