Trail Snapshot: Spruce Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park
- Hike Distance: 9.6 miles Round Trip (from Fern Lake TH)
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Duration: Approx 6hr Round Trip
- Trail Type: Out and Back
- Starting Elevation: 8155′
- Elevation Gain: +1505′
- Seasons: Spring through Fall
- Dogs: Dogs Prohibited in RMNP
- Hike Trail Map: Click for a Map of Spruce Lake RMNP
- Denver Drive Time: 1 hr 40 min
- Driving Directions to Fern Lake Trailhead: Click for Google Map
- Driving Directions to Fern Lake Bus Stop Parking: Click for Google Map
- Driving Directions to Park & Ride Trailhead: Click for Google Map
- Town Nearest Hike: Estes Park, Colorado
- Beauty: Sub-alpine lakes, mountain views, river, wildflowers, aspen trees, ponderosa pine, waterfalls, wildlife: Abert’s squirrel, elk, deer, moose, duck, bear
- Activities: Picnicking, hiking trails, snowshoeing, fishing:catch and release only
- Fee: Park Pass Required
Parking & Trailhead Information for Spruce Lake in RMNP
The Hike: Spruce Lake in RMNP
After hiking approximately 3.8 miles up toward Fern Lake from the Fern Lake Trailhead–see the full Fern Lake Trail Profile-–the trail will split, just before Fern Lake, and a sign will point the way to Spruce Lake.
The trail up to Spruce Lake is a easy to moderate climb through dense woods ending with a short descent across boulder field and down into the marshland that surrounds much of Spruce Lake.
Because Fern Lake is so close to the Spruce Lake trail junction, it’s worth hiking to its shores either before or after hiking to Spruce Lake.
Fern Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park
There are two campsites at Spruce Lake and these must be reserved through the Rocky Mountain National Park Backcountry Offices.
Sights Along the Fern Lake Trail:
Tips & Resources for Hiking to Spruce Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park
- TIP: It is advisable to arrive early as parking is limited. One may opt to ride a shuttle that drops you off at the trailhead.
- Trekking Poles & Traction Devices are Recommended in Spring and Winter: During this time of year, there can be patches and even longer segments of snow and ice on the trail. Because of this, we recommend Trekking Poles and/or Traction Devices for this trail.
- Bear Country: There is a decent population of Black Bears near Spruce, Fern, and Odessa Lakes. Be bear aware and be sure to dispose of food and waste properly.
- Bring a snack or picnic lunch: The rocks near the Big Thompson River and the shores of Fern Lake can be a great place for picnics. Plus, you’re going to need some fuel for this hike.
- Trail Map for Bear Lake Corridor: Trail Map Link
- Packing List: Always pack the 10 Essentials. Download our Hiking Guide to get list and dayhiking packing checklist.
- Colorado Road Conditions: Colorado Road Conditions
- Photo: We would like to express our gratitude to Andrew Mace for sharing such an amazing photograph of this hike to Spruce Lake in RMNP.
- After the Hike: Baba’s Burgers & Gyros
Map & Driving Directions
Click for Driving Directions