Hiking to Cub Lake | Rocky Mountain National Park

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From craggy peaks higher than 12,000ft to gorgeous vistas, the Rocky Mountain National Park is an adventurers paradise. Located roughly 1.5 hours northwest from Denver and 3.5 hours from Colorado Springs the Rocky Mountain National Park can be accessed via two entrances: the town of Estes Park to the east and Grand Lake to the west. Weather permitting, the Rocky Mountain National Park is open year round although weather can change quickly in the mountains during fall, winter and spring.

Johnathon, Austin and I explored the park in mid-September and a few of the mountains were already dusted with snow. While we were there, we learned that it was elk rutting season. Elks are more aggressive at this time of the year, so you need to be careful not to get too close. We originally planned on going to Sprague Lake, however the road was blocked off because the lot was completely full. Instead, we hiked a shorter trail to Cub Lake.

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The trailhead begins at the bridge of the Big-Thompson River. As you venture onward, you’ll venture to the Moraine Park Valley on the left. If you’re very quiet you may hear the bugling of the elks mating call. There are a cluster of large rocks, so grab a pair of binoculars and find a place to sit, watch & listen.

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A large portion of this hiking trail passes through terrain that was charred by the Fern Lake Fire during the fall of 2012. The wildfire burned 3500 acres in the Cub Lake, lower Forest Canyon and Moraine Park areas, making it the largest wildfire in the RMNP history. Roughly 2 miles in, the trail begins to climb above the valley floor. The path becomes fairly rocky as it passes through mature aspen groves.

The hike has a very slight switchback and the elevation change is slow and steady. Once you start to gain elevation the trail is more green and there is more shade. Once you make it to cub lake you’ll be treated to a view of a gorgeous lake and mountain view. The lake is covered in lily pads and it’s the perfect place to sit and think for a while.

I loved the hike to Cub Lake. The trail was peaceful, serene and a great introductory-moderate climb.

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HAVE YOU EVER BEEN TO THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK?

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