Fern Lake – 7.4mi / 11.9km
With an accessible shoreline and some great stops along the way, it’s worth the climb to get to the lake.
The trail easily follows up along the scenic Big Thompson River past towering cliffs and the Arch Rocks to The Pool (see The Pool in 0-5 Miles for description). Continue along Fern Creek and steeply climb up to the 40ft/12m Fern Falls (see Fern Falls in 5-10 Miles for description). The trail resumes climbing through the trees with limited views before popping out at the lake.
The north shoreline provides good access to the forested lake with nice vantages looking up towards the jagged peaks at the head of the valley. Before heading back, cross the outlet to an impressive boulder field on the east side of the lake.
Trailhead: Follow Bear Lake Road and turn onto Moraine Park Road, then down Fern Lake Road to the trailhead at the end of the road, or park at the Park & Ride and take the park’s free shuttle to the trailhead.
Elevation Gain: 1,400ft / 420m – Elevation Loss: 1,400ft / 420m