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Gem Lake Trail

Intermediate

Trail

4.6 mile 7.4 kilometer point to point
Intermediate

Elevation

Ascent: 1,239' 378 m
Descent: -933' -284 m
High: 8,839' 2,694 m
Low: 7,768' 2,368 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 9% (5°)
Max Grade: 81% (39°)

Dogs

No Dogs
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Map Key

Trail shared by Brian Smith

A steep trail that climbs to Gem Lake before descending to Cow Creek Trail.

Brian Smith

Features Birding · Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Family Friendly Kids love climbing on rocks. The trail to Gem Lake is a rocky paradise lined by boulders that are perfectly arranged for climbing.

Description

Gem Lake is a popular trail that originates at the Lumpy Ridge Trailhead. From the parking lot, follow the trail as it ascends through rugged rock outcroppings and take in the sweeping views of Estes Park and the surrounding mountains. After just under two miles, you'll emerge at Gem Lake. This is a great place to take a breather before turning around or continuing to Balanced Rock Trail and/or Cow Creek Trail.

Descending from Gem Lake, you'll encounter the Balanced Rock Trail at mile three which branches off to the left. Follow it for views of a unique rock formation and to tack on a couple extra miles to your hike if you like.

Continuing on Gem Lake Trail, you'll descend for the next mile or so into the Cow Creek drainage before crossing the river and climbing up to Cow Creek Trail.

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We need help with the following missing trail information:

ADA Accessible, Need to Know, Flora & Fauna

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Check-Ins

Oct 11, 2019
Mike Sanders
Oct 4, 2019
Christopher Johnson
Sep 21, 2019
Lorelí C.J.
Sep 16, 2019
Scott Marcus
Aug 24, 2019
Scott Ell
Easy hike with some steep steps at the end. Nice place for a trail run or picnic. 3.8mi
Aug 12, 2019
Paula Mansholt
Great family friendly hike. 4.6mi
Aug 9, 2019
Rob Solomon
Aug 8, 2019
Brooke S
4.7mi — 4h 00m

Trail Ratings

  4.2 from 31 votes

#2

in Estes Park

#99

Overall
  4.2 from 31 votes
5 Star
35%
4 Star
52%
3 Star
13%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#2

in Estes Park

#27

in Colorado

#99

Overall
393 Views Last Month
7,734 Since Jan 8, 2015
Intermediate

0%
15%
52%
33%
0%
0%

Photos

Looking south across Gem Lake on a calm spring morning
Jul 9, 2018 near Estes Park, CO
On the trail to Gem Lake with permission from dreamer 200
Jan 8, 2015 near Estes Park, CO
The view hiking down from gem lake
Sep 12, 2018 near Estes Park, CO
Gem Lake
Dec 8, 2017 near Estes Park, CO
Yet Another RMNP Panorama
Dec 7, 2017 near Estes Park, CO
Estes Park / Rocky Mountain National Park
Dec 7, 2017 near Estes Park, CO

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