Cub Creek Backcountry Campsite is a one-site area at 8,600 feet on a wooded slope north of picturesque Cub Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park. The site, 100 yards off popular Cub Lake Trail on the northeast side of the lake, is 2.2 miles from the Cub Lake Trailhead in Moraine Park. It makes a quick overnight getaway for photographers wanting to capture sunrise over the lake or moose wading in the water. Allow two hours to hike from trailhead to campsite. There is no privy, so practice proper sanitation by burying waste and toilet paper away from all water. Drinking water is available from Cub Creek or Cub Lake. Boil or treat water before using. Cub Lake is a gorgeous lake covered in lily pads and yellow flowers in summer. The trail to the campsite passes through wetlands, marshes, meadows, and woodlands, making it ideal habitat for animals and birds.

Pro Tips

  • The Cub Creek Campsite is reached from Cub Lake Trailhead on the west side of Moraine Park. Hike 2.2 miles up Cub Lake Trail to the lake. Before reaching the lake, look for a wood sign on the right or north side of the trail and follow a short path to the marked campsite. Set up your tent near a silver arrowhead. Don’t camp beneath any dead trees or snags. The area burned in the Fern Lake Fire in 2012.
  • A backcountry permit is required for all overnight camping in Rocky Mountain National Park’s backcountry. Obtain a permit at the Park Headquarters Backcountry Office next to Beaver Meadows Visitor Center west of Estes Park or at Kawuneeche Visitor Center north of Grand Lake, and at the park website.
  • To obtain a permit you agree to obey all National Park regulations for backcountry camping. The Backcountry Use Permit must be with you at all times and a tent tag must be displayed on your pack while hiking and on your tent. You must follow your planned itinerary so campsites aren’t overused or crowded. You also receive a tag to place on the dashboard of your vehicle, allowing you to park overnight at trailheads without being towed.
  • Use a Leave No Trace ethic when using Odessa Lake Backcountry Campsite. Pitch your tent in a designated area and don’t dig a trench around it. Secure your food and garbage. Black bears are in the park so bring your food in a bear-resistant canister, which is required May to October in all campsites below timberline. Keep all food, trash, and scented items in the container and store it 200 feet from the campsite. Don’t camp below dead trees; wind storms blow branches off them. Use the pit toilet at the trailhead, otherwise dig a six-inch deep hole and bury your waste and toilet paper. Make sure you’re at least 200 feet from the campsite, water sources, and trails. Fires are not permitted. 
  • Recommended season(s): Year-round.

    —Stewart M. Green


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