Hiked the trail with my wife (both in our early 50's) on Sunday, Feb 10 between 8:30a and 1:30p. Amazing day to spend in the mountains. We went clockwise from the Cub Lake TH. A variety of trail conditions on the way to the lake but nothing that needed traction devices. We used hiking poles the entire time and saw many people without too. Up to the lake we encountered hard pack, snow, a little ice but all manageable. Cub lake is frozen solid and the area around is snow covered so at that point we decided to put on our micro-spikes, great decision. We left our spikes on from that point and were glad we did. Solid snow from the lake to The Pool with drifts up to 2 feet just off the trail. The Pool was 90% frozen and matched the hanging frozen waterfall just east of the pool on the cliffs above. The remainder of the hike was on solid snow, with about 150ft of solid ice to traverse in two different patches. Our spikes made it effortless compared to those doing without, yikes! Nice walk to the Fern Lake TH and back to our car. Weather was cold but clear. Winds were steady in the mid teens with gusts in the mid 30's. See you on the Trails!
The park is home to many predatory animals, including Canadian lynx, foxes, bobcat, cougar, black bear, and coyotes. Wolves and grizzly bears were extirpated in the early 1900s. Most of these predators kill smaller animals, but mountain lions and coyotes kill deer and occasionally elk. Bears also eat larger prey. Moose have no predators in the park. Black bears are relatively uncommon in the park, numbering only 24-35 animals. They also have fewer cubs and the bears seem skinnier than they do in most areas. Canadian lynx are quite rare within the park, and they have probably spread north from the San Juan Mountains, where they were reintroduced in 1999. Cougars feed mainly on mule deer in the park, and live 10–13 years. Cougar territories can be as large as 500 square miles. Coyotes hunt both alone and in pairs, but occasionally hunt in packs. They mainly feed on rodents but occasionally bring down larger animals, including deer, and especially fawns and elk calves. Scat studies in Moraine Park showed that their primary foods were deer and rodents. They form strong family bonds and are very vocal.
We ended up doing Sprague Lake, which is a nice, leisurely walk along a paved path by the lake. It was a beautiful view. I only wish it wasn't so cloudy that day. Next, we drove to the Copeland Falls trail, which is a 0.3 hike from the trailhead of Wild Basin. But to the falls and back is a bit over two miles. Barely anyone was on the trail, which was nice but also creepy at the same time.
If driving Trail Ridge Road or Old Fall River Road is on the top of your list and you have limited time, you may want to enter the park via the Fall River Entrance on the park’s east side. It also is just a few minutes from Estes Park’s downtown. You’ll reach Trail Ridge Road a lot faster than those waiting in line at the Beaver Meadows Entrance during the summer and fall seasons.