Gem Lake Trail

Quick Info

Distance:
3.4 Miles
Route Type:
Out & Back
Nearest Town:
Estes Park
Elevation Climb:
990 Feet
Difficulty Rating:
Approachable
View Rating:
5 Stars
Distance:
3.4 Miles
Route Type:
Out & Back
Nearest Town:
Estes Park
Elevation Climb:
990 Feet
Difficulty Rating:
Approachable
View Rating:
5 Stars

Rocky Mountain National Park is as beautiful as advertised, but getting a reservation for Bear Creek Corridor can be challenging, this is an awesome option to avoid the main entrance to the park with a gorgeous hike.

Gem Lake Trail starts at the Lumpy Ridge Trailhead on the north side of Estes Park. As of 2024, you do need a timed entry reservation from 9am – 2 pm (here’s more info from the NPS) but this leaves plenty of time to get on the trail without worrying about a permit!

This trail was one of those where you kept stopping to take pictures of the view, only to climb a little higher and realize it got even better. But stopping to take pictures was also the perfect excuse to take a few oxygen breaks – whenever I start to see my out of state friends breathing a little heavy, stop and take pictures! Or a water break – the elevation is no joke.

There were also so many spots where people just sat down and enjoyed the view.

You almost forget that you’re hiking to a lake because the views feel so rewarding on their own. But after about a mile and a half of pretty steady uphill hiking, there it is! (Another gorgeous spot for lunch, by the way.) Chipmunks will run circles around you while you take it in, which I always find delightful.

There’s also a toilet at the top of this trail! The reason I know this is because of the llamas we ran into at the top. Now you can’t just bring your pet llama on the trail, these guys were there for kind of a shitty job. Literally. Park Rangers were cleaning the toilet out and these llamas had the lucky job of carrying all of that “waste” back down the trail. Thank you llamas, for your dedication.

And a reminder – no pets allowed in RMNP.

Kylie Bearse

Kylie Bearse

When I’m not exploring the trails, I’m a Meteorologist! You can see me every weekday morning on Fox31 KDVR from 4:30-10am! Have a weather question? Don’t hesitate to ask!

Kylie Bearse

Kylie Bearse

When I’m not exploring the trails, I’m a Meteorologist! You can see me every weekday morning on Fox31 KDVR from 4:30-10am! Have a weather question? Don’t hesitate to ask!

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Kylie Bearse

Kylie Bearse

When I’m not exploring the trails, I’m a Meteorologist! You can see me every weekday morning on Fox31 KDVR from 4:30-10am! Have a weather question? Don’t hesitate to ask!

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