National and State Register

Fern Lake Trail

Larimer County

With the first complete route established by 1906, 4.8-mile Fern Lake Trail has long served tourists to Rocky Mountain National Park and the Estes Park area.  Providing a scenic route through the park, the trail’s destinations include Fern Lake and Odessa Lake.  In the 1920s, Fern Lake had become a ski destination with the Colorado Mountain Club making annual wintertime outings to Fern Lake from 1916-1934.  

A black and white photo of a part of the trail with a sloping wall of boulders holding it up and a hiker standing on it.

Fern Lake Trail (2004 photograph.) 

During the Great Depression, Civilian Conservation Corps workers provided labor on trails projects such as rock wall construction and trail alignment, much of which is still intact.  Fern Lake Trail also exemplifies the 20th century movement to develop national parks for public enjoyment, while being representative of the Naturalistic Design philosophy prevalent in the National Park Service from the 1920s through the 1940s.  The property is associated with the Rocky Mountain National Park and the Historic Park Landscapes in National and State Parks Multiple Property Submissions.