The 2.5 mile hike to Cub Lake begins in the Moraine Valley at the Cub Lake trail head in Rocky Mountain National Park.
The hike is peaceful and scenic. The Big Thompson river winds through the valley and mountains tower in the distance.
Moraine Park is a hotspot for wildlife. We encountered a rabbit, Cooper’s Hawks, marmots, a mommy moose with her baby, a big buck elk with several female companions, chipmunks and two snakes.
Cooper’s Hawks– A fellow hiker told us to look out for Cooper’s Hawks and we soon spotted what I believe to be a Cooper’s Hawk perching on a pine. According to allaboutbirds.org, these guys are tricky to identify and ‘among the world’s most skillful fliers.’
Moose – If you are hoping to spot moose on your trip to Rocky Mountain National Park, a good place to see them is in the Kawuneeche Valley, but we’ve spotted a couple this summer on the east side of the park at Sprague Lake and here at the Beaver Ponds along Cub Lake trail. Did you know moose can swim? You can learn more fun facts about moose on the National Park Service’s website.
Elk – September 1st began the elk mating season or ‘rut’. During this time, the park closes down areas in the evening until early morning (5pm to 7am). These areas include Horseshoe Park, Upper Beaver Meadows, Moraine Park, Harbison Meadow and Holzwarth Meadow. Closures remain in effect until October 31st. (more info)
Snakes – According to this video clip by Nick Molle, Rocky Mountain National Park does not have poisonous snakes, but you can find garter snakes like the ones we spotted in the meadows by water.
A good portion of this hike is in the meadow, but it becomes wooded and lush with ferns and noticeably picks up in intensity – gaining about 500 feet of elevation before arriving at Cub Lake.
The lake was covered in lily pads and made a great resting spot for a hearty snack before our 2.5 mile return trip.
On this hike I was carrying my 7 month old daughter, so I just took wildlife pictures with my cell phone quickly from a safe distance. Photography isn’t my top priority on family hikes, but I love to follow fellow RMNP lovers on instagram that take or feature really amazing, high-quality photos including: @rm_digitalpro, @rockynps, @viewcolorado, @coparkswildlife, @visitestespark, @viewsfromcolorado, @viewcolorado, @co14ers, @trailgirl89, @coloradoinstagram, @lovely_colorado, and @natural_colorado.
Do you follow Colorado photographers on instagram? Who should I be following?