Hiking Project Logo

Gem Lake and Balanced Rock

 4.3 (12)
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

Length


7.5 Miles 12.0 Kilometers


1,563' 476 m

Ascent

-1,562' -476 m

Descent

8%

Avg Grade (5°)

25%

Max Grade (14°)

8,827' 2,691 m

High

7,841' 2,390 m

Low

Shared By Brian Smith

Conditions


Minor Issues 3 days ago
Snowy, Some Mud - Don't bring snowshoes, but microspikes are highly recommended. More muddy toward bottom, packed/slippery snow toward top. History

Getting forecast...

A tour of some of the best scenery and terrain on offer in the Lumpy Ridge Area.

Brian Smith

Dogs No Dogs

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

Overview

This hike makes for a reasonably quick outing and highlights some of the biggest draws of the Lumpy Ridge area. Views of Estes Park and surrounding mountains lead to a serene pond and, eventually, a precariously balanced rock formation.

Description

From the parking lot at the Lumpy Ridge TH, follow the Gem Lake Trail as it ascends through rugged rock outcroppings and take in the sweeping views of Estes Park and the surrounding mountains. The trail is well traveled, but has some steeper stepped switchbacks making it a relatively difficult hike to navigate.

After just under two miles, you'll emerge at Gem Lake. Gem Lake is a small pool that is nestled into a serene rock outcropping. If you're doing this hike in the summertime, be prepared for a greeting from some rather cute residents of the lake - chipmunks! Although it may be tempting and undoubtedly others will be doing so, please do not feed these furry little guys. This is a great place to take a breather before continuing on to Balanced Rock Trail.

Descending from Gem Lake, you'll encounter the Balanced Rock Trail at mile three, which branches off to the left. Follow Balanced Rock Trail for a quick mile until you reach its namesake - a giant boulder that appears to be precariously balanced. This rather large boulder is the turnaround point for the hike. Once you've had a moment to appreciate the natural beauty of your surroundings, turn around and hike back the way you came.

Contacts

You & This Featured Hike


Rate Quality


   Clear Rating

Rate Difficulty

Share This Hike

Your Check-Ins

Check-Ins

Mar 10, 2019
Greg Collette
Jan 10, 2019
Riley McCullough
Snowy north side 7.9mi
Dec 28, 2018
Floyd Hartley
7.5mi
Dec 24, 2018
Greg Collette
Dec 16, 2018
Roger Davies
Nov 3, 2018
Marian Van Vlack
Oct 15, 2018
Mark Gueswell
Oct 6, 2018
Robert Burch

Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 12 votes

#3

in Estes Park

#1554

Overall
  4.3 from 12 votes
5 Star
42%
4 Star
50%
3 Star
8%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Rankings

#3

in Estes Park

#236

in Colorado

#1,554

Overall
73 Views Last Month
3,169 Since Jan 30, 2015
Intermediate Intermediate

0%
17%
58%
25%
0%
0%

0 Comments

Hiking Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Hiking