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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.

Length 6.0 mi Elevation gain 744 ft Route type Loop
Kid friendly Hiking Horseback riding Nature trips Snowshoeing Walking Bird watching Running Forest Lake River Views Wild flowers Wildlife Muddy Rocky Snow No dogs
Description
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Getting There

Reservations to enter the park will go on sale through Recreation.gov at 8 a.m. Mountain Time on Thursday, May 28. Reservations will be available to enter the park from June 4 through July 31. The next release will be on July 1, for the month of August and any remaining days that have not been booked for July. On August 1, reservations will be available for the month of September and any remaining days that have not been booked for August. On September 1, reservations will be available for the month of October and any remaining days in September that have not been booked. Permits issued using the reservation system will allow park visitors to enter the park within two-hour windows of availability between 6 a.m. through 5 p.m. This process will facilitate advance payment of entrance fees, minimize contact between park entrance station staff and visitors and limit congestion in parking lots. The permit system will apply to all areas of the park. In the initial opening phase, the park will open approximately 60 percent of the park’s maximum parking capacity or 4,800 vehicles (13,500 visitors) per day.

Limited Parking at the Cub Lake TH. Recommend parking before 9 AM.

Colorado Tourism Office, 1625 Broadway, Suite 1700 , Denver, CO, 80202, Phone: 800-COLORADO

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.

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Reviews (815)
Photos (1590)
Recordings (604)
Completed (1982)
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Nikita Lenzo
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HikingGreat!

Easy, low-traffic trail. The lake looked stunning and serene with the lily pads drifting and changing fall colors. We came to Estes to watch the elk bugling, and ended up spotting a lazy black bear on our hike. What a bonus! Very exciting! Also spied many magpies.

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Tasha Ullom
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HikingGreat!

Love the variety of the terrain. Easy, but long. Good starter hike!

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Justin Hayden
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Walking
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Justin Blankenship
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Hiking
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Benjamin Schreiber
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Hiking

A very nice, easy hike, for the afternoon. You get a great variety of terrane, with some really beautiful cliffs. I wish we had time to also make it to Fern lake, but it was getting dark. Elk at the beginning, and a nice like. You have to hike about a mile on the road, unless you time the shuttle, but still worth it.

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chad ullom
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Hiking
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LeeAnn Marshall
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Hiking
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Rene Oya
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Hiking

The Cub Lake loop is a steady climb to Cub. From the Pool it is an easy walk back to the car

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Ryan Conlon
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Hiking
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David lloyd
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Hiking
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Peter Donlon
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Hiking
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Richard Nash
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HikingBlowdownGreat!

We encountered heard of herd of Elk just off the trail head. Being fall you could hear the males bugling and cows calling back. There was a fire in the valley that started from and illegal campfire in 2012 and burned for some time before is was fully extinguished. Consequently, there is lots of burned trees on the ground and still standing. Aspen trees and shrubs are just starting to turn. We ate lunch on rocks just off the lake. Lots of chipmunks that have been fed as they are looking for a handout :-( which is unfortunate. We do not feed wildlife. The view of Cub lake is best from the west end as the trail rises. You get a great view of the circular water Lillie's. I thought doing the loop is worth it. After you hike out of Cub Lake you drop into the valley over the ridge that has the trail to Fern / Bear Lake. The Fern Lake trail is more crowded than Cub Lake but way less crowded than Bear Lake area. Alot of folks are wearing masks when you pass so that's good.

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Hannah Rick
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HikingGreat!Rocky

Great hike! Starting out getting to see the elk in the meadow is so cool. Once you get past the lake it’s a nice decent along the river.

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Justin Van Nostrand
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Hiking
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Karen Drake
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Hiking

Great trail if you do the loop. On the front end we passed by the meadows and got to see a herd of elk. When the trail starts rising in elevation you pass through deep forest and then an aspen grove before arriving at the lake. After passing the lake you will begin your decent passing through a burned out section of the forest. The views here are awesome as you make your way down the ridge line to the valley below. Once you are at the bottom you will hike beside a beautiful mountain stream through the forest for about 2 miles. One thing to keep in mind is that you will end up at the fern lake trailhead. It is a mile walk on a dirt road back to the cub lake trailhead.

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Linda Giesecke
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HikingMuddy

Nice loop trail with diverse views. Herd of elk at the trailhead, open views of the meadow, followed by a gradual incline to Cub Lake. Trees near the lake were blackened by a previous fire, which was interesting to see. Too cloudy to appreciate the full views of the mountains...

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Jenni Rickman
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Hiking

Great hike! There was a herd of elk on the trail that we had to wait on to move, but was fun to watch them! And yes, the mile on the dirt road is a drag.

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Greg Hendle
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HikingGreat!

We enjoyed this 6 mile loop! It was not as crowded as Bear Lake or Sky Pond, which was a plus. We parked near Cub Lake trailhead at around 9:30am. Also took a relaxing lunch break at The Pool. From there it was a beautiful little stretch to the Fern Lake trailhead. Then about a mile on the dirt road back to our car — the only negative of this hike.

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Benjamin Graybill
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Hiking

Nice trail. Only downside is the mile that is on a dirt road

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Lotem Alon
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Hiking

Beautiful hike! Views change constantly and the hike is not difficult. Great value for effort ;-)

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Paul Robinson
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Hiking

Nice hike. On the lighter side of moderate I would say. If you go clockwise from cub lake trailhead all of the climbing is done in first 2 miles to cub lake. All down hill from there and beautiful.

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Paulina M
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Hiking
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Lauren Brueckner
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Hiking

Very nice hike, not very difficult. We were hoping to see Elk but never came across any. The Cub Lake is very nice. There are lots of burned trees so the scenery isn't amazing, but still a decent hike.

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Alessandra Politi
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HikingRocky
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Miranda Machula
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HikingNo shadeRocky

Like other reviewers have said we saw tons of wildlife on this hike. There are lots of things to see along the way which keeps it interesting. My one gripe with this hike is there are a lot of points where the trail is so rocky you have to look at your feet instead of the beautiful scenery. But overall it was worth it!

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Christen Romano
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HikingRocky

Long trail. Starts out easy. Today was great because we saw lots of wildlife. Elk, a moose and wild turkeys. Cub lake was a great view for lunch.

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Chris Kuptz
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Hiking
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