Escaping The Nutshell
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While Bear Lake to Fern Lake is a very popular hike, because it's downhill and you can take the shuttle back, we like doing it the other way. It's a nice climb (about 2800 feet up), with several sensational mountain lake views, and the way we did it today included some significant off-trail travel. In addition, we hiked to the shuttle parking area via Bierstadt Lake, and did not actually stop at Bear Lake.
Starting at the shuttle parking area, off Bear Lake Road, we took the bus to the Fern Lake stop just past Cub Lake. Here our hike began, at around 10 am and elevation 7,900 feet. We started by heading west on the gravel road to the Fern Lake Trailhead, then continued west on the Fern Lake Trail for 3.8 miles to Fern Lake. It's relaxing to watch the rainbow trout under the footbridge at the lake's outlet.
From Fern Lake, we continued to Odessa Lake. Here we abandoned the established trail and took a fisherman's trail around the west side of the lake to the lake's inlet. Continuing past the lake, the unofficial trail continued along the inlet creek. This trail disappeared as we passed over boulderfield and snowfield. Topping out at about 10,600 feet, we began heading east, below granite bluffs draped by cascading waterfalls.
We came upon an old trail, from the Jack Moomaw era, which we took to Lake Helene. From there, a fisherman's trail took us to Two Rivers Lake, where we had lunch before following its outlet to the Odessa Lake Trail. On this trail, we headed east toward Bear Lake, then to Bierstadt Lake, then to the shuttle parking area.
Start/end times: 10:00-17:11 = about 7 hours Distance hiked: about 12 miles Elevation gain: about 2800 feet (7861 to 10653)
|Place Name||Elev [ft]||Accuracy [ft]||Position (lat,lon)|
|Shuttle Bus Parking Area||8645||13||40.33033,-105.60077|
© 2012-2014 Stefan Hollos and Richard Hollos
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