Cub Lake Trail

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado 80517

Elevation Gain1,957ft
Trailhead Elevation8,083ft
Elevation Min/Max8079/8746ft
Elevation Start/End8083/8083ft

Cub Lake Trail

Cub Lake Trail is a hiking trail in Larimer County, Colorado. It is within Rocky Mountain National Park. It is 3.5 miles long and begins at 8,083 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 7.0 miles with a total elevation gain of 1,957 feet. The Cub Lake parking is near the trailhead. There are also a parking and an information board. Along the trail there are waters and an information guidepost. The trail ends near the Pool information guidepost. This trail connects with the following: South Lateral Moraine Trail and Fern Lake Trail.

Cub Lake Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"A wildfire at the end of 2012 demonstrated nature’s ability to begin immediate recovery, which nonetheless requires centuries."

"The Cub Lake Trail meanders across a meadow recovering well from wildfire damage, then it climbs through burned forest to the lake, still displaying yellow pond lilies."

"This trail is very popular year-round. In fall large herds of bugling elk are exceeded only by flocks of people there to hear them dueling for romance. The height of the elk bugling is in the beautiful fall season (mid-September through early October), which is also often warm but can feature a chilly breeze.

The route can be hiked as a loop, with your return on the Fern Lake Trail, but you will end up 1 mile short of the Cub Lake Trailhead, with 1 mile of walking along the road to get back to your car at the Cub Lake Trailhead. To intersect the Fern Lake Trail, walk past Cub Lake and follow the trail as it climbs the ridgeline on the north side of the trail up about 200 feet to meet the Fern Lake Trail."

"This is an over-the-river-and-through-the-woods hike with a meadow and some elk thrown in. Kids will love this hike, as will those new to hiking and those old to hiking that want to slow down and appreciate the view. Cub Lake is a popular hike, so I recommend that you hike during the week on the shoulder seasons."

"Poke along as you like, then rest on a boulder overlooking this lovely lake, framed by snow-capped peaks. Cub Lake is a good early or late season hike. During the tourist season, this area is very heavily used.

The small elevation gain, the well defined trails, and the short distances make this an excellent choice for children and hikers who want less of a physical challenge. Poke along as you like, enjoy the scampering chipmunks at every stop (but don’t feed them), and then rest on a boulder overlooking the lake; its surface packed with water lilies and framed by snow-capped peaks of the Continental Divide. There are many beaver ponds along the way and elk are often seen in the grassy meadows. To avoid the crowds, try this trail early or late in the day. No pets or vehicles are permitted. A free map of this area may be obtained at the visitor center, just outside the Park entrance."

"In addition to the many superlatives for Rocky Mountain National Park— spectacular, impressive, memorable— “rewarding” should join the list for the Cub Lake/The Pool Loop. Diversity lies at the heart of this fine hike. The 6.2-mile loop at montane elevation travels through a number of interesting habitats populated with well over 80 wildflower species. From a level beginning, the trail climbs with most of the elevation gain accumulated as the trail nears Cub Lake.

At different times of the bloom season hikers may come across calypso orchids in late June (one-quarter mile east of The Pool); wood lilies not far from the beaver ponds in early July; yellow pond lilies on Cub Lake in July; and prince’s pine on the downhill run from the lake to The Pool in late July. Several possible parking areas at the west end of Moraine Park serve the Cub Lake/The Pool Loop. Each requires a walk down a portion of the level dirt road ending at The Pool/Fern Lake Trailhead. The second parking area driving west has restrooms and is a good place for starting the loop. Wildflower alert: Pockets of wood lily and a lake of yellow pond lilies."

Cub Lake Trail Reviews

4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars
icon1 Total
4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars
This is a great afternoon trail. First mile or so is a slow walk beautiful landscape wide trails and some rocks. The last 1/2 mile is a 600 to 900 ft climb with rough terrain. The trail narrows in spots and increases in elevation. Cub Lake backcountry camp site is located in moderate pine forest with good shade and a small stream about 50 yards away. Bear box and privy at location. No fires allowed. Five hundred yards up the trails is Cub Lake. Small but beautiful lake surrounded by large pine trees no shore line and amazing peaks in the backdrop. I highly recommend taking an overnight at Cub Lake.

Cub Lake Trail Photos

Trail Information

Rocky Mountain National Park
Nearby City
Rocky Mountain National Park
Additional Use
Rocky Mountain National Park Backcountry Office, 1000 US Highway 36, Estes Park 80517; (970) 586-1242; www/
Local Contacts
USGS McHenrys Peak and Longs Peak; Trails Illustrated Longs Peak
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Oct 2018