Hike to Cub Lake from Cub Lake Trailhead – Summer Time
Saturday July 25th was upon us – time for a birthday hike! Weather was uncooperative all weekend, but we managed to sneak in a quick 5.5 mile hike in Rocky Mountain National Park to Cub Lake. 7 Years ago, this was Dave’s first hike in Colorado and we were excited for a return visit; that and there had been several moose sightings recently along the Cub Lake trail.
Video of our Hike to Cub Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park continues to operate on a timed entry system, ergo we made sure to enter the park prior to 6AM. The parking lot at Cub Lake trailhead is small, but there are options for parallel parking along the road and overflow lots nearby. Be warned that there is no bathroom at Cub Lake trailhead, but there is one up the road not too far at Fern Lake trailhead.
We arrived at Cub Lake trailhead just as the golden hour was hitting, and we quickly set the tripod up along the banks of Big Thompson River to photograph the rising sun. There were two other groups of hikers who hit the trail around the same time as us but otherwise we were alone. Cub Lake Trail is a good option for hikers of all fitness levels: there is the opportunity to experience lots of beauty and wildlife with gentle elevation gain.
Hiking through Cub Lake Trail we were surrounded by flowers and wild raspberry bushes; they were not quite ripe yet this morning but in a few days they could make a sweet little snack.
Around the 1.5 mile mark into the trail we encountered a wildlife traffic jam. There was a deer that was peacefully chewing on some fresh Colorado wildflowers. We waited patiently for the deer to move along, while Dave snapped some photographs with his 300mm telephoto lens.
Cub Lake – Elevation 8,620 ft
In no time we had arrived at Cub Lake. The lake itself was covered in lily pads, some of which were flowering. A few other hikers relaxed on nearby boulders while we snapped some pictures. Be forewarned that the banks of the lake can get real soggy – poor Dave soaked both his feet in mud.
The trail continues around the lake and we followed it some to see Cub Lake from a different perspective.
In our new location there were several hummingbirds flying around; we had never seen so many in one place before. .
We also spotted several chipmunks and squirrels darting across the path, hanging out on rocks and stealing discarded apples.
After spending an hour at Cub Lake, it was time to make the return trip back – we had a brunch reservation in Denver at noon and Dave’s wet feet I imagine were not pleasant. There is the option to make the Cub Lake hike a loop by returning via the Fern Lake Trail but we decided to retrace our steps today.
On our return journey we encountered more people utilizing the trail, though it was nowhere near as crowded as other popular destinations in Rocky Mountain National Park. While walking back we saw two marmots sunbathing on rocks, and some Western Tanagers playing in the bushes.
Unfortunately there were no moose sightings for us today (as per usual) though I would still consider this a birthday morning well spent.
The next time we return to Rocky Mountain National Park, it will be to summit the most popular 14er in the Front Range: Longs Peak. We have been preparing to bag this one for quite some time now; words cannot express how anxious we are to cross it off the list. Stay tuned!