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

Alex Wildee (158)

3 Completed3 Reviews

My friend and I did this trail last year with the horses. We were told the trail was horse friendly. The first part of the trail is great for horses, but after the look out not so much. There are narrow switchbacks that were hard for our horses to maneuver and the last half mile are large steps that the horses have to jump to get to the top. It was still a gorgeous ride and a learning experience for us and our horses. This trail certainly made us braver and more adventurous trail riders. Great for the adventurous trail rider!

DeWayne Hansen (18466)

109 Completed96 Reviews

Nice hike, lots of rock formations. Gem lake is small. July, 1999

Rosie Moceri (128)

3 Completed6 Reviews

Dogs below were found! Yeah! Thank you!

Rosie Moceri (128)

3 Completed6 Reviews

*Lost Dogs* in Allenspark. Yellow LAB/Shephard mix named Kaya and Black Cockapoo puppy named Mokie. We are reaching out to hikers. Please see the below craigslist post for details. I promise this is not spam! Thank you for your help!

Sarah Reardon (122)

8 Completed3 Reviews

This is a good trail for beginner-moderate hikers and trail runners. There are a lot of steps and switch backs on the walk up. In the 1.7 miles you gain about 930 feet, but the steps can be challenging towards the end if you're looking to keep a steady pace.

I was here in late November so the lake (water hole) was frozen over. But aside from that, the views of Estes Park are pretty great. Take the trail in the early morning and you'll have great temperatures. Watch the wind at the top... It gets a little gusty

Alexandria Filla (49)

2 Completed2 Reviews

It was a very pleasant hike out & back, with several other trail options available. The lake is much more of a shallow pond, but it is still a lovely sight. The trail is very well maintained and marked, with regular log stairs to ease the climb.

Wanton Taco (88)

4 Completed4 Reviews

Great hike with scenic views of Estes Park and the surrounding rock formations. The ascent and descent is very rough because of the steps. The last quarter of the trail is plagued with these steps and you can get a good feel for what its like by trying to go up a staircase 2 steps at a time. If you are hiking with people that are prone to sore knees, this trail is a good way to get taken off their Christmas list while giving yourself knee problems in the process. All in all, a nice trail and less crowded than Rocky Mountain National Park trails so worth it, just keep in mind those steps are waiting.

Kathy Shaw (200)

15 Completed11 Reviews

Did the hike to Gem Lake and beyond to Balanced Rock. Trail map said 8 mi, but my Fit Bit and GPS said 10 RT. Nice hike with nice views. Somewhat challenging due to ascent/descent and lots of steep stairs. Left the trailhead at 9:30 ish and saw almost no one on the trail but hiking out at 1:30ish, it was crowded but not ridiculous.

Chat Coats (392)

19 Completed13 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 (181)

6 Completed6 Reviews

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