HIKING GEM LAKE – Rocky Mountain National Park, near Estes Park, Colorado

Estes Park, Colorado is the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park, and you don’t even have to pass through the official park entrance to reach many a lovely hike. Gem Lake is an easy-ish uphill walk of about 3.4 miles round trip, with rewarding views. Boulders and trees open up to show off 14,259-foot Long’s Peak and a range of 13ers, as you hike from nearly eight-thousand to nearly nine-thousand feet. The lake at the top is really more of a pond, but it’s surrounded by stunning granite formations. It’s a perfect spot for a picnic, if you don’t mind being harassed by small gangs of thieving chipmunks. I recommend going on a weekday for peace and quiet, and a chance to see raptors. We went on Monday, July 16, and even then we passed plenty of tourists.

The Gem Lake Trail is easy to find. Take US 36 to downtown Estes Park. From there, head north on MacGregor Avenue, which turns into Devils Gulch Road. Go less than a mile past the gateway to MacGregor Ranch, and turn left at the sign for the Lumpy Ridge Trailhead. The parking lot isn’t far off Devils Gulch Road. Here’s a short video of a few things you might see along the trail, and yes, that sound at the end is a small afternoon thunderstorm:

Hiking Gem Lake – Rocky Mountain National Park, near Estes Park, Colorado from Cara Lopez Lee on Vimeo.

4 thoughts on “HIKING GEM LAKE – Rocky Mountain National Park, near Estes Park, Colorado

  1. Cara Lopez Lee Post author

    Thanks, Rose. Meaningful praise indeed from a fellow trekker. No doubt you’re seeing plenty of beauty as you travel the rest of our amazing country.

  2. Rose

    Watching this great video got me to look at your others, too, Cara. I love how you capture the essence of each hike and especially the wildlife! Thanks for sharing these beautiful experiences. Makes me miss Colorado even more!

  3. Cara Lopez Lee Post author

    Thanks for taking a look, Carmel. Glad you enjoyed it. My hope is that Front Range hiking enthusiasts will learn that they can find and share videos of local trails at this blog. I love when I can “see” a destination before I visit.

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