Friday, October 03, 2008

Rocky Mountain N.P. - Fall Colors at Cub Lake

Even though we had tons of things to do at the house, like unpack and organize all our stuff, after all we just moved to Colorado two days ago. All that had to wait. We just had to get out to the Rocky Mountain National Park, the fall colors were peaking!

We really wanted to camp at the park but there was no way I could find all of the camping gear and all the warm clothes and still leave early enough to grab a campsite. Our stuff was in boxes all over the house. It took me a couple of hours just to find my daypack and a jacket.

Before we even left Illinois Mike was already planning our fall colors hike. He did some research on the web and found a hike for us that would deliver the best fall colors. The hike around Cub Lake was supposed to be spectacular this time of the year.

We got to the park around 11AM. The park was packed with people. In addition to peaking fall colors it was also the mating season for the elk in the park. There were large herds of elk hanging out throughout the park. During the mating season you can hear the bulls do their mating calls, called bugling. This was causing stop and go traffic in the park.

At the start of Cub Lake Trail

Near the beginning of Cub Lake Trail

The trail to Cub Lake begins at the west end of Moraine Park. Cub Lake sits at 8,620 feet in elevation the trailhead starts at 8,080 feet in elevation. This is a fairly easy to moderate trail with an easy elevation gain. It starts out flat then gradually starts climbing.

Elk near the beginning of Cub Lake Trail

The colorful Cub Lake Trail

The star of the show, the Colorado aspen

At the top of the Cub Lake Trail in the rain , this must be Cub Lake down there

Mike on Cub Lake Trail

The temperatures were in the mid to high 60’s when we stared the hike but near Cub Lake it started to rain a bit. The rain didn’t last but the temperature dropped at least 15 degrees and never went back up.

From Cub Lake we continued on the Fern Lake Trail, now heading back down in elevation. This trail runs along the Big Thompson River. We brought sandwiches with us and stopped for a late lunch near the river.

Big Thompson River along Fern Lake Trail

Our lunch spot near the Big Thompson River

Fern Lake Trail

Towards the end of Fern Lake Trail

Views from Fern Lake Trail

The loop we did was 6 miles long. The views along the six miles were amazing and varied significantly from one mile to another. The elk, the mountains, the stands of golden aspens were definitely worth a trip to the park. Fall is definitely the most beautiful season at the Rocky Mountain National Park and the best way to experience fall here, is on a hike.

Leaving Moraine Park

Serious photographers at the park

A herd of elk

A lonely elk

Groves of golden aspen trees

1 comment:

Mike said...

WOW! Welcome to the West. Enjoy!