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

To Do Map
11 hours 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.

pretty quick hike but pretty steep. if you’re short on time, give it a go. i will say, this is a perfect rattlesnake habitat. tons of shrubs

climbed it 3x. love the elevation gain, great for training. it feels like it's straight up and you get a nice ridge line in the middle and wonderful views at the top.

Great trail, lovely lake. If you are planning to camp, beware of the bear! Resident bear is GREAT at ripping your bear hang out of the trees. Bring a bear can for your food. The night I camped out, every site lost their food as the bear visited us one at a time. Shy enough to leave campers alone, but took out the entire branch our food was hanging off of and ate everything.

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!

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

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.

5 days ago

It's pretty much a reverse version of Dakota Ridge and Red Rocks Trail. First mile or so was boring, but once it gets closer to Red Rocks, the view gets better. Good and fun trail for beginner hikers. Have fun!

Nice trail accessible by public transportation. When I went last night I watched a herd of elk grazing right off the trail in the sunset.

6 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.

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!!!

8 days ago

Pretty easy trail. Didn't go all the way out and back. Not a ton of shade, so definitely wish I had put on sunscreen. Will also wear my boots next time cause it's pretty rocky and rough on my ankles. On the way up, there's interesting geological facts about the area. Nice views of the back of red rocks too.

8 days ago

Great hike! I thought the main attraction would be the mining camp, but the views from the right hand trail summit were even more amazing. It’s a tiring but short climb to the summit from the mining camp. The fall colors are amazing right now and will only get better over the next week— definitely a great time of year to check it out.

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

11 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.

This is my favorite front range hike! Huge elevation gain for such a short distance! Great way to prepare for 14ers on the weekend.

Really enjoyed this hike. Pretty steep grade on the first and last leg of the hike, but such a worthwhile experience. Great training, due to the elevation gain in less than 1.7 miles. As previously stated by other reviewers, there’s very little shade, so if it’s a warm day, be prepared for that and bring plenty of water.
Hearing the sound check of the band getting ready for the concert at Red Rocks was an added benefit.

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!!

Easy walk to main mining camp - nice views.

15 days ago

Started early, very few people on the trail. Steady incline up but definitely manageable. Beautiful views the entire time and the lake at the top is definitely small but very cute as well. Very much worth the climb. Also, on the way down we followed a group of elk down the trail from a safe distance behind!

16 days ago

It was a little difficult at the top but the views were worth it! It was busy, lots of people on the trails

Hiked from the trailhead to the Mayflower Gulch ghost town. 6 miles round trip. Easy Jeep trail to get up to the log cabins. Saw a marmot at the log cabins. It lightly snowed in the higher elevations but doesn’t look like it will last long.

17 days ago

My wife and I did this and it really is a leg burner but the reward was a peaceful pond surrounded by rock walls. BEAUTIFUL! So worth the exercise.

18 days ago

Not difficult hike, “lake” at top is small. If you can climb up the rocks behind it, you get a good view.

Beautiful views! Not necessary to go all the way to Gem Lake, it's more like a pond.

Nearly 1900ft elevation gain in about 1.7 miles is no joke! Super fun & challenging workout that is close to home with great views at the top! Shoes with good grip are highly recommended, ie trail runners or hiking shoes. Bring plenty of water since the trail is exposed with very little shade. Bring a snack so you can hang out up top & enjoy the views of the mountains & city!

Short and sweet AMAZING hike! (This is a reverse version of Lost Lake via Hessie Trail.. lol) A lot of people, parking wars. You have a choice of taking the shuttle too but not sure exactly where the shuttle station is. No fee to get in, short but rough hike, so no flip flops, folks! You can walk around the lake, swim, or some people had a tent out. Amazing view, must go trail!! 80% shade by the way.

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