A beautiful point-to-point hike made possible by RMNP's shuttle system. Mountain views, pine forests, alpine lakes - this hike has it all!
This hike, starts from the park's most popular site: Bear Lake. However, while most crowds head from Bear Lake up the popular Dream Lake Trail, you will quickly leave the crowds behind as you start the hike. This hike is 1/3 climbing followed by 2/3 of descent, so while you will cover a lot of ground, it's never too challenging! As you finish the climbing portion of the hike, you will enjoy views of stunning, sheer mountain faces against the Continental Divide. As you descend for the rest of the hike, you will pass beautiful alpine lakes (Odessa Lake, Fern Lake), and walk alongside peaceful streams as you make your way back to your car at the Fern Lake Trailhead.
If you brought your fly fishing gear on this trip, this is the hike to use it! The alpine lakes are full of cutthroat trout, and it's hard to imagine a more beautiful place to fish. But please - don't fish without a license!
In early season the section after Fern Lake can still have snow on the trail. If this is the case we recommend turning back and walking back the trail you arrived on, giving you a chance to admire the views as you descend.
Tips, hints and links
Points of Interest
Seeing all of Odessa Lake requires a brief detour around the 3.8mi. mark, but is well-worth the extra few steps. It's a beautiful and quiet lake, framed by mountains on all sides.
The trail goes right past Fern Lake, so it's hard to miss! A bridge takes you right over the lake, and then passes the Fern Lake Patrol Cabin, a former ranger station. The cabin was built in 1925, and is included on the US National Register of Historic Places.
Depending on the time of year (and how much snow the region got during the winter), the falls can be anywhere from a trickle to a deluge! No matter how much water is flowing, however, it's always a good stopping point to snap a picture and cool off in the mist of the falls.
Food & Drink
Stock up on food and water before you start the hike! Carry at least 2 litres of water per person, along with snacks and a packed lunch. Grand Lake is the only place to stock up before you start the hike, so make sure to stop by a market or grocery store before leaving town.
We recommend wearing hiking boots that are well broken-in, plus a rain jacket and waterproof trousers in wet weather, as well as taking sun cream and a hat on nicer days.
In your information pack, you’ll find a detailed list of all the required hiking gear, including some good hiking boots, appropriate clothing, a rain jacket and a backpack.