Spruce Lake – 9mi / 14.5km
The tall spire of Castle Rock towers over this small, quiet 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 past Fern Falls and the Spruce Lake Trail to Fern Lake (see Fern Falls and Fern Lake in 5-10 Miles for description).
After visiting Fern Lake, return to the Spruce Lake Trail near the patrol cabin where the trail steeply climbs before leveling out. The trail is a mix of wet meadows and boulders that are tricky to navigate before you get to the marshy outlet of the lake. Pass the marshy areas (closed due to native toad populations) to the edge of the lake. Enjoy the views looking up to majestic Gabletop Mountain and the striking Castle Rock Spire from large boulders at this lightly visited 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: 1,700ft / 510m – Elevation Loss: 1,700ft / 510m