Cow Creek to Gem Lake

MODERATE 23 reviews
#79 of 184 trails in

Cow Creek to Gem Lake is a 7.7 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Estes Park, Colorado that features a great forest setting. The trail is rated as moderate and primarily used for hiking.

7.7 miles
1,423 feet
Out & Back





no dogs

17 days ago

Did the hike early September. Saw no one out or back from the fork with Cow Creek Trail. Moderate hike and well worth doing though the lake is a bit disappointing. If you do this trail from Cow Creek make sure you walk for couple hundred yards onto main Gem Lake Trail for great views. Took this 71 year old just over 4 hours so you can certainly give a try

3 months ago

NO PARKING! Just be aware; the road itself and the approach is through private land. There are at most 15 spaces designated along the road and None in the Ranger station/trailhead. GO EARLY or head down to Lumpy Ridge and approach from that direction (several options; we hiked part of Black Canyon from there with success). I will happily update my review if we are able to get a space in the future!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

I did the whole loop. Started North @ Cow Creek Trailhead and headed South to Gem Lake, then West/ North West on Black Canyon Trail back up to Cow Creek. Totaled to 13 miles. It was a long day (seven hours) but great hike. Saw a couple of elk!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Beautiful hike. Great 10 mile hike. Will definitely hike again! Moderately maintained dirt road to small dirt parking lot. This begins just outside of RMNP and you hike into RMNP, so you don't drive through the main entrance.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Awesome hike! No snow on the trail.

Monday, May 08, 2017

Great hike! Was mostly exposed trail so was completely dry for us yesterday. The views from the lake were incredible. Definitely glad we did the lake from cow creek, much less populated than from other trailhead.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

should be rated more towards hard.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

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!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

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.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

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!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

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.

recorded WTW Day 1

1 month ago

1 month ago

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Monday, June 12, 2017

Saturday, June 03, 2017

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Wednesday, August 01, 2012