Cub Lake Trail Loop
Cub Lake Trailhead, Estes Park, CO, USA
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My family and I took the ~6 mile trail clockwise (recommended to ease elevation!) and had a lovely morning of hiking. Kids (ages 2.5 and 4) were on our backs and we were able to complete the hike in about 4.5 hours with stops even with over 700 feet of elevation. I always find loops much better than out and back - and this loop is packed with variety. You start off near the beautiful valley with beautiful wildflowers and a stream, and then about an hour in to the hike, you start gaining elevation quickly. We stopped for a snack near Cub Lake, which has some rocks near the water's edge for a nice break (beware of very tame and hungry chipmunks!). The lake isn't the prettiest (lots of vegetation and lillypads look like they are taking over) but it was calm and peaceful and with some views looking backward. Towards the last bit of the hike is a lovely waterfall that was thumping hard with snowmelt (we were there in May) and then there are some interesting and large boulders almost at the very end.
Lowlights: The only challenging thing about this hike is the straight, dusty, and mosquito filled acess road that you must take for about a mile to get back to your car, which really makes the hike 7 miles in total.
Tips: Like most places near Rocky Mountain Park, you must arrive early to get a decent parking spot. We arrived at the trailhead around 7 and easily got a space. Arrive much later and you won't be so lucky.
Directions from Estes Park: Go west on Hwy 36 past the Beaver Meadows Entrance Station Bear Lake Road. Head south (left) to the turnoff for the Cub Lake and Fern Lake Trailheads and Moraine Park. The trailhead is ~2 miles down this road.