Cub Lake Trail Loop

MODERATE 268 reviews
#19 of 178 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 minutes ago

Pretty easy hike as far as elevation climb goes.. it is mostly flat with only small inclines and declines. The burned trees don't make for the prettiest sight but the lake full of lily pads is beautiful! Probably not my favorite hike but seemed family friendly as we saw lots of families with very young kids hiking. The creek and boulders are also a neat part of this trail.

hiking
10 hours ago

We started out early (7:30) and avoided most of the crowds. Headed out from the fern TH to make the finish easier - better to walk 1 mile on a dirt road when it’s cool and empty. We saw wild turkeys, elk, marmots. The lake is nice, but the pool is way better. Coming down along the Big Thompson river was crowded. Loved it. Done with an 11 and 13yo.

hiking
15 days ago

My husband and I tried this one at a friend’s suggestion. The burned trees are sad to see, but the meadow is lush and there is a lot of healthy vegetation. The first couple of miles are a gradual incline, rocky in places, but manageable. The lake is a little over two miles in and it is gorgeous! It’s covered in lily pads. After the lake, the trail winds through some wooded areas and the Thompson River becomes visible. It’s also very pretty and there are multiple places to rest, have a snack, and dip your toes in the water. About a mile and a half before the end, there are several large, random boulders. We saw several people practicing their bouldering skills. All in all, a great hike with lots of photo ops.

hiking
17 days ago

Wonderful trail. Great wildflowers. the hike is a great start. slow build to a good climb and around. Don't forget that you start at either cub lake trailhead or Fern lake trail head and end at the other one. they are a mile apart to walk between. wasn't too crowded in the morning. must do hike.

hiking
21 days ago

Did this on 7/21/18. Get to trailhead early! Do this loop clockwise
so you go by the meadows first increasing your chance of seeing elk and deer. Lots of wildflowers, moderate elevation gain and great views at the top. Look for wild raspberries- yum! Nice lake and some aspen groves. The hike back after the pool is crowded and mostly flat.

hiking
21 days ago

First third is easy! Second third is somewhat rocky and begins the incline. Last third is fairly steep and very rocky. Wonderful lake...quiet and peaceful.

hiking
1 month ago

One of the best moderate hikes in RMNP, I really love this one. Make sure you bring plenty of water and a camera as this trail offers great views, wildlife, and a relaxing journey. Get there early in the summer as the trail gets quite full the closer to noon you get.

Allow for at least 3 hours, maybe closer to 4 depending on how much time you take to rest. Also plan on it being close to 7 miles total if you park at one entrance or another as they are a mile apart from each other.

If you can, go in the fall, as the fall leaves are truly mesmerizing.

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike! Flowers still out in full force. I recommend getting there early because parking is tight later in the day. I got there by 8am and saw few people until 10am. I saw an elk and mule deer. The stream is beautiful. I was wearing a full pack for the first time and it was a great trail for that.

1 month ago

Crowded as hell so many rude people, couldn’t go more than 15 seconds without seeing someone else

1 month ago

Nice little 10K loop.

1 month ago

Good first hike to acclimate to altitude. Nice views with limited elevation

hiking
1 month ago

I think there is much nicer hike around there

1 month ago

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

1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month ago

a great hike via "the pool".

hiking
2 months 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
2 months 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
2 months 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
2 months ago

hiking
2 months 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.

2 months 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
2 months ago

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

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful hike. No snow on trails.

2 months 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
2 months 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.

2 months ago

Beautiful. Fairly gentle incline, not too difficult.

hiking
2 months 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
3 months 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.

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