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Gem Lake

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Lovely small lake, stunning views, great rock formations, a wonderful hike!
Near:Estes Park, CO
Distance:4 miles round trip
Elevation Gain:1100 ft
Hike Time:2.5 hours
Trail Condition:Well maintained trail
HikeType:Out and Back

Summary: This spectacular hike starts out on Gem Lake Trail traversing across some sparsely wooded areas heading towards Lumpy ridge. After about a half mile, the trail begins to gain elevation and the views of Estes Park and the surrounding mountains behind you get progressively more breathtaking. At the three quarter mile mark you need to bear right at a trail junction. The woods become more dense and the rock formations more amazing.

Gem Lake is actually a bowl carved out of the granite and filled with rain water. The setting, with vast views and shear cliffs, make this lake truly a gem. Those with a more adverursome spirit can scramble carefully up to rocks on the back side of the lake, to gain access to the top of the cliffs. The views can't be beat. I enjoyed this hike immensely.

Trailhead: From highway 34 in Estes Park, follow MacGregor Avenue North for about a mile, then turn right onto Devils Gulch Road at the entrance to Mac Gregor Ranch. Follow Devils Gulch Road for about another mile, keeping an eye out for the Gem Lake trailhead parking on the left side of the road. (Lat:40.39429 Lon:-105.507)
Trail Guides for Gem Lake:
RMNP - Best Easy Day Hikes
by Kent Dannen and Donna Dannen  (Globe Pequot Press)

RMNP - Panoramic Hiking Map
by Unknown  (Trail Tracks)

Best Seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall
User Groups: Hikers, Horses
Ranger Contact: RMNP Information (970) 586-1206
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Jim Zuber, who has posted  104 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews  Page 1 of 5   Submit your own review
Reviewed by MR on 7/11/2015
I personally don't have issues with dogs on trails but it is likely that you can't have dogs due to the number of near maulings either by bears, mountain lions or bull elk (not to mention Moose which especially don't like dogs). It's for their protection and yours.

Reviewed by AG on 8/18/2013
What a bunch of cry babies... oh you're mean, dont let me take my dog.... get over it. Not everyone likes yoyr dog as much as you do. Ger over it.

Reviewed by AR on 8/14/2013
fb is a dick. I am fine with hiking without my dog and I understand the benefits of not allowing dogs on trails, but not all dogs suck. Mine is awesome. fb sucks. I would rather hike a trail that doesn't allow pretentious jerks.

Reviewed by AK on 8/2/2013
Well trained ( leashed,and/or sight and voice command trained and even certified) dogs on a trail hike like this are awesome! Sorry to hear this hike no longer allows dogs. We'll take our super well trained pup another venue.

Reviewed by ST on 5/26/2013
The hike itself is very nice, and the scenery and views of Long's Peak and the surrounding mountains are spectacular. But the trail was very heavily used (granted, it was Memorial Day weekend), and a majority of the people on the trail were clueless to trail etiquette (did not give way to hikers going uphill, screamed and made loud noises at the lake because of the echoing effect of the rocks, illegally brought dogs, left trash, fed chipmunks, etc.). Definitely do not hike this trail if you are looking for solitude or peacefulness. If you can hike it during off-times it would be great.

Reviewed by fb on 1/19/2013
I'm giving this hike 5 stars because dogs are not allowed on it. Made it a very enjoyable hike for all of us with no obnoxious barking and scaring away the wildlife.

Reviewed by Jorena on 6/15/2012
This hike quickly became our family's favorite when our kids were young and we decided to make it our annual Father's Day hike. Our kids were able to hike it on their own when they were pretty young - I'm thinking at about 5 years old. There are rocks that look like giant pancakes and our favorite is Paul Bunyan's boot which we always had to take a picture with. When you get to the lake, it's a refreshing and charming area to eat your lunch and climb around on the rocks a bit. Excellent hike for kids.

Reviewed by RC on 4/2/2012
Saw no dogs on this hike, but there were dogs in the Park on this weekend. Seems the rules don't apply to some. Very pleasant, not too crowded.

Notice: Traveling in the backcountry can be hazardous. You are responsible for informing yourself about these hazards and taking necessary precautions. Information on this web site comes from volunteer reporters and may contain errors or omissions. A current guidebook and proper equipment are essential for safe enjoyment of the hikes posted on this site.
Keys: Colorado Hiking, Colorado Trails, Colorado Hikes, Larimer County Hiking, Larimer County Trails, Larimer County Hikes

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