Last updated: July 20, 2022
- Distance: 8.8 miles round-trip
- Elevation gain: 1,865 feet
- Trail Type: Out and Back
This hike is a gateway to the diverse scenery of Rocky Mountain National Park! Starting with steep, dense pine forest move into the wide-open Odessa Gorge. Look for Grace Falls in the distance. The trail then leads down the gorge to Odessa Lake surrounded by a cathedral of granite. You can fish in this lake. Be sure to check with a ranger for regulations. Most hikers will make the trek back up the gorge to the trailhead. But if you're prepared and ready for adventure, continue down the trail toward Fern Lake, Fern Falls, and Fern Lake Trailhead. Check the bus route- you may be able to take the park shuttle back to Bear Lake Trailhead.
Be aware: this trail often has treacherous snow fields into late-June and early July. Ask a Ranger about trail conditions before committing to this hike.
Weather Warning: Weather in the mountains can turn in an instant! Be prepared for changing weather conditions. Check the forecast before heading out. Lightning can strike anywhere in Rocky. Watch for building storm clouds and return to the trailhead immediately if you hear thunder. As a rule of thumb, try to be back at the trailhead by noon.
From May 27 to October 10, 2022, Timed Entry Permit Reservations are required to enter most areas of Rocky Mountain National Park between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. To access the Bear Lake Road Corridor, Timed Entry Permits are in effect from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
Timed Entry Permit Reservations are only available to be booked through https://www.recreation.gov/timed-entry/10086910. One Timed Entry Permit Reservation is $2.00 and non-refundable.
Timed Entry Permits are vehicle permits. One Timed Entry Permit will cover one vehicle and all passengers in the vehicle. Timed Entry Permit Holders must enter the park during their reseved 2-hour reservation window.
To learn more, visit the park's Timed Entry Permit Reservation webpage at https://www.nps.gov/romo/planyourvisit/timed-entry-permit-system.htm