Elk are a common sight in Moraine Park
Moraine Park CG, with 245 sites, is located in a ponderosa pine forest above the meadows of Moraine Park about 1/2 mile from Bear Lake Rd.
Cub Lake Trail
- Length: 4.6 miles RT
- Elev gain: 540 ft
- Rating: 5.7 Moderate
- Hiking Time: min. 2 hour 20 mins
The trail travels through abundant early summer wildflowers and is an elk-watchers paradise in the spring and fall, especially in mid-afternoon.
The trail heads south from the TH and crosses the Big Thompson River before reaching the unmarked Lateral Moraine Trail junction at 0.55 miles. Bear right and travel through ideal habitat for seeing elk. The trail will become steeper and enter a thick aspen grove providing some fine fall foliage photo ops. It reaches the edge of a marsh at the Cub Creek Backcountry Campsite spur at 2.2 miles and continues west to the northeast corner of Cub Lake at 2.3 miles. Cub Lake is ringed by thick timber and marsh, discouraging exploration. Consider hiking the main trail above the lake for 0.3 miles to the Mill Creek Trail junction for better photo ops.
Fern Lake Trail
- Length: 7.6 miles RT
- Elev gain: 1,375 ft
- Rating: 10.4 Strenuous
- Hiking Time: min. 4 hours
With good fishing, abundant backcountry campsites and surrounded by 12,000 ft peaks, Fern Lake is one of Rocky Mountain National Park’s most popular destinations.
The Fern Lake Trail climbs gently alongside the Big Thompson River through a mixed forest to reach The Pool and the Cub Lake Trail junction at 1.8 miles. This section has some good fishing spots, wildlife viewing, mushroom hunting and fine fall foliage. You’ll pass a series of huge boulders known as Arch Rocks just before reaching the Pool, a whirlpool below the confluence of Spruce Creek, Fern Creek and Big Thompson River. From The Pool, the trail climbs steeply through dense firs to Fern Falls at mile 2.65. It reaches the Spruce Lake Trail junction at mile 3.8. Marguerite Falls is located nearby, just east of the main trail near the junction. Watch for social trails leading to good photo ops. From here it’s just a few hundred feet to Fern Lake. You may continue on the trail to photo ops along the east shore, explore social trails to secluded nooks and check out the inlet on the west shore. Or continue on to reach Odessa Lake at mile 4.4. Dramatic peaks loom above this spectacular mountain lake.
Moraine Park Loop
- Length: 4.7 mi RT
- Elev gain: 260 ft
- Rating: 5.2 Easy/Moderate
- Hiking Time: min. 2 hrs 30 mins
From the Cub Lake TH, head south on the Cub Lake trail across the Big Thompson River to the unmarked Lateral Moraine Trail junction at 0.6 miles and bear left. The Lateral Moraine Trail turns east, traveling through prime wildlife viewing habitat, and merges with a Park service road at 1.9 miles and continues east past private residences and Park facilities to reach a small parking area adjacent to the Big Thompson River and Bear Lake Rd at 2.7 miles. Head northwest from the parking lot through the meadow to join the Fern Lake Rd at 3.5 miles. Continue west along the road to return to the Cub Lake TH at mile 4.7.