A "Point to Point" Hike on Steep Mountain
For anyone looking for a lower altitude, moderate, on trail/off trail hike in Rocky Mountain National Park this may be just the one for you. The off trail hiking isn't too difficult, provided you're reasonably good at route finding through timbered areas, and the views from the summit of Steep Mountain are well worth the effort to get there.
Getting to the trailhead.
The Cub Lake Trailhead is accessed from the Bear Lake Road.
From heart of downtown Estes Park turn south at the intersection of Elkhorn & Moraine Avenues (traffic light). Follow Moraine Avenue (Hiway 36) west for 3.5 miles to the Beaver Meadows Entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park.
Just inside the entrance to The Park turn south on the Bear Lake Road. Follow the Bear Lake Road for a little over a mile to the intersection with the Moraine Park Campground Road (across the road from the Moraine Park Visitor Center). Turn west. Less than a mile after the turn-off you come to the entrance to the Moraine Park Campground. Turn south before entering the campground and continue about 1 mile to the trailhead on the south side of the road. There is limited parking at the Cub Lake Trailhead.
The "Tour de Steep Mountain"
This is a "point to point" hike that depends on leaving a vehicle at the Hollowell Park Trailhead, or using the Rocky Mountain National Park Hikers Shuttle Bus. The Shuttle bus system runs from Memorial Day weekend to the first part of September. Check The Park website under "Plan Your Visit" to see the schedule - ROMO Website
Take the Cub Lake Trail for 2.4 miles to Cub Lake. Continue west around the lake for a little over a half mile to the junction with the Mill Creek Basin Trail.
Take the Mill Creek Basin Trail for about a mile to where it it reaches the crest of the South Lateral Moraine Ridge. Leave the trail and bushwack east along the ridgeline for about a mile to the summit of Steep Mountain.
From the summit bushwack down the south slopes of Steep Mountain for about three quarters of a mile to the Mill Creek Basin Trail. Follow the Mill Creek Basin Trail east for about a mile to the Hollowell Park Trailhead.
You have completed the "Tour de Steep Mountain."
The "Hiker's Shuttle Bus" stops at the Hollowell Park Trailhead.