Cub Lake Trail Loop

MODERATE 229 reviews
#19 of 181 trails in

Cub Lake Trail Loop is a 6 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Estes Park, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Horses are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
6.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
744 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

kid friendly

birding

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

snowshoeing

trail running

walking

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

snow

no dogs

Directions from Estes Park: Travel west on Hwy 36 past the Beaver Meadows Entrance Station Bear Lake Roadd. Take this road south (left) to the turn--off for the Cub Lake and Fern Lake Trailheads and Moraine Park. The trailhead is about two miles on this road.

2 hours ago

Real pretty trail. Lots of wildflowers (6/21).

3 days ago

6/18/18 - lovely hike filled with wild flowers at this time. Hike starts with nice wide open mountain views. Trek through the forest seeing beautiful wild flowers along the way. Cub lake is uniquely filled with lily pads with yellow flowers. Past the lake you will see rock formations and the flowers continue while hiking downward to the Pool. As you walk to the Fern Lake TH you will hear and see beautiful water streams throughout the remaining hike. Love this nice,easy stroll through the RMNP.

hiking
4 days ago

The Cub Lake Trail Loop was a nice, easy hike. Cub Lake was very beautiful, and the bridge at the Pool over the river was also very scenic.

hiking
4 days ago

a great hike via "the pool".

hiking
7 days ago

This was one of the most beautiful hikes ever. Definitely start at cub lake trail head. The climb up is easy and you get to start in the valley. We had to wait in the valley for a massive herd of Elk to move off the trail. Cub lake is gorgeous and a great place for lunch. The halo affect of the water lilies is amazing. Finally the hike down to the pool was all down hill and easy. It’s sends you meandering through burned out lodge pole pines and when we did the hike the wildflowers were out of this world.

hiking
11 days ago

Completed this loop twice now. Beautiful both times. Starting out in the meadow, going into the forest, getting to cub lake which isn’t near as pretty as nymph because of the burned down trees. Definitely recommend continuing on the loop. It’s only an extra 1/4 mile or so and the scenery completely changes. Past cub lake you get super Rocky Mountains, streams, and the last mile is completely flat with a river flowing next to you the entire time.

hiking
12 days ago

Hiked this trail on 6/3 in the afternoon. Started at Cub Lake trailhead and looped to Fern Lake trailhead. You do have to hike and additional .7 miles down a dirt road to the shuttle bus stop that will take you back to Cub Lake trailhead. This trail offers so much. Views of snow peaked mountains, Moraine Park, wildflowers everywhere, wildlife, Beaver Ponds and of course Cub Lake, The Pool and The Big Thompson River. The lake is tranquil and beautiful. Don't miss hiking up the mountain past the lake for additional views of Cub which highlights the lily pad halo well. We got caught in a rainstorm on the top, but put on jackets and completed the loop. There is a nice cascade before The Pool and the hike down The Big Thompson River back to the trailhead is easy with an entirely different atmosphere from the first part of the hike. This loop was a great introduction to RMNP and all it has to offer.

hiking
23 days ago

Started at the Cub Lake trailhead and walk around. Pretty easy with a bit of an incline to get to the lake. Lots of lily pads and burned trees. It was still beautiful though. Trail wasn’t super crowded which was really nice.

24 days ago

What a lovely hike! We started from the Fern Lake trailhead but left our car at the Cub Lake TH parking. Lots to see here - saw several elk, some deer, and a moose. Cub Lake was pretty with all the lily pads. I wouldn’t call this trail easy but, then again, we were on our third day of hiking and a little fatigued. Highly recommend!

hiking
24 days ago

Easy and great hike with awesome view. Got to see herd of Mule deer in meadows.

hiking
24 days ago

Beautiful hike. No snow on trails.

26 days ago

I actually intended to take the Fern Falls trail, but the signs were super misleading and I ended up doing this trek instead. Really nice hike! Cub Lake was a little dry, but still beautiful nonetheless. Would do again:)

hiking
27 days ago

No snow, did this in trail runners. Was a easy hike a little elevation but nothing bad. THe lake has a lot of lily pads on it right now and is a unique view. Lots of Elk, made for a nice surprise.

1 month ago

Beautiful. Fairly gentle incline, not too difficult.

hiking
1 month ago

We hiked on 05/16/2018 in the mid-morning. We enjoyed the trail, we took the north part of the trail first and ended up in the meadow. The trail has a lot of rocks and not too much mud. There were a few spots that were wet. The sun was out and it was beautiful. We were able to see some elk and mule deer. The first part was awesome walking next to the stream. And if course Cub Lake was beautiful and a great place to stop and have a snack.

did the trail today on 5/5/18. sun was out so everything was mostly dry. some snow seen next to the trail but not on the trail itself. I found it to be an easy to moderate trail. easy beginning and end. About 1-2 miles just prior to cub lake starts getting to moderate due to the incline. no hiking poles needed in my opinion. saw some locals do the hike in regular shoes (1 person in flip flops!), but there are some muddy parts, so wouldn't recommend unless you don't mind ruining your shoes. completed this loop in about 4 hours with multiple stops for pictures and breaks with a novice hiker. lots of wildlife also seen on the trail (elk, moose, Chipmunks, various birds). the fern trail side of the loop is not as pretty as the cub lake trail side.

hiking
1 month ago

Awesome trail! Did it in the early-late afternoon. We saw tons of elk (easily 100+) and on the way to the lake saw two moose! None on the way back though so take your time and really look at ponds, etc on the way. Beautiful views of the Rockies in the distance throughout the whole hike.

hiking
1 month ago

Get to the trailhead early to find a parking spot otherwise you might be out of luck. Trail was rated at moderate and I found it to be exactly that. I did the loop - the trailhead to Cub Lake then on to The Pool (about 1 more mile) then back to parking lot. All in all was almost 7.75 miles. A few spots with some ice but it was easy to get around it.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful trail with a nice variety of views. Snow & ice has disappeared as of 4/29. I saw a nice variety of wildlife on this trail. Steady, fairly easy climb up to Cub Lake, which rewards you with beautiful views and a great place to take a rest. The loop back has some outstanding mountain views and then leads you along a river, popular with fly fishers. Highly recommended!

2 months ago

We started at Nymph Lake, intending to go to Alberta Falls and beyond, but we’re clearly unprepared as the trails were so packed they were like ice. So we came to try Cub Lake trail’s lower elevation and were not disappointed! It’s fairly flat in the early going but before too long it climbs and affords some great scenery. The lake itself is gorgeous and we had it all to ourselves, probably due to some light snow/sleet but it was no problem. This is a great first-day hike for people looking to acclimate before taking one of the more challenging hikes at higher elevations.

hiking
2 months ago

Absolutely gorgeous views especially rounding the first right when you get a glimpse of the mountains. Micro spikes would have been helpful farther up about a half mile from the lake. Quietly passed within 6 feet of a young male elk feasting higher up the mountain. Majestic. Plenty of elk at the base of the mountain on our way out. Definitely a peaceful and soul-filling hike.

hiking
3 months ago

Pretty easy hike and would be easier without any snow. I would do it again.

4 months ago

Today the trail started off muddy and with a little snow. Once you get past Cub lake the snow got very deep in spots. Bring poles and snow pants to make it easier.

hiking
4 months ago

Great winter hike! It was very windy but it hadn't snowed in a while so the snow was mostly packed down up the lake. After the lake down to the pools, gaiters would be helpful as the snow has drifted knee deep in some places. The fern lake section had a bit more ice but I didn't have spikes. I started early but the trailhead parking was a bit full when I left. The loop took me about 3 hrs but I wasn't going that quickly.

hiking
6 months ago

Great hike! A few sporadic ice patches, but the trail is still pretty clear. I would highly recommend this loop.

7 months ago

Great hike with diverse types of scenery. Moderate hike—you do climb quite a bit. Cub lake is gorgeous and was secluded while we were up there. No snow or ice today.

8 months ago

Great views!

hiking
8 months ago

Did this hike on 9/30 with my husband. Absolutely stunning, completed the loop and this was my first hike since moving to Colorado a couple months ago. Had to stop and catch my breath a few times going up due to altitude but over all a pretty easy trail. Wouldn't suggest going on weekends due to high volume of people.

8 months ago

I didn't get to complete the hike, just a short hike because of rain. I did thoroughly enjoy the views and jumping the puddles!

hiking
8 months ago

This is a fun hike that we enjoy. There are a number of steps to go up getting to Cub Lake. So, it is really more of a moderate hike in my opinion. The loop is preferable to us to the out-and-back hike to the lake, but be aware that the last part of the loop is along the road to the Fern Lake parking lot.

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