August 9, 2012

Hike Review: Cub Lake to Fern Lake Loop

Cub Lake
Cub Lake Trail-head
Location: Rocky Mountain National Park; Cub Lake Trail-head out at Fern Lake Trail-head in Moraine Park
Distance: 6 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation Change: 8,000 feet at trail-head to 8,700 (700 foot elevation gain)
Time of year best to hike: Late June to early October
Recommended Maps: Rocky Mountain National Park

Mother Deer and Fawn

Summary: This fairly easy trail starts heading south along the western edge of Moraine Park, but soon turns west and heads slightly up in elevation into a very tame and seldom rocky canyon.  The trail is very well worn.  I got a 6:30 AM start and was all alone; at later hours this can be a very busy path.  2.3 miles after meandering along meadows, aspen groves, beaver ponds, and Rocky Mountain splendor, the lily pond Cub Lake presents itself.

The Pool on the Big Thompson

I continued northwest past the lake to the Pool section of the Big Thompson River, another 1.0 mile beyond Cub Lake.  I like hiking loops.  At the pool, I change my direction to east on the Fern Lake trail and head 1.7 miles to the trail-head.  From here, I have a one mile walk back to the Cub Lake Trail-head on a dirt road overgrown and covered by noisy aspen.  Upon my exit, both Fern Lake and Cub Lake Trail-head parking lots were full.  It was Thursday, first week in August.

Highlights: herd of elk, otter, deer and her fawn, Cub Lake, roaring Big Thompson River, Arch Rocks, The Pool

Arch Rocks
Bridge Crossing - Big Thompson

Beaver Evidence
Big Thompson River

Exit - Fern Lake Trail-head