Gem Lake Trail is a 3.1 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Glen Haven, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, camping, and nature trips and is best used from March until October.

DISTANCE
3.1 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
990 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

camping

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

snow

no dogs

Gem Lake is a great little hike with some awesome views of Estes Park. The hike starts just outside of Estes up Devils Gulch Road. Turn on to Lumpy Ridge Road and park in the lot. $10 Parking Fee. Can sometimes be windy, dogs are not allowed.

hiking
20 days ago

Nice Thanksgiving Day hike! As others have said, parts are icy and snowy particularly the last third or so. Since we didn’t have poles or yaktrax, we just had to slow down. Great views of Estes!

21 days ago

Nice, well maintained trail very close to Estes Park. Nov 20 there were many slick icy spots, but nothing too treacherous. After the single water crossing (frozen), the steps get steeper, but not terrible. Gem Lake itself is unimpressive, but turn around to get a great view of Estes Park and the scenery beyond. Worth the hike!

hiking
25 days ago

Beautiful hike! Snowing the day I did it, microspikes came in handy.

1 month ago

great hike! be sure to wear layers as it is extremely windy at the top by the lake. few patches of ice

1 month ago

Fun trail. Great views, scramble up the back side of gem wall of you're comfortable for a stunning 360 degree view.

1 month ago

Beautiful views!!

1 month ago

Beautiful views!!

1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

Challenging on the way up, but worth it. We hiked around 1pm and it took us 1.5 hours to get to the top. We encountered many other hikers. Unfortunately, this trail attracts a lot of people who don’t have respect for nature. It was hard to get a good picture with so many people around and it was even harder to enjoy with the amount of people talking around you. If I could do it again, i would go at 7 AM and avoid the crowds. This hidden little “lake” truly is a gem. Side note: it only took us 40 minutes to get back down.

1 month ago

There was just a patch of ice.... the rest was all dry.

1 month ago

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

2 months ago

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

hiking
2 months 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.

hiking
2 months 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
2 months 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!

2 months ago

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.

hiking
2 months 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.

hiking
2 months 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.

2 months ago

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

2 months ago

Not a difficult trail but a beautiful end point!

2 months ago

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

hiking
2 months 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.

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months 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.

2 months ago

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!!!

3 months ago

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

3 months ago

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

hiking
3 months 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
3 months 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!!

hiking
3 months 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!

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