The Cub Lake trail is another one of those trails that I rode often in the summers of ’13 and ’14. It is a relatively easy trail, and quite beautiful. It’s a great one to ride with guests.
As I have mentioned previously, RMNP is on a timed entry system. In order to access the Fern Lake parking area, you must have access to Bear Lake Road. And to do that, you must have a pass with a 2-hour entry window.
Alan and I didn’t communicate very well when he jumped on the computer to get July passes. It is much like getting tickets to a popular concert. You must keep refreshing your screen and hope it goes as planned. He acquired passes for the 9-11 AM window. While that is awesome when it comes to sleeping in, it is not so awesome when it comes to getting a parking spot (at least in years past) or beating the daily thunderstorms…
To add insult to injury, the day we rode this trail was the day we needed to acquire passes for August. The passes go on sale at 10 AM. Therefore, we drove to Estes and parked at the marina while I got on my computer to get next month’s passes. After I was successful at that endeavor, we decided to see if there was any chance of parking at the Fern Lake parking lot at that late hour. I had no idea what the timed entry system would do to the crowds in popular areas. Certainly, in years past, there would have been no way to get a spot at that time of day.
Shockingly, it was a ghost town! We had no trouble parking our truck and trailer. We started riding a little after 11 AM and our total time was 2:45. We did encounter rain at the end and managed to get the horses in the trailer before the downpour.
The road leading to the parking lot is narrow and in worse shape than I remember from years ago. It was here in 2014 that I had a woman clip my trailer bumper as we were heading in opposite directions and she didn’t hug her side of the road. This time, however, we encountered very little traffic.
If you take the trail counterclockwise, you start by riding down the road a short distance to the Fern Lake trailhead. This is the trail that takes you to the Pool. There is a large parking area there, but not one that accommodates trailers. My parents’ ashes were scattered into the waters of the Pool, per their request. Obviously, this place has special meaning for me.
Cub Lake itself is absolutely gorgeous. On the way back around, we encountered a mama moose and her calf. That is definitely not an everyday occurrence. More moose are present on the western slopes than on the eastern slopes. This short video starts with a clip of the Pool and ends with some footage of the mama moose.
If following this trail counterclockwise, you come out on one end of Moraine Park. The river is tranquil and beautiful. It is barely a quarter-mile from that point back down the road to the parking area.
Our total distance on this ride was 6.4 miles, with an elevation climb of only 659 feet. As mentioned previously, this is an easy and beautiful ride. However, there is quite a bit of fire damage. In fact, a trail that goes up starting at the Pool is closed due to fire damage.
We returned to this parking area the next week and rode east into Moraine Meadows… and to another area of particular significance to me. Watch for that story in the coming weeks.
Our new tags will arrive any day now! There is still time to get 20% off on pre-orders. Be ready for anything this year!