Cub Lake Loop - Rocky Mountain National Park

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Summary

This trail initially gives you great views across Moraine Park, rolls easily for around 1.75 miles, and then the climb becomes steeper and more technical, up to the open area that borders Cub Lake

Written by

Courtney Johnson

Distance

6.0 miles

Destination Distance From Downtown

1.5 miles

Difficulty

2 of 5 diamonds

Time To Complete

1 hours

1 - 2 hours

Seasonality

Spring, Summer, and Fall

Dog Friendly

No

Fees Permits

Yes

$20 for 7 day pass

Review

Intro

Cub Lake is best run in a clockwise direction. The best parking is at the lot before the Fern Lake trail head that has the rest rooms;  there are more spaces there and this lot tends to fill up second after the main lot at the trail head.

What Makes It Great

To begin, run south on the dirt road to the Cub Lake trail head; take a right onto the Cub Lake trail. This trail initially gives you great views across Moraine Park, a great area for elk viewing, particularly in the Fall when the rut is in full swing and the bull elk bugles carry eerily across the park! The trail rolls easily for around 1.75 miles, and then the climb becomes steeper and more technical, up to the open area that borders Cub Lake. 

The best place to enjoy the full panorama of Cub Lake is at the northern end of the trail, where the rail rises above the lake border and gives you wonderful views. From here there is a 1 mile descent down to the Pool. There are sections that are more technical, and require some care, with others that are a flat out scream. At the Pool, follow the trail to Fern Lake trail head. This is a rolling descent over 1.7 miles until you reach the Fern Lake trail head and parking area. From there, take the dirt road back to the second Fern Lake parking area. A great run!

Who is Going to Love It

This is a solid loop for intermediate and strong runners, though newer runners can slow the pace down to suit their needs. The views are stunning throughout the run, especially if done in early autumn as the leaves change color. 

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

To reach the Fern Lake trailhead from Bear Lake Road, follow Moraine Park Road for a half-mile to an unmarked junction - just before reaching the Moraine Park Campground. Turn left at the junction and drive roughly 1.9 miles to the Fern Lake Trailhead. Along the way you'll pass the Fern Lake shuttle stop. You will have the option of taking the free hiker shuttle from the Moraine Park Visitor Center, but you'll have to walk an additional eight-tenths of mile along the dirt road to reach the trailhead.

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Location

Fern Lake Trailhead

40.354876, -105.63116

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