We decided to take a couple days on this trip to spend in Estes Park/RMNP so we could do a couple of hikes and relax in the town at night. We arrived Sunday and decided to try a new hike for the both of us. Originally, we were looking at a hike on the west side of the park, Cascade Falls, but it took about an hour and a half to get their from the Beaver Meadows entrance, so we opted for a bit of a closer trail. We chose Cub Lake, and loved it! In total it was a little under 7 miles of hiking. We started out on a trail that led us through a field with a beautiful view of the snowcapped mountains, along with a herd of elk grazing in the field. We paused for a few minutes to watch the elk as they grazed, it was really neat. We continued on to a beautiful hike that led to Cub Lake, which was an awesome spot to stop and snack. While snacking, an we saw an elk “hiking” on the trail as well. After our break, we opted to elongate the hike and to do the Fern Lake loop, which turned out to be a great choice. We were definitely pretty pooped at the end of the hike, but there were so many beautiful views and different scenery along this hike. I would highly recommend it! There are certainly some up hill sections, but the elevation gain is under 1000 ft and it’s not considered a “summit” hike, so there are more flat sections and downhill than there is uphill.
After the hike, I told David about how cool the Alpine Visitor Center was, and the stairs up to the overlook there. So, we decided to drive up there. Forgetting how much I hate heights, I started the drive, but about twenty minutes in I panicked and pulled over so David could drive. When we got to the center, I realized that I had forgotten about how much snow is still there (duh, they JUST reopened the road a couple of days ago), so the stairs up were closed and all of the cool overlook sections were also roped off. We got there just in time to pick up a few snacks at the visitor center before it closed, and then we drove back down, stopping at some of the overlooks to take in the views.
We stayed the night at an inn in Estes Park, Maxwell Inn, which is located right off of the main road. I also highly recommend this inn. They have cute, clean rooms, and great people working there (with tasty dinner recommendations). We went to Wapiti Colorado Pub and ate burgers (elk & veggie) and drank some tasty Colorado beer, then walked along the river back to the inn after some ice cream. We watched the Cavs lose game two of the finals, and fell asleep, tired from the hike.