Gem Lake Trail is a 3.4 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Estes Park, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is best used from May until October.

Distance: 3.4 miles Elevation Gain: 990 feet Route Type: Out & Back

hiking

forest

lake

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

rocky

scramble

snow

no dogs

Reservations to enter the park will go on sale through Recreation.gov at 8 a.m. Mountain Time on Thursday, May 28. Reservations will be available to enter the park from June 4 through July 31. The next release will be on July 1, for the month of August and any remaining days that have not been booked for July. On August 1, reservations will be available for the month of September and any remaining days that have not been booked for August. On September 1, reservations will be available for the month of October and any remaining days in September that have not been booked. Permits issued using the reservation system will allow park visitors to enter the park within two-hour windows of availability between 6 a.m. through 5 p.m. This process will facilitate advance payment of entrance fees, minimize contact between park entrance station staff and visitors and limit congestion in parking lots. The permit system will apply to all areas of the park. In the initial opening phase, the park will open approximately 60 percent of the park’s maximum parking capacity or 4,800 vehicles (13,500 visitors) per day. 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. Dogs are not allowed.

hiking
rocky
scramble
1 day ago

Really enjoyed this trail. Went during the week so it wasn’t crowded. Tough ascent, but worth the climb. We scrambled up the rocks surrounding the lake to get even better vistas- definitely recommend.

hiking
rocky
scramble
3 days ago

hiking
scramble
4 days ago

Hiked this end of May. Harder than I was anticipated, but def doable. There are some stretches without shade. One small switch back area that is kinda a rock scramble. Poles might be helpful. Great views along the way.

hiking
5 days ago

Great trail to a beautiful alpine lake! Lots of rocks and steps. Beautiful views of the valley and snowy peaks in RMNP as you climb. Shady trail in the morning but mostly sunny by noon. At 8:00 on a Sunday AM when we arrived the parking lot was over half full.

hiking
8 days ago

Beautiful views of Estes Park valley. Plenty of parking at 1000. Even less busy when we got back down at 1300. (Midweek and 2nd day Park had reopened)Great well maintained path. A lot of stair climbing.

hiking
9 days ago

Awesome hike - love the mostly rock/boulder trail.

hiking
9 days ago

Hiked 5/27/20 - Great trail, beautiful views throughout. Lots of shaded areas & the trail has a variety of terrain which keeps it interesting for sure! No snow at all.

hiking
11 days ago

Made the drive to Estes to try and see if we could hike this trail. Parking lot was closed and warnings issued about citations if you cross. When the trail is open it is amazing. Will come back again and again.

hiking
icy
muddy
off trail
over grown
rocky
1 month ago

Rocky and be extremely careful when iced out which can be slippery. The views from the top are absolutely incredible! Bring water, power bar, good boots, and a buddy system. We fell off track and had to find our way back through shrub to get on the trail.

hiking
2 months ago

Hiked this yesterday 3/20/20 in snow spikes. Always a fun trail to hike.

hiking
icy
snow
2 months ago

Just spikes is fine.. I’ve done light jogging downhill. Mostly snow not much ice. Not windy at all today. 03/20/20

hiking
icy
muddy
rocky
2 months ago

Trail is fun and challenging at the same time. Many times had to make up the trail to keep moving forward. The lake is frozen over still, however it is pretty cool to see and walk over. The scenic views on the way up are definitely the best part of the hike.

hiking
icy
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

What awesome views. Because Gem Lake was frozen, the journey was far superior to the destination, but in all honesty, the journey was always going to be better due to the truly amazing sights of Estes Park and the Continental Divide. I would recommend spikes for traction near the lake, but other than a few icy patches, the trail was in good condition.

hiking
snow
2 months ago

My gf and I did this hike in the snow and it was beautiful! Can’t wait to see it in the summer.

hiking
2 months ago

Fantastic views and beautiful setting

hiking
snow
2 months ago

Used our micro spikes for parts but would’ve been fine without. Gorgeous views and not too much snow/ice for majority of the hike.

muddy
snow
2 months ago

We went this morning and got there at 9:45am. There were only 4 other cars. Parts of the trail were muddy, snowy and icy. I used my spikes mainly on the way down.

hiking
icy
rocky
snow
2 months ago

Sooooo many people but was nice when I found a good hammock spot.

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