Explore 2018 - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

2018 Map
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hiking
1 day ago

The trail was well marked most of the way, there’s a bathroom about halfway to gem lake. Great scenery and wildlife on the hike up. Gem lake is more like a small lake/pond, the mountains reflected in the water and we thought it was pretty up there. Lots of brave chipmunks coming right up to you once at gem lake too! We thought it was a good hike with nice views on the way up. I would recommend hiking shoes/boots for this trail.

hiking
1 day ago

Take two. We hiked this trail Saturday morning. Incredible views! SPF!!! you are being blasted by the sun on this hike (weather permitting). I would not want to try this hike in early/mid-summer with afternoon thunderstorms because there is no protection once above treeline. I did post pics too. We saw a Ptarmigan as well as pika's, marrmots.

walking
1 day ago

great relaxing paved trails. saw deer and rabbits. Some areas are off the paved bits and have stunning rock formations.

Great trail! Pretty easy trail compared to others. Rare incline/declines, easy terrain, mostly flat with the few areas of loose rocks. Good mix of lake and Dorset views. If you start the trail going to the right, it isn’t well marked about 2.5 miles in, but the trail strays pretty far from the actual lake. We kept ensuring we were turning left, and made it around without issue. The Lake trail loop isn’t well marked, even though all other trails are. The marshy area at the far end of the lake made for great viewing of moose! Overall pretty easy hike, but well worth the time spent here.

hiking
3 days ago

This was the first long trail I have done in Colorado. Have to say overall a great experience. The trail in the beginning is well maintained and easy to find, however when you get to the rocky portion of the hike it is a bit tough to find the actual trail. The last hour or so was a bit hard for me as I am still not used to the elevation so we had to take breaks. We did not see a lot of people on the trail either which was nice. Took us about 5h45min with a lunch on the summit. The views are amazing and the trail is rewarding. Make sure you have a wind jacket as it was very windy when we did it. Great hike! Highly recommend it.

hiking
3 days ago

Well maintained trail & not many people! Summit views are stunning!!!

Not sure why the high rating on this trail. Nothing spectacular. Gem lake is really more like disappointing dirty swamp

4 days ago

Not a difficult trail but a beautiful end point!

Short, great views of the falls.

Although it takes a while to reach the trailhead (where parking is limited), the hike around the lake is first-rate. The four+ mile loop is an easy to moderate trail shared with horses. This is one of the best hikes in the Arapaho National Recreation Area—don’t miss it!

This trailhead also allows access to other (more lengthy and difficult) hikes.

On our second visit to the lake, we watched kayakers and canoeists paddling around the lake. Fishermen were also in evidence.

hiking
4 days ago

Loved this hike. Most of it was just a slightly uphill walk. It got steeper/more rocky towards the top. Got off trail once by mistake where it starts to get iffy, but found our way back fairly easily. Pretty good views at the peak, but a few trees in the way.

Saturday morning parking was completely full—just be aware of that.

Not a gem in our opinion. More like a small pond and wonder who named it?

Hiked this on Black Friday and with the road to the trailhead closed it adds about an extra mile out and back. Was pretty iced over and slick in areas so I hoghly recommend microspikes in the winter. I was the only one out there so I really enjoyed the serenity of watching the sunset over the frozen lake.

Nice secluded trail with great views! Went on a Saturday afternoon and only saw 3 other hikers. Decent elevation gain and steepness towards the summit. Sat on the peak having lunch for about an hour just taking in the views and sunshine.

hiking
5 days ago

It was crowded and I don’t know if I would even call that a Pond! Most definitely not a lake. But there were some great views and it was a decent climb.

6 days ago

I’m not good with

hiking
6 days ago

Saw two moose in the marsh area. Beautiful hike that’s on the easy end of moderate.

hiking
6 days ago

Pretty hike on a gorgeous Colorado day. Nice and easy.

hiking
7 days ago

The trail was well marked in most areas but a few times got a little confusing. I wouldn't really call it a lake, but it's more of a large muddy pond. the hike up was beautiful and there were great places to stop and take pictures and look around. there were lots of very steep steps.

hiking
7 days ago

Great trail. Easy to get to (even with detour) and we hiked to top of the falls and saw another hiker swim in the river!

Lots of stairs at the end that got the best of me, but pretty shaded most of the way, a compost toilet at the top which was very much needed, some decent bouldering opportunities along the way if you’re into that, and once you’re at the top: words can’t describe the tranquil beauty of Gem Lake. Perfect end to a moderately challenging hike. So worth it!!!

hiking
10 days ago

mother nature made me work for this trail, especially on the alpine tundra portion— exposed and windy and brief rain. took ~5.5 hrs.

hiking
10 days ago

Super easy, beautiful hike!! Fall is a great time to see the aspens changing!!

Really nice hike with good lake and Mountain View’s. I think this should be rated as easy. I’m not that fit and had no problems.

Pretty steep steps at the end! Lots of shade on the trail which is nice.

Absolutely beautiful and worth the sweat and just a lil soreness..(i went in as an amateur lol) but would definitely do it again

on Gem Lake Trail

hiking
12 days ago

Great trail. Lots of fantastic views of Estes, RMNP and Longs Peak. Parking was bad and there was a mass of humanity at the trailhead. The hike up wasn't what I expected at all. The trail is a steady uphill climb the entire way to the 'lake' with a few short sections of more even terrain. I would rate it as moderate to moderate/difficult in places. Towards the end of the trail, footing becomes precarious on large boulder sized steps and can be a bit steep in several sections. Little ones may have a hard time traversing the trail in these spots. I highly suggest wearing good shoes or boots on the way up and switching to water shoes or flip-flops once you reach the 'lake'. The lake is more of a pond. Very beautiful with a lovely mirror effect as it is somewhat sheltered from the wind. Beautiful Dragon Flies and fun Ground Squirrels all over the place. (maybe a little too friendly as they were actually stealing food from folks and jumping on one girl seated on the ground). Be bear aware. There was a Black Bear spotted on the trail earlier in the day. Please pack it in and pack it out while on the trail. We saw a few folks walk off after enjoying their picnics, not bothering to pick-up all of their trash. The leaves are changing! Colorado Gold season! WE DID NOT PAY FOR PARKING. I am not sure why it says there is a $10.00 parking fee, but we saw no such thing.

hiking
12 days ago

Beautiful views and easy.

hiking
13 days ago

even though i found the lake to be a bit lackluster at the end, the hike itself was beautiful throughout. took ~2.5 hrs. and actually ended up being one of my favorite hikes ever (the leaves started to turn yellow, sooo pretty). this being my kickoff hike makes me really excited to see what the other rmnp trails have in store!!

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