Fern Lake and Odessa Lake

About 3.8 miles from the Fern Lake trailhead at the west end of Moraine Park, climbing from about 8000 feet to 9,500 feet to reach Fern Lake.  From there it is another mile or so, and another 500 feet of elevation gain, to reach Odessa Lake at just above 10,000 feet.

Fern Lake.  Odessa Lake lies just beneath Notchtop Mountain and the Little Matterhorn, both in the distance at right.

Fern Lake.  Odessa Lake lies just beneath Notchtop Mountain and the Little Matterhorn, both in the distance at right.

Morning sunlight on the canyon walls above the Fern Lake trail.

Morning sunlight on the canyon walls above the Fern Lake trail.

A tributary creek of the Big Thompson River.

A tributary creek of the Big Thompson River.

Fern Falls, elevation 8800 feet.

Fern Falls, elevation 8800 feet.

Great to see this bull moose on the east side of the park!

Great to see this bull moose on the east side of the park!

Notchtop Mountain and the Little Matterhorn reflected in Fern Lake.

Notchtop Mountain and the Little Matterhorn reflected in Fern Lake.

The approach to Odessa Lake along Fern Creek is spectacular - Notchtop Mountain [summit at about 12,160 feet] at center.

The approach to Odessa Lake along Fern Creek is spectacular - Notchtop Mountain [summit at about 12,160 feet] at center.

Odessa Lake, with Notchtop Mountain at center and the Little Matterhorn at right.

Odessa Lake, with Notchtop Mountain at center and the Little Matterhorn at right.

Some excellent trail engineering just below Odessa Lake.

Some excellent trail engineering just below Odessa Lake.

In the Autumn of 2012, the Fern Lake fire raced up both sides of the canyon carrying the upper reaches of the Big Thompson River, burning about 3,500 acres.  It was started by an illegal campfire on October 9th, and was not officially declared extinguished until the 24th of June 2013, eight and a half months later, when enough snow had melted off the mountain tops to allow confirmation that there were no smoldering remnants still active.  Almost two years later, large swaths of former pine forest remain barren.

In the Autumn of 2012, the Fern Lake fire raced up both sides of the canyon carrying the upper reaches of the Big Thompson River, burning about 3,500 acres.  It was started by an illegal campfire on October 9th, and was not officially declared extinguished until the 24th of June 2013, eight and a half months later, when enough snow had melted off the mountain tops to allow confirmation that there were no smoldering remnants still active.  Almost two years later, large swaths of former pine forest remain barren.

It ain't called "The Rockies" for nuthin'.

It ain't called "The Rockies" for nuthin'.

Bluebird Lake

The trail from the Wild Basin Trailhead [at left on the map view which looks from north to south, and at right in the elevation profile] rises from 2589 m [8,494 ft] to 3340 m [10,958 ft] over a length of about 6.4 miles to Bluebird Lake [at right on the map].

First stop of the morning at Calypso Cascades, 1.9 miles up the trail.

First stop of the morning at Calypso Cascades, 1.9 miles up the trail.

The Calypso Cascades from another perspective.

The Calypso Cascades from another perspective.

Blue Columbine,  Aquilegia caerulea , state flower of Colorado.

Blue Columbine, Aquilegia caerulea, state flower of Colorado.

Blue Columbine,   Aquilegia caerulea  , state flower of Colorado.

Blue Columbine, Aquilegia caerulea, state flower of Colorado.

Ouzel Falls, 2.7 miles in.  The trail crosses Ouzel Creek just below the falls, but the wooden bridge was carried away in the deluge of September 2013.

Ouzel Falls, 2.7 miles in.  The trail crosses Ouzel Creek just below the falls, but the wooden bridge was carried away in the deluge of September 2013.

New i-beams and decking planks positioned for a rebuild of the bridge to cross Ouzel Creek.

New i-beams and decking planks positioned for a rebuild of the bridge to cross Ouzel Creek.

Isolation peak in the distance.  Below it lies Bluebird Lake.

Isolation peak in the distance.  Below it lies Bluebird Lake.

Indian Paintbrush,  Castilleja integra.

Indian Paintbrush, Castilleja integra.

Copeland Mountain, whose smooth brow yields to a very rugged northwest face.

Copeland Mountain, whose smooth brow yields to a very rugged northwest face.

Dead giant.

Dead giant.

Five Stamened Mitrewort,  Mitella pentandra.  Saxifrage family.

Five Stamened Mitrewort, Mitella pentandra.  Saxifrage family.

Five Stamened Mitrewort,   Mitella pentandra.  Saxifrage family.

Five Stamened Mitrewort, Mitella pentandra.  Saxifrage family.

Spring Beauty,  Montia chamissoi.

Spring Beauty, Montia chamissoi.

American Globeflower [buttercup family],  Trollius laxus .

American Globeflower [buttercup family], Trollius laxus.

Lots of Glacier Lilies in bloom at around 10,000 feet.

Lots of Glacier Lilies in bloom at around 10,000 feet.

Glacier Lilies,  Erythronium grandiflorum.

Glacier Lilies, Erythronium grandiflorum.

American Globeflower,  Trollius laxus .

American Globeflower, Trollius laxus.

The head of St. Vrain Creek as it emerges from a snow bank below Bluebird Lake.

The head of St. Vrain Creek as it emerges from a snow bank below Bluebird Lake.

A cascade disappears beneath the snow.

Bluebird Lake, elevation 10,978 ft.

Bluebird Lake, elevation 10,978 ft.