Cub Lake Trail Loop

MODERATE 441 reviews
#19 of 205 trails in

Cub Lake Trail Loop is a 6 mile heavily 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

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

snowshoeing

trail running

walking

bird watching

forest

lake

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

rocky

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.

hiking
3 days ago

Beautiful hike

5 days ago

We hiked the loop counter clockwise and it took about 3 hours. I would allow at least that much time to do the loop. Starts off very easy and then hits a rocky section where you get most of the elevation gain. It’s a beautiful hike although sad to see all the beetle damaged trees around cub lake. The hike after cub lake continues up for a bit but then you descend into a beautiful canyon and then reach the pools. A very restful spot. The rest of the hike is fairly easy with the only negative being the last half mile being on the access road.

hiking
rocky
11 days ago

hiking
13 days ago

Good first hike in RMNP

hiking
bugs
16 days ago

Taking this one clockwise, the start is a lovely view of the valley. The trail is well marked. The largest climb is in the first third of the hike. The lake itself was a tad disappointing with some kind of plant life looking like it is taking over the lake. Also, many dead trees and charred logs along the path detract from what would otherwise be a beautiful trail. Still many pretty views and the path back by the water is refreshing. Be prepared to avoid horse droppings on the back half. The large mosquitos along the road in the final mile back to the start were swarming. Definitely recommend bug spray for that section. If you are out of shape at all, be prepared to take a good number of breaks along the first half. Parking around 10AM was only along the road. Arrive early to ensure a spot.

hiking
bugs
20 days ago

Took my son (7) on his first backpacking trip this weekend. He loved it - had to make semi frequent rest stops but otherwise didn’t seem overwhelmed. Lots of wildlife and flowers (didn’t see any moose or bear). The camp site next to cub lake is beautiful. Would definitely recommend this as a good option for first time backpackers.

hiking
21 days ago

Arrived late, close to noon, so parking was challenging but trail wasn't very crowded. Comfortable hike, lots of shade.

21 days ago

Beautiful wild flowers. We hiked up cub lake then over to fern trail. Just beautiful everywhere.

hiking
1 month ago

Walked the trail with a 9 year old. Not too busy in the early morning. We saw a bear and a moose. Lots of wild flowers and varying geology. Definitely need sunscreen and bug spray.

hiking
bugs
1 month ago

Great trail - lots of mosquitos bring spray. Saw a moose yesterday and heard others they had seen even more! Popular trail but not overly trafficked.

hiking
1 month ago

hiked this morning 7/9. lily pads have bloomed at the lake. lots of wildflowers. LOTS of mosquitos - definitely bring bug spray if going anytime soon.

hiking
bugs
1 month ago

Fairy easy well marked trail up to cub lake. The lake itself was interesting with lots of Lilly pads. It was also cool seeing the trees which were affected by a fire a few years back. There were a lot of wildflowers and a ridiculous number of mosquitos. Be sure to bring bug spray! The big Thompson River was cool to see and is roaring with all of the snow melt off. This was a decent hike, but compared to some of the other RMNP hikes it fell a little short

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful trail. Nice mix of flat areas and some ascents. We used the trail to help us acclimate. Still lots of reminders of the Fern fire but it actually is a nice contrast.

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

Fun hike. Ended up at the lake which had hundreds of floating lily pads, and a view of the Rocky Mountains in the background. Grab a seat along the trail to have lunch or admire the view. The trail goes from a paved path to some rocky spots, and crosses paths of water as well. Nothing too crazy. There’s some incline, too! Beautiful views along the way.

hiking
1 month ago

Nice hike. Much of the vegetation around Cub Lake was burned in the Fern Lake Fire several years ago. It is interesting to see how the forest is rejuvenating.

hiking
1 month ago

Excellent hike. I would comment that the hike comes out at a different trail head at a distance of 6 miles. You have an extra mile walk down the road back to the cub trailhead - 7 miles total.

hiking
muddy
1 month ago

A fun trail to complete. Saw plentiful elk and chipmunks, and some fresh moose tracks. Trail is moderately busy until Cub lake, then thins. Not the most beautiful lake in RNMP, but the fire damage along the trek made it a very different view. Some say the fire damage hurt the trail, but I liked it, lots of character. No big boulders to scramble up, but lots of rocks and muddy areas, good shoes are helpful. Last mile of the trail is dirt road to connect Fern TH to Cub TH and complete the loop.

hiking
muddy
rocky
1 month ago

I went with a couple friends and carried my daughter on my back. The hike wasn't bad at all.

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful trail even with the fire damage. Tons of birds and chipmunks. Many great views. We did clockwise route which may be easier since there isn’t as much ascending as the opposite route. We were a group with varying skill levels and everyone did fine. Full trip with short stops about 3.5 to 4 hours.

hiking
2 months ago

Hiked this loop on June 17, 2019. We did it clockwise and ran into several people but it all thinned out once we reached Cub Lake as several people hiked to Cub Lake and then turned around. We have hiked in the RMNP now for a week and this has been my favorite hike so far as it's a great mix of widen open spaces (when you first start out), then passing several ponds until you have a bit of a hike up to Cub Lake. Very beautiful and idyllic. The hike from Cub Lake to the Pool was rewarding and mostly downhill. Once we reached the Pool the trail got busy again but it was still wonderful to hike along the river and see the boulders on the left. I'd do this one again in a heartbeat!

hiking
2 months ago

Great hike! Went clockwise but ran into quite a few people going the other direction. It seems out to the lake and back is a popular trek. Saw tons of wildlife- moose, elk, marmot, deer, and tons of chipmunks. I’m used to very technical rocky hikes in the desert southwest, so for me this was “easy”, though the higher elevation did make the ascents a little challenging. The trail is well marked and wide in most areas. The are some offshoots that seem to lead to campgrounds, however we didn’t venture off the main trail to see. Hope to be back and hike it again.

hiking
2 months ago

This was a nice trail. The area around Cub Lake burned sometime in the recent past so there is not a lot of green around the lake. We took our 11 year old and he made the trip with an allowable amount of whining : )

hiking
2 months ago

Started at Cub Lake trail head and ended up at Fern Lake. What a great first day hike , 11.2 miles. Get there early!

hiking
2 months ago

My family hiked this trail today and I definitely recommend it! Overall, the trail was in great condition, just a few muddy/wet areas. Being midweek, it wasn’t crowded at all. We saw lots of wildlife (male moose hanging out in a pond right next to the trail, mule deer, elk, baby deer/fawn, and many different birds), which was a highlight for us all. Lots of snow run off now so river was running high & fast, and several little falls/run areas along the loop. We completed the loop in clockwise direction as suggested by others here. I think it would be more challenging (steeper in sections) if you went counterclockwise.

hiking
rocky
2 months ago

We hiked this loop yesterday and it was in great condition. Trail is easy to follow and is accessible to most hikers. Lots of wildlife including moose, elk, marmot, and hummingbirds. Plenty of waterfalls and springs. Area has visible signs of major fire damage—not sure how old. Definitely suggest a clockwise route here so the final mile is an easy road walk back to the car.

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful hike. Fairly easy! Tons of wildlife

hiking
2 months ago

While Cub Lake itself wasn’t anything crazy, there were spectacular views during the entire trail. Wildlife from moose, snakes, and elk were all spotted during our trek.

hiking
2 months ago

This is a good trail. I started out on the hike at 7:30 AM. I came across the Meadows and there was a herd of elk which was really magnificent. I continued on the trail and came across a young moose in a puddle of water. The moose was not startled by people he was just enjoying himself in the pool while I continued on my hike. I was a little disappointed arriving at Cub Lake. The vegetation around the lake was damage maybe by wildfires. I continued on pass the lake and was going down to the creek. Hikers I passed notified me that another moose was in the woods. I thought it was fantastic to have two moose sightings on the same day on the same trail. I took Fern Lake trail back to the parking. I passed plenty of people heading up to Fern Lake. Overall I like this hike especially seeing the wildlife.

hiking
2 months ago

some wet spots but otherwise great trail

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