Gem Lake Trail is a hiking and horse trail in Larimer County, Colorado. It is within Rocky Mountain National Park. It is 4.2 miles long and begins at 7,856 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 8.5 miles with a total elevation gain of 2,603 feet. Near the trailhead there are a recycling, waste baskets, an information board, and parking. The Gem Lake water can be seen along the trail.
"This trail winds amid uncounted granite monoliths to a gem’s setting on the east end of Lumpy Ridge. Watch for bitterbrush blooming first near the surface of rocks that are solar collectors, radiating heat to create early spring before the season arrives for most other plants. Even the most unimaginative of hikers can see a pair of owls in the two huge granite pillars that rise above the trailhead on Lumpy Ridge. Equally obvious is Paul Bunyan’s Boot about halfway to Gem Lake. Wind and mildly acidic rain have sculpted countless other abstract monoliths along the trail into formations fascinating to both romantic and prosaic minds. It is a natural playground for children, but parents need to supervise and warn kids to avoid falls from slick rocks." Read more
"This trail winds amid uncounted granite monoliths to a gem’s setting on the east end of Lumpy Ridge. Gem Lake nestles in a granite setting on the east end of Lumpy Ridge. When Arapaho horse nomads ventured from the plains, they called the uncounted rock domes along the ridge bounding the north edge of Estes Park the Little Lumps. Mapmakers adapted this name to Lumpy Ridge. In the 1870s bear hunter Israel Rowe discovered the lake and declared it to be a gem. Some hikers may find Gem Lake to be a less-fitting name than Lumpy Ridge. Gem is small, shallow, and stagnant. Nonetheless, many hikers vote for its attraction with their feet, making Gem Lake one of the most frequently visited in the national park." Read more
"At 8,830 feet and surrounded by granitic boulders, ledges, and cli?s, Gem Lake is a small gem of a rain-?lled lake with no inlet or outlet. The trail travels along south-and east-facing slopes, wandering in and out of a couple of narrow canyons between granitic outcroppings. Interesting rock formations inspire the imagination, and several sections o?er spectacular views of Estes Park, Twin Sisters, Longs Peak, and the Continental Divide in Rocky Mountain National Park. Colorful wild?owers grace the trail from mid-June to early July. This trail is a good early and late season hike in Rocky Mountain National Park." Read more
"The Gem Lake Trail is a fun day hike that travels through an idyllic valley, along a gurgling creek, and up to a magical mountain setting you won’t soon forget. There are two trailheads for this hike, both of which are located off Devils Gulch Road, just north of Estes Park. Before going anywhere, we must stop at Shakes Alive! in Lower Stanley Village on US 34. Mary Liz and Joe are two of the nicest people in town and their charming little café serves up delectable treats, perfect for fueling up for a big day on the trail." Read more