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Steady climb. The views half-way up exceeded the actual lake view, but it was a nice hike with some icy stairs.

nice short hike

Enjoyable shortish day hike. Lake is SMALL. Views back over Estes Park and of RMNP and great!

Did this hike yesterday in the middle of a snow shower, and it was really nice! Like others, we missed the turnoff for the falls, but found it after finding the sign on our way back down. Apparently, we hiked nearly 1/2 a mile past it. My phone was acting up, so I wasn't able to add a waypoint to the map.

That being said, this is a really nice hike. It would be great for out-of-towners, since the elevation gain is very managable. I don't know if it was the weather, or that it was Wednesday, but we ran into more bags of dog poop than people. Seriously folks, clean up after yourselves!

Very nice, well maintained trail. it's pretty gradual the whole way around. definitely worth cutting onto bear paw for the overlooks. also features some large Aspen groves that are just now peaking

hiking
14 days ago

Easy out and back hike that takes about 2-3 hours. Lots of shaded areas and stairs. Paul Bunyan’s boot can be found along the way. The lake itself is more like a dirty pond. Recommend going early to avoid the traffic and if you’re able to climb up a bit you can get a spectacular view on calm mornings.

Weather was great for hiking and not too many people on the trail (it was a weekday after all). Trail is pretty dusty and I can see this getting muddy after some rainfall. Really wasn't much too see as there are not any viewpoints and you're walking through dense forest. We missed the sign that points to the falls 100 yards away. It was kind of easy to miss as it doesn't really face the trail very well. There were at least two other groups that had missed it also and we were all looking for it. After finding the falls, it was disappointing to see the dismal trickle of water coming down the rocks. I'd hardly classify it as "falls". All in all, it was an ok hike.

hiking
15 days ago

65 y.o. husband and I took our chubby selves up this hill today. it was fairly hard for us, coming from flatter land and having spent NO time on the stairmaster. the views we're beautiful and gem lake was pretty ( though in Minnesota we have "real" lakes and this would be a large puddle). we like rocks and geology so enjoyed the entire walk. trail was busy though nothing compared to Zion, Bryce, Moab, etc. the sprinkling of Aspen gold was also gorgeous.

hiking
15 days ago

Good spot, some good shade for hot day. Minimal people despite proximity to boulder.

hiking
16 days ago

This was a great, short hike with lots of shade. I would definitely recommend hiking early in the morning to avoid the crowds. The fall foliage was so beautiful on the way up to the lake!

Journey better than the destination. Many well shaded areas with lots of spattered rock formations throughout the trail. Nice fall foilage/aspens midway to 2/3rds up. Then quite a few big steps to final lake/pond. Yes the pond is small, but it has a neat wall of rock around it. Also several openings between trees and rocks with nice views below.

Loved this trail, very rocky and deep going up. I would say it’s tough for sure. The views were great and several places to stop for pictures. Pretty crowded when we went, on a weekday during mid morning. We didn’t come from valley, we took the mount Sanitas trail and it was hard!

hiking
20 days ago

Quick and easy hike for the experienced. It is a lot of uphill with loose pebbles so watch your step. Chipmunks by the lake will steal your food if you’re not looking or you might pick up a hitchhiker in your pack if it’s open. Overall it’s a great heart-rate starter for some of the harder hikes in the area.

Beautiful hike! The colors were so pretty with a few aspens interspersed in the ponderosa. Keep your eyes out for the sign down to Maxwell falls off the trail - it can be easy to miss depending on which way you come up. You have to walk ~100m upstream to see the main falls. Also, please pick up your dog poop bags! We saw at least 6 bags at the trailside.

Stream and waterfall dried up as of late September. Found a lot of bird action at the 0.6 mile marker just over a 20 ft long wooden bridge. Fall colors were beautiful. Best time of year to take this hike for stream and waterfall is mid-may through mid-June. No road signs leading to the hike. Must use miles on your car to find for first time. Still 4 star because close to city and close to Boulder.

Great workout and doesn’t take too long

Not much scenery as it’s in a valley. Barely any changing of the leaves so not recommend right now if that’s your goal. Lots of uphill and rocky. Great cardio. Never made it to the falls. Heavily trafficked...

It is beautiful and fun. It takes awhile to get to the falls so be prepared to hike! It’s also very much in the forest and you don’t see mountains or the sky a whole bunch.

hiking
25 days 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.

Did this as a sunset hike and wasn't disappointed. The views from the top were amazing and the colors of the trees are perfect right now. But definitely time your descent properly cause it gets dark extremely fast. Had to turn my flash light on a few times through the dense tree areas. Also would be perfect for a beginner trail runner. Overall very nice.

27 days ago

Pretty fun! Ride it up the road first so you can coast all the way across! Really quick ride!

Three stars because this trail is way too packed. You'll need to get to the trailhead between 6-8am although people tend to park on the side of the road. This is a moderate trail in the true sense. The beginning is mostly an incline and there are a series of ups and downs. You can wander a bit off the trail on certain parts for some amazing view points of the mountains. The flow and intensity of the fall will depend on the time of year you do it. Enjoy folks!

27 days ago

Great for tourists

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

This is a great hike if you are looking for a short and moderate to rigorous workout with great views. Ascending Mount Sanitas took me about 1 hour with several short water breaks. It is moderately steep and rocky. There is no shade 85% of the way up. Pretty views en route and at the summit. Descending through East Ridge was rough. I may have taken a wrong turn and ended up off the actual trail because it was loose rock almost the entire way down, pretty dangerous, and I ended up entering the valley trail further down.

28 days ago

Not a difficult trail but a beautiful end point!

took the family (Wife daughter 5 son 3) for their first hike. we had a great time. the waterfall is dried up at the moment but the lake was beautiful.

29 days ago

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

I actually hiked this trail in the middle of winter and only saw 1 other hiker and her dog. It was quite peaceful and serene. The waterfall was frozen over and a perfect place to set up my hammock and have a snack. Not a hard hike even with some snow cover on the trail. A great winter acclimization hike for newbies.

Nice walk! Pretty easy but lovely and a nice morning walk that is not far from Denver! Hiked 8/16/18.

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