Trailhead: Fern Lake Trailhead

Activities: Hiking, Camping, Skiing, Snowshoeing

Closest City / Town: Estes Park, Colorado

Driving Directions:

  • Enter into Rocky Mountain National Park via the Beaver Meadows Entrance Station.
  • From the entrance station, make a left onto Bear Lake Road.
  • Continue on Bear Lake Road for 2 miles, and hand a right onto Moraine Park Road.
  • Moraine Park Road will eventually dead-end at the Fern Lake Trailhead.
  • In sum, you will travel 4.1 miles from the Beaver Meadows Entrance Station.

Hiking Distance: 7.6 miles (roundtrip)

Description: Making this Rocky Mountain National Park hike during the fall, winter, or spring is a great way to beat the crowds.  However, snowshoes are a requisite if you decide to make the trek in the winter and early spring.

The Fern Lake Trailhead sits at 8,155′ in elevation.  The first 2.5 miles are relatively flat and easy.  You will not encounter much elevation gain until you ascend the final 1.3 miles.  Fern Lake is a marvelous high-alpine body of water.  You will gain approximately 1,350′ in elevation on this hike, topping out at 9,503′.

Camping at Fern Lake is available, but only through a backcountry permitting system; contact the National Park Service for further details.

Worth Noting: The drive to the trailhead through Moraine Park is incredible. Huge herds of elk frequently graze in the expansive meadows.

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