Driving distance for day 30 miles roundtrip; about 1/2 hour each way. Hiking approximately 7.5 miles roundtrip; about 6 hours; well maintained but rocky trail with steep inclines and descents. Trailhead elevation is about 8,165 feet; elevation gain/loss of approximately 1,400 feet; maximum elevation of roughly 9,565 feet.
Restaurant plated meal.
Upon arrival at the trailhead, we’ll hop out of the vans and follow the Fern Lake Trail along Big Thompson River to The Pool, the site of the now absent Forest Inn, which was founded in 1917. As we walk the trail, we’ll come across some picturesque views of Big Thompson Valley through the trees. A mix of various pine species as well as aspen, willows, and cottonwoods line the path. Arriving at the lake, there are great vistas of Notchtop Mountain (12,129 feet), Little Matterhorn (11,586 feet), Knobtop Mountain (12,331 feet), and The Gable (11,018 feet).
At a pleasant stopping point along the trail, we’ll have boxed lunches featuring a pre-selected sandwich, chips, fruit, dessert.
Once we complete our hike, we will return to our motel for a short debrief and time to freshen up before heading to Estes Park. We will drive downtown by van as a group. Those who wish to can use the free town shuttle trolley that circulates every 20 minutes.
This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like in downtown Estes Park. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.
At leisure. We’ll return to the motel independently using free town shuttle trolley.