Cub Lake Trail Loop

MODERATE 184 reviews
#18 of 152 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

trail running

walking

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

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.

3 days 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
22 days 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
1 month ago

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

2 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
2 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
4 months ago

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

5 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.

6 months ago

Great views!

hiking
6 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.

6 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
6 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.

hiking
6 months ago

This is not an easy hike. Probably an easy hike for a local, but not someone looking for an easy trail on vacation. Granted, there is a lot of flat sections, but the climb up to Cub Lake is steep. Really enjoyed it. Get there early, like 6:30 and take in the elk. We added more altitude by going up to fern falls midway around.

hiking
6 months ago

hiking
6 months ago

Went in September. This lake gets its name legitimately. There was a cub on one side of the lake and then on the other an adult bear, just chilling between us and another pack of hikers in the trail. About 45 minutes and then the adult bear went on its way, there were also a couple snacks on the roundtrip back to the car. Beautiful hike, mets some fun people and got to see animals.. just be mindful that you will see animals

6 months ago

Nice walk, pretty flat, lightly trafficked, good chance of seeing elk

birding
7 months ago

I find it strange that the "Cub Lake" out and back version on here is rated Moderate, but this loop (which encompasses the same trail as the other one) is rated Easy. This is definitely a moderate trail. The beginning is easy, but then it's all up from there.

However, it is SO WORTH IT. Beautiful views, wildlife everywhere, and beautiful lake. For birding, amazing! I saw Gray Headed Dark Eyed Juncos, Wilson's Warbler, Tennessee Warbler, Mountain Chickadees, Northern Flickers, and Mountain Bluebirds.

Beware the chipmunks at the lake. WAY too friendly and I had to physically remove them from me continually. I couldn't even sit and eat my lunch as they were absolutely harassing. So instead, I climbed to the highest point of the trail and ate lunch overlooking the mountains with a flock of bluebirds. absolutely my favorite hike from my weekend in RMNP.

hiking
7 months ago

Hiked clockwise and greatly preferred the first half through the meadows, up to Cub Lake and down to the pool. Saw an adolescent bear on our trail at Cub Lake, had to wait for him to pass along and go eat berries. Lovely hike though much of the area is regenerating (after a fire?). Hear many people have seen an owl hanging out at the hitching post near Cub Lake though we didn't see him. The last half along the Fern Lake Trail was more crowded and less scenic, though popular with fishermen.

hiking
8 months ago

Beautiful trail that is pretty easy. The section following the Big Thompson River is one of my favorite sections of a trail of all time.

hiking
8 months ago

Moderate hike to cub lake. Lots of pine damage once you get there. Went on to the pools as came face to face with a momma elk and two fawns still with spots. Nothing better than stopping in your tracks and watching ...

8 months ago

Not an easy hike. Most people turned around at the lake instead of doing the loop. Well worth the effort with some great views along the way.

hiking
8 months ago

Beautiful, not crowded at all. Got there at 8, plenty of parking. saw two moose and a deer.

hiking
8 months ago

Great hiking.. took 3 kids with us and has a blast

8 months ago

harder than I expected for an easy trail...very Rocky at the top.

hiking
9 months ago

Loved this hike! The trail starts with an easy walk through beautiful green grasslands, but gets tough in the last half mile or so before the lake - steep and lots of rocks. It's not too bad though - I saw a handful of kids on the trail who were doing just fine. All that said, there weren't a ton of people, which was awesome given this time of year!

hiking
9 months ago

It was a very pretty hike and saw some wildlife, including a moose. It was pretty quiet when we went around 4ish. Don't forget the bug spray, nasty mosquitoes...

9 months ago

Awesome hike and had a great time with the family

9 months ago

Great views. Something to see along the entire loop. Start at Cub Lake trailhead and return via Fern Lake

9 months ago

Easy trail with beautiful meadows at the beginning. Enjoyed the fast moving river going along side the trail when heading back to Cub Lake trailhead. Unfortunately much of the trail was running through a burned area. Enjoyed all the birds along the trail.

hiking
10 months ago

Not an easy hike by any means. I'd call this more moderate. The terrain is rocky and bumpy in many spots. Beautiful scenery!

10 months ago

Definitely not "easy". Would say it's moderate for the elevation gain. Views from the top were worth the climb. Cub Lake was very pretty with all the lily pads. Streams and river provided a great soundtrack for much of the hike. No wildlife, but we got a late morning start.

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