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Rocky Mountain National Park: Cub Lake Loop

This 5.9-mile loop is great for eager flatlanders who are acclimating to the thin Rocky Mountain air.

Trip Tools

At the center of this 5.9-mile loop is Moraine Park and the braided blues of the Big Thompson River, a world-class flyfishing river and stomping grounds for resident elk herds. Starting at the Club Lake Trailhead off of Fern Lake Road, hike clockwise and cross the river.

From here, you’ll climb roughly 800 feet (this is little elevation gain compared to other trails in the park) past a campsite to Club Lake. Pause at several outposts to grab photos of Steep Mountain and Stones Peak.

Hikers rejoin the grassy banks of the Big Thompson after 3.6 miles, then trace its banks going east past giant boulders and marshy areas. Trail ends at Fern Lake Road. To close the loop, walk the road back to the trailhead.

INFO For information on permits, current trail and camp conditions, and wilderness guidelines, go to

PERMIT A wilderness permit is required for all overnight camping in the backcountry. Reservations accepted ($20 administrative fee for permits during peak season).

CONTACT Rocky Mountain National Park, (970) 586-1206;

-Mapped by Jeff Chow

To Trailhead

From Marys Lake Rd. and US 36 W/Trail Ridge Rd. in Estes Park, head west on US 36/Trail Ridge Rd. In 2.3 miles, turn left onto Bear Lake Rd. In 1.3 miles, turn right onto Moraine Park Campground Rd. In 0.5 mile, turn left onto Fern Lake Rd. Go 1.5 miles to parking area on right.

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