Gem Lake Trail

#1 of 132 trails in Rocky Mountain National Park

Join the largest community of outdoor enthusiasts.

Get Started

Upgrade to Pro

Unlimited access to National Geographic TOPO! & Trails Illustrated Maps

Learn More »

Gem Lake Trail is a 1.8 mile 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 accessible year-round.

Share your experience to help other people learn more about this trail:

Write ReviewUpload PhotosUpload Tracks

Chat Coats (379)

17 Completed12 Reviews

The trail up is well maintained but very stair-stepy. Nothing extraordinary about the trail itself, but the views make up for it as you ascend. Incredible views of Long's Peak, Estes and RMNP. The lake itself is small but is surrounded by neat rock formations. I ascended the one on the left for even better views. As mentioned, go early to avoid the masses. There is a restroom at the trailhead and a privy near the top.

Jen Calvanese (141)

6 Completed6 Reviews

Took 4 young children.. It was fun. They had leeches all over their feet after dipping them in the lake :0

Zachary Christy-Aronson (894)

92 Completed18 Reviews

Just echoing what others have said. Get out early for less people on the trail, as the reward on this easy out and back day is a perfect mirror reflecting pool that makes even an unacclimated climb up to a silent Gem Lake worth it.

Dean H. (166)

This is one of my favorite RMNP trails. It is a great altitude acclimation trail before going on to higher trails in the park. Rock formations on this ridge above Estes Park are exceptional. On your way to the lake, there are several points just off the trail where you can climb out onto rock formations with great views. If you enjoy a mountain-top experience, DON'T STOP AT THE LAKE!! It takes a little bit of rock scrambling, but walk past the lake just a little bit and then start climbing up one of the rock formations that overshadow the lake on both sides (and you might want to explore both sides). My favorite is on the west side (go left and up after going past the lake). There is no "trail" -- you just have to work your way up to the top. Note that to get to the highest point, you have to find your way around the back side of the top rock formation (there's a short section that is a little scary). Once on top you have a 360-degree mountain top view that is excellent! A great place to have lunch!

Emma Keifer (80)

1 Completed1 Reviews

Went my parents who are in there 40's. Really enjoyed it even though it was easy for me, but more moderate for my mom. The different views were wonderful. Also saw elk,chipmunks,humming birds and etc.

Gordon Cave (101)

11 Completed2 Reviews

Meh. It has some cool rock formations on the way, but not worth the trouble. The lake is neat and you can see Estes Park on my way up, as well as the continental divide, but overall...there are much better trails.

Jim Wood (41)

1 Completed1 Reviews

I hiked with my wife and 9 year old twins. Great short hike. Great views! Kids enjoyed it.

Becca Ryan (94)

10 Completed1 Reviews

This was my first hike with any real elevation to it and while I had to stop periodically to catch my breath and hydrate, it's a great starter for elevation hikes and offers incredibly beautiful views.

Adam Black (100)

10 Completed2 Reviews

Fun hike! It is basically a stairwell to the lake. But has a ton of beautiful sites just remember NO DOGS ALLOWED!! :-(

Arthur Holmes (209)

29 Completed3 Reviews