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This summer (July 2009), my wife Janice and I did the hike from Bear Lake Trail Head to Fern Lake Trail Head. We had a gorgeous day. With the exception of Longs Peak, it was the best hike I have ever done in the park. As near as Ii can figure there is an elevation gain of about 1,200 feet from Bear Lake to the top of Odessa Gorge and then a drop of over 2,000 feet down to the Fern Lake Trailhead. The hike covers about 9 miles. There were 3 small snow patches easily crossed. We had spectacular views of Longs Peak, Flat Top, Notchtop, Little Matterhorn, Helene, Odessa and Fern Lakes, the Gable, Marguerite Falls, the Pool and the Arch Rocks.At the end we caught the shuttle back to the Bear Lake Parking lot where we had lucked into a parking space. Here are some of the photos from that great hike. At some point in the future I would like to do it in the reverse direction starting at the Fern Lake Trail Head and hiking up Odessa Gorge and then down to Bear Lake. Indeed a really great hike would be the Fern lake trailhead to the Hallett peak Summit via the Flattop Trail for an elevation gain of 5,000 + feet from the valley floor to the divide with a retuen to Bear Lake and the shuttle. If you haven't done Odessa Gorge from top to bottom or bottom to top make it a priority. It's awesome. But wait until July unless you are prpar4ed with at least an ice ax to cross several steep snow slopes.
Please feel free to attach your own images of the odessa Gorge.
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