Cow Creek to Gem Lake is a 8 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Estes Park, CO that features a great forest setting. The trail is rated as moderate and primarily used for hiking.
Really enjoyed this hike. Started early in the morning on a Tuesday and there was no one else on the trail until our hike back. There's a couple of steep parts, they weren't too awful though. The lake is small but absolutely beautiful. Wish I had brought a small picnic up with me!
We did this trail the beginning of June - trail was completely clear of snow, and was well maintained. We enjoyed the hike immensely and the lake was beautiful. The lake itself had lots of families enjoying the beautiful day - but the trail itself was not too populated. Arrive early to ensure parking - and to avoid the afternoon storms. Despite our planning, we got caught in a rain/hail storm on our way down the trail, but had a good time sitting it out under a tree.
Great hike, took about 3 hrs round trip. Saw tons of chipmunks up at gem lake, and if your ambitious you can rock scramble up to the peaks above the lake!
Gorgeous trail and a great one for a hiking family. Gem Lake is the sweet reward at the end. You can also go up and over and take on twin owls from the back side, lesser known and lesser touristy trail. Try to hike this at least once a year.