Explore the most popular camping trails in Rocky Mountain National Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

hiking
3 days ago

You will need snowshoes for the last 2 or 3 miles after the Sunday storm. Close to lion lake, snow was at least 3 feet deep. We had to break the trail after junction between Lion and Thunder lakes.

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

I did this trail and tracked it on my Fitbit, I knew my Fitbit would track the distance a little less than what the distance really is from my experience but it was a little more than six miles one way to Lake Verna from the East trailhead. It was totally worth it but I’m not sure what everyone is smoking to think it’s 12.9 round trip. I was tracking at least 15 Miles total. The sign at the trailhead can not be accurate unless it’s tracking the river that comes from the lake, before you actually get to the huge lake. We didn’t see any wild life and we were the only ones on the trail for a few hours. We started around 8:30am and arrived at 1:30pm. We headed back at 2:00pm and got to the parking lot around 5:30pm. It was beautiful but don’t underestimate the distance and the amount of hills that are required to climb to get to the lake.

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

Amazing views, worth every step.

10 days ago

Great trail. A lot of switch backs that make the climb fast yet steady. Elevation wise it got tough for me around the last mile. Very sluggish but worth it. Even had some snow which made it even prettier.

This was a very beautiful hike. I would suggest starting at Bear Lake Trailhead and hiking to the Fern Lake Trailhead, NOT vice versa. (We decided to start at Fern Lake Trailhead so that we would end at Bear Lake, and we regretted it. We hiked at a tough rocky incline for ~ 7 miles before finally getting to descend for the last ~ 3 miles. We were sore from extensive hiking the day before, and we struggled.) If you start at Bear Lake, you have a tough first 3 miles, but then it’s completely downhill after that point.

Despite the difficulty, it was undoubtedly a gorgeous hike.

hiking
16 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.

my new favorite in RMNP. what a hike!

hiking
16 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.

Fantastic hike, exhausting but totally worth it. We got lucky and saw 4 moose at the lake. Also Aspens along the trail were gorgeous and the views of Grand lake were really pretty. It took us 4 hours to get to the lake and about 2 and change to come down. Highly recommend during fall season (we hiked this at the end of September)

Actually 14 miles. Steady incline. Same views for most of the hike otherwise it would be higher rated. I like variety. Lots and lots of switchbacks!

hiking
18 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.

My 12 year old daughter and I did this in 8 hours. Be aware of switch backs and stairs! beautiful and rewarding.

hiking
21 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.

We hiked this trail 2 days ago, it took us 6 hours round trip. Beautiful scenery, good elevation, light traffic and Lone lake was beautiful, worth the distance. We saw a female Moose and was able to video tape ( a bit to close for me) she was on our trail. Best hiking trail we visited!

Just did this trial at the end of September with amazing weather and views.
Keep an eye out to the left once you reach Andrews creek campground to stay on the trail. I lost the trail here for a bit but following the creek up was able to reach the trail again.
The trail was a bit more strenuous than I thought it would be once reaching the rock field. There’s plenty of cairns up to help mark the way but you could still easily wonder off trail if you’re not looking.
Once you come up over the tarn the view of the glacier and pond are absolutely amazing as well as looking back down into the valley. There was a very noticeable increase in wind as well right as you come over the tarn so be ready for another layer if needed.
Highly recommend this route for the more adventurous hikers out there!

Absolutely stunning and quite the hidden gem. Hardly anyone on the trails with us. Great time to go is in late September. The birch wood were golden and beautiful.

Great hike. quiet and not too many hikers

hiking
25 days ago

This was the most beautiful hike I did in Rocky Mountain n.p. Mills Lake and Jewel Lake are spectacular, however, don't give up and continue to the Black Lake. The last part of the trail is moderate to strenuous but Black Lake worth it!

We started at Bear Lake trailhead to Odessa and then back to Bear Lake. This trail had some outstanding views, and Lake Odessa was gorgeous. I also really enjoyed this because there wasn't a huge crowd on the trail either. Although there was some great scenery, a decent portion of the trail was a bit boring in comparison to other hikes you can do close by. I highly recommend this trail, but after trying Sky Pond and Black Lake.

Absolutely gorgeous lake! I agree with others stating this trail is more moderate than “hard”. I’d say the first 3.5 miles is moderate and the last push to the lake is moderate+. You spend the majority of the hike on a tree lined trail but there are a few moments where you get a great view of Wild Basin. The trail is OK (for RMNP), the lake is worth the trek though! Also, aspens are almost done so get up here quick!

hiking
26 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.

awesome! tough in the winter in March. lots of ice and snow. can't wait to do in summer again.

hiking
29 days ago

Loved this hike. It was my first hike in Colorado, so I definitely thought it was 'hard'. The ending at Sandbeach lake is beautiful and the hike along the way takes you through beautiful terrain. Highly recommend - especially coming from Denver.

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

1 month ago

Not a difficult trail but a beautiful end point!

1 month ago

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

One of our most favorite hikes. Started at Bear Lake, sun just rising and the Aspen were “on fire.” We’re flat landers from Ohio and seniors, so took our time and enjoyed it immensely. The only tricky part for us was the last mile down to the lake. Pretty steep with lots of loose rocks. The lake is pristine. Enjoyed our lunch on the shore and headed back the way we came. AllTrails said 8.6 miles and took us just under 5 hours. Lots of rest breaks and photos. Highly recommended.

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