“A steep trail that climbs to Gem Lake before descending to Cow Creek Trail.”
— Brian Smith
Birding · Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
Kids love climbing on rocks. The trail to Gem Lake is a rocky paradise lined by boulders that are perfectly arranged for climbing.
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