Sunday, July 29, 2012

Cub Lake

Too often in my life I forget how important it is to get out into nature, relax & enjoy the splendor of the land that surrounds me.  My life gets way to busy between work, home, friends & family.  I believe I’m doing fine because I keep moving forward but I forget that without my deep connection to nature & the outdoors, I am never as complete as I can be.  I have made a promise to myself that I will try to get out into the mountains at least every other week.  As my knowledge of the area grows & I begin to find different places to go, my heart fills with the discovery of these new places.  I hope as I write this column that I can give you a small sense of the wonder that I find in the simplest things & I hope if nothing else through my writing & pictures I compel you to venture out into the great expanses of Colorado.
Cub Lake:

In the short time that I’ve been here one of my favorite places to go on a regular basis is Rocky Mountain National Park.  As I continue to write here I’m sure that I will share many of the trails that I’ve had the opportunity to explore in this beautiful place.   Today I want to bring you along to Cub Lake.
Cub Lake can be a fairly easy hike, the trail length from the Cub lake trailhead to the lake itself is only 2.3 miles (or 4.6 miles roundtrip).  My wife Heidi & I decided on this day to make the hike a little more difficult by creating our own loop back to the Cub Lake trailhead.  We did this by adding a second hike to the Cub Lake trail, the Pool.  The pool hike is 1.7 miles one way & this trail ends about 1.2 miles from Cub Lake.  By adding this trial & the transition from Cub Lake to the pool & from the Fern Lake Trail head back to the Cub Lake trail head we hiked approximately 6 miles.
The hike begins at an elevation of 8,080 feet, if you’re going to drive yourself to the trail head you need to get there early.  There is very limited parking at both the Cub Lake & Fern Lake trail heads.  The national Park Service during the summer months has a free shuttle that will take you to Cub Lake.  This shuttle runs approximately every hour from  the park & ride location.


The trail begins in a beautiful meadow.  You walk for a ways across this meadow with lovely views of the surrounding peaks everywhere you look.  There are some aspen trees interspersed with the meadow but for the most part you are just walking through a vast wide open meadow.  Within ½ mile or so we came across a herd of Elk. 

These Elk were so close to us we could have reached out & touched them.  We allowed them to move as they wished & slowly continued on the path forward.
 Cub Lake, according to the National Park service, is a moderate hike that gains 540 feet in elevation as you move up to the actual lake. The views you are able to enjoy on this hike make it well worth your time & energy.                                                           

The trail ahead can be rocky, I always suggest wearing a good pair of hiking boots even in the warmer weather.  This gives you plenty of support as you walk along the rocky trail.

The hardest part of this hike is that all of the elevation gain (540 feet) is in the last ½ mile or so. The first 2 miles are relatively easy as you cross the meadow & move through the valley between the soaring peaks of the Rockies.

Cub Lake from this approach isn’t the easiest to see right away, as you move along the upper backs of the lake you’ll be rewarded with a magnificent view. 

We sat & enjoyed the lake for quite some time before we began our journey across to the pool trail.

The walk from Cub Lake to The Pool is through a forest.The trees truly surround you along this path.I imagine I’ll need to re-visit this hike in the fall to take in all the beautiful colors on this segment.

  Besides the trees the path is dotted with wonderful waterfalls & the sounds of the Big Thompson river.
The pool is an interesting place where you can enjoy the Big Thompson river up close.  The true power of this river shows as it churns into the backwater that creates the pool.  This is a very crowded area & thus can be difficult to find a place to sit & enjoy the pool.  We only stayed for a brief period of time but we’ll always remember the power of the water.
The final return back to the Fern Lake trail head is again through mostly an open meadow that runs parallel with the Big Thompson most of the way back.  Again this portion is fairly easy.  Once you get to the Fern lake trail head you’ll have to walk back approximately ¾ of a mile to reach your beginning point at the Cub Lake trail head.  If you took the shuttle you can pick up the shuttle at Fern Lake as well.
This hike will take you between 3-4 hours depending on your pace & how much time you spend that the various outlooks along the way.  Heidi & I took about 5 hours to complete this hike.

Till next time, 


No comments:

Post a Comment