NOTE: IN ORDER TO BETTER SEE PHOTOS IN THEIR FULL 1600 PX. RESOLUTION, VIEW THEM IN THE ALBUM FORMAT BY CLICKING ON THE LEAD PHOTO OR ANY PHOTO IN THE POST. This is especially true for landscape shots. Thanks to Mark for the idea of adding this alert so the photos can be seen at their best!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Day One RMNP - Fern Lake Trailhead and Bear Lake

Our first day in Rocky Mountain National Park didn't disappoint.  We started with a short warm-up hike in the morning at the Fern Lake Trailhead.

The ranger at the entrance station told us it was likely we'd find parking right up at the trailhead on a Tuesday morning so we bypassed the shuttle bus system and drove right on in.  Other hikers parked further back at the shuttle bus stop and had to walk an extra 3/4 mile on the dirt road to the trailhead, so I was glad we'd gotten the inside scoop and didn't have to experience the dust and the exhaust fumes.

Wayne wasn't sure how his back would hold up, but the trail was mostly level with some minor inclines all the way to the bridge at The Pool.  

The Pool wasn't very impressive, but the views along the way were mighty fine.  Anyone know what kind of bird is pictured below?

Or how about these guys?  They stood so still we might have missed them if someone else hadn't alerted us to look for them.

They could be juvenile Dusky Grouse which are common to the park.  If anyone knows what they are, chime in on the comment section!

And someone took our picture for us, proof that we were out hiking together!

After our morning hike we collected Cory and drove up into the mountains.

Hallett Peak behind Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a subalpine lake that lies within a forest of spruce, fir, lodgepole pine and aspen.  It wasn't the best day for photography, a still cloudless morning will apparently provide lovely reflections, but we enjoyed our walk around it nonetheless.

While Wayne and Cory wandered on ahead, I stopped to see what might be growing this late in the summer at over 9000 feet elevation.

The asters are everywhere, always one of my favorites.

Bear Lake is one of the most popular destinations in the park and the loop trail is relatively flat and an easy stroll at about 3/4 mile roundtrip.

When we entered the park we found out they will be celebrating their Centennial this coming weekend.  Thursday through Sunday are free entry days at the park but since we arrived a few days early we paid the $30 weekly pass fee and are happy knowing our fee helps maintain this lovely park!


  1. This is such a spectacular park. Have a great time! Hope the weekend isn't too crowded:)

  2. Perhaps a Stellar Jay, and we think the second one is a female Ptarmigan, as grouse will normally fly off and not let you approach, while Ptarmigan do not.
    Box Canyon Mark and Bobbie