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    This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
    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.
    773 m
    This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
    16.7 km
    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.
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    Directions to Trailhead

    Bear Lake via Horn Fork Trail


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    Table of contents

    Immerse yourself in Colorado’s high country as you venture to Bear Lake via Horn Fork Trail. Travel through enchanting forestlands, luxuriant meadows, and vibrant tundras up to the crystalline waters of Bear Lake. Exposing epic vistas of the bounding peaks, this path packs a punch.

    Route Description for Bear Lake via Horn Fork Trail

    The Bear Lake via Horn Fork Trail is a must-add to your Colorado hiking itinerary. A welcomed diversion from the area’s quintessential summit ascents, this trek provides a unique perspective of the dramatic, vaulted peaks. Note that you will be traveling to an exposed mountain cirque, so keep an eye on the skies for storms! Additionally, when wandering this path in the fall and winter months, be sure to tack on some microspikes! If you want to transform this epic day hike into an awesome overnight backpacking expedition, then there are plenty of quaint dispersed campsites below the treeline.

    Embark on your adventure along the Bear Lake via Horn Fork Trail from the Horn Fork Basin Trailhead. From here, track west through the woodlands and along the curves of North Cottonwood Creek. Eventually, you will encounter an intersection and turn right to hike northwest above the timberline. You will again meet another junction, keep left and keep an eye out for moose as you trek through the meadowlands. As you wander, you will be rewarded with impressive sights of the looming peaks as you near the lake.

    Soon you will reach the shores of Bear Lake. Dip your tired feet in the chilly alpine waters and revel in its clarity and blue hue. Appreciate the grandeur of the bounding snow-capped peaks, and when you are ready, backtrack along the path to the trailhead.

    Getting to the Bear Lake via Horn Fork Trail Trailhead

    The Bear Lake via Horn Fork Trail is accessed via the Horn Fork Basin Trailhead off County Road 365.

    Route Information

    • Backcountry Campground:

      Dispersed Backcountry Campsites

    • When to do:


    • Pets allowed:

      Yes - On Leash

    • Family friendly:

      Older Children only

    • Route Signage:


    • Crowd Levels:


    • Route Type:

      Out and back

    Bear Lake via Horn Fork Trail Elevation Graph

    Weather Forecast

    Check Area Weather


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