Thing to Do

Hike Fern Lake

tree lined lake with a mountain backdrop
Fern Lake

NPS Photo

  • Distance:  7.6 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,375 feet
  • Type of Trail: Out & Back, Moderate

From the Fern Lake Trailhead, the hike to Fern Lake is around 9 miles round-trip with 1,453 feet of elevation gain. Given the length and terrain, this hike is best suited for moderately experienced hikers. Running alongside the Big Thompson River, this trail also offers great fishing opportunities (be sure to familiarize yourself with fishing regulations). 3.5 miles in you will also come across Fern Falls, a 60-foot feature that cascades into Fern Creek. Some of the terrain is still in recovery from the Fern Lake Fire that occurred in fall 2012, there are significant stretches of sun exposure on the second half of the trail.

Upon reaching the lake you will be greeted with views of 12,129-foot Notchtop Mountain, 11,586-foot Little Matterhorn, 12,331-foot Knobtop Mountain and 11,018-foot The Gable when viewing from the north shore.

Entrance fees may apply, see Fees & Passes information.
Accessibility Information
This is not a paved trail. The trail is rugged and uneven with a total elevation of 1,375 feet.

Rocky Mountain National Park

Last updated: October 29, 2020