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Gem Lake Trail

Intermediate/Difficult
 4.3 (42)

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


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Map Key

4.6

Miles

7.4

KM

Point to Point

8,839' 2,694 m

High

7,768' 2,368 m

Low

1,239' 378 m

Up

933' 284 m

Down

9%

Avg Grade (5°)

81%

Max Grade (39°)

Dogs No Dogs

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.

Contacts

Shared By:

Brian Smith

Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 42 votes

#1

in Estes Park

#66

Overall
  4.3 from 42 votes
5 Star
40%
4 Star
48%
3 Star
12%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#1

in Estes Park

#16

in Colorado

#66

Overall
74 Views Last Month
14,861 Since Jan 8, 2015
Intermediate/Difficult

0%
0%
61%
8%
31%
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 8, 2017 near Estes Park, CO

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Add Your Check-In

Check-Ins

Oct 7, 2021
Allison Klein
Sep 17, 2021
paul schilling
Aug 15, 2021
George Koch
checking in at the Kump
Aug 7, 2021
Sean H
Jul 7, 2021
Hannah Knowland
Jun 10, 2021
Richard Lyon
Jun 6, 2021
Matthew Freeman
Strenuous only due to the incline, moderate payoff in the end. Only went to the lake and back. Parking was quite a pain at mid day 3.5mi — 2h 30m
May 26, 2021
David Cohen
Great trail, a lot of great views.A lot of friendly chipmunks by the lake lol. Trail was highly trafficked. Not that hard.