Grand Central Station for Elk
Overview: This is an approximately 6 mile loop in Rocky Mountain National Park which includes a mile or road walking. It can be done in conjunction with hikes to Fern/Odessa Lakes.
Warning: In the spring the weather can change quickly and afternoon storms are common. Waterproof jackets and a hat are recommended gear to have in your pack.
Hike: Assuming you drove to Fern Lake TH, take the Fern Lake Trail 1.8 miles to the Pool. After crossing the log bridge, take the flatter looking trail to the left named Cub Lake Loop.
The trail begins to climb, and will end up climbing over 800 feet, passing by small drainages with trickling snow-melt in early June. There was almost no snow on the trail at this time of the year, but it was a bit muddy. At the top of the climb you will reach a junction with a trail coming from the Mill Creek area. Stay left on the Cub Lake Trail.
The trail descends with a great view of the lily ringed Cub Lake. Presumably this was named for bears, but on this particular day this trail was teaming with Elk. After passing the lake, you follow a creek with a number of small ponds. I consistently saw elk every 10 minutes for the rest of my hike. They were all females on this day and many of them were tagged with neck transmitter collars, presumably being studied by the park service.
When you reach Moraine meadow, the trail hooks around to your left. Here I saw an army of elk chilling out in the soft alpine grasses.
After taking many photos, follow the rest of the trail back to your car, crossing over the log bridge to get to the Cub Lake TH. Walk the mile of road if you parked at the Fern Lake TH.
Note: you could park at Cub Lake TH and initially hike the mile of road, or you could do the whole thing clockwise and still hike the mile of road at the end.
Water Sources: plenty if you bring a filter
Camping: Possibly, you would need a backcountry permit ($) from the park service, I don't know if they specifically allow camping near Cub lake, however.
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.