The Spirit of the Rockies
Hike Profiles for Rocky Mountain National Park and Surrounding Areas
Odessa Lake
Odessa Lake is accessible for
day hikers from both the Bear
Lake and Fern Lake
Trailheads. The hike from
Bear Lake is one half mile
shorter one-way, and takes
hikers past Lake Helene.
Odessa Lake is at the base of
the Little Matterhorn and The
Gable rock formation, and has
a nice view of Grace Falls.
Distance: 4.1 miles one-way

Lake elevation: 10,020 feet

Trailhead elevation: 9,475 feet

Net elevation gain: 545 feet

Bear Lake Trailhead

Rocky Mountain National Park
Odessa Lake and Notchtop Mountain
Major Trail Landmarks
Bear Lake (Adjacent to the Bear Lake parking lot)
Junction of Flattop Mountain and Odessa Lake Trails (0.8 miles one-way from trailhead)
Lake Helene (2.9 miles one-way from trailhead)
Principal Destinations Near Odessa Lake
Tourmaline Lake (4.5 miles one-way from trailhead) - via an unmaintained route from Odessa Lake
Fern Lake (4.7 miles one-way from trailhead) - via Fern Lake-Odessa Lake Trail
Fern Lake Trailhead (8.5 miles one-way from trailhead) - via Fern Lake-Odessa Lake Trail
Backcountry Campsites Near Odessa Lake
Sourdough (2.5 miles one-way from Bear Lake Trailhead) - 1 individual site
Odessa Lake (4.1 miles one-way from Bear Lake Trailhead) - 2 individual sites
Fern Lake (3.8 miles one-way from Fern Lake Trailhead) - 1 group site and 4 individual sites
Bear Lake is a popular area on the east side of the Continental Divide. From the Beaver Meadows
Entrance Station on U.S. Highway 36, head west about 0.2 miles and turn south on Bear Lake Road
(toward Moraine Park). Follow Bear Lake Road a little over 9 miles to the large parking area where Bear
Lake Road ends. Bear Lake is just west of the parking lot. The Emerald Lake trail begins southeast of the
lake; the Flattop Mountain trail begins on the east side of the lake.

The trail to Odessa Lake begins along the Bear Lake loop trail, at the Flattop Mountain Trailhead. Follow
the Flattop Mountain Trail to a junction about 0.8 mile from Bear Lake, and bear right toward Odessa Lake.
The trail heads west past Lake Helene before turning south to Odessa Lake. Although the net elevation
gain from Bear Lake to Odessa Lake is 545 feet, there is a large downhill stretch from near Lake Helene to
Odessa Lake. The actual elevation gain is about 1200 feet from Bear Lake to Lake Helene, and about 600
feet from Odessa Lake to Lake Helene on the return trip, resulting in an approximate gain of 1800 feet for
this round trip. To avoid this 600 foot gain on the return trip, many hikers hike out of Odessa Lake to
Fern Lake and the Fern Lake Trailhead, and use shuttle service to return to their vehicle.
Sample photographs of the hike to Odessa Lake
Notchtop Mountain and Grace Falls
Little Matterhorn from Odessa Lake
Odessa Lake from the trail near Lake Helene
Trail just north of Odessa Lake
Odessa Lake topographic map
Principal summer trail marked by solid red line; unmaintained trail or route marked by dashed red line.
Map is oriented with north to the top of the map
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All photographs are property of Mike Amfahr and are protected by copyright laws.
Topographic map is property of and copyrighted by Maps a la carte, Inc., and is used on this site with permission.