Flattop Mountain to Fern Lake Hike

Difficulty
This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
Moderate
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
4-6h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
16.7 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
417 m
User Ratings
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Directions to Trailhead

The Flattop Mountain to Fern Lake Hike is a scenic venture into the Colorado wilderness. This hike will guide you past several crystalline alpine lakes that sit in the foreground of the snow-capped peaks that sit along the Continental Divide. This one-way hike is awesome for those seeking a stimulating adventure.

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Route Description for Flattop Mountain to Fern Lake Hike

The Flattop Mountain to Fern Lake Hike is sure to please all its adventurers. This excursion demands stamina and preparation, so make sure you are acclimated to the area’s high altitude and pack lots of water! Don’t forget, this trail is one way, so be sure to arrange a pickup or leave a car at the Fern Lake Trailhead! Located within the Rocky Mountain National Park, visitors are required to purchase a park pass.

Embark on your adventure along the Flattop Mountain to Fern Lake Hike from the Bear Lake Trailhead. From here, track north along the Bear Lake Trail and at the first intersection, veer right onto the Bierstadt Trail. Hike up the ridge and at the next junction, turn left and you will be diverted onto the Flattop Mountain Trail. As you ascend the terrain, the path will intersect with Mill Creek before merging onto the Fern Lake Trail. Hike past the Two Rivers Lake and revel in the impressive vistas of the looming snow-dusted peaks. Track along the route through the mountain cirque, maintaining on the Fern Lake Trail. Eventually, the path will guide you along the shoreline of Odessa Lake before delivering you to Fern Lake.

From Fern Lake, the route will descend to Big Thompson Lake and The Pool. From here, descend the river valley path to the parking lot and trailhead, marking the end of your alpine adventure.

Getting to the Flattop Mountain to Fern Lake Hike Trailhead

The Flattop Mountain to Fern Lake Hike departs from the Bear Lake Trailhead off Bear Lake Road.

Route Information

  • Backcountry Campground

    Designated Dispersed Campsites, view details here.

  • When to do

    May-November

  • Pets allowed

    No

  • Family friendly

    Older Children only

  • Route Signage

    Average

  • Crowd Levels

    High

  • Route Type

    One Way

Flattop Mountain to Fern Lake Hike Elevation Graph

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Flattop Mountain to Fern Lake Hike Reviews

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