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Gem Lake Hike

Gem Lake Trail, Estes Park, CO, USA




Take in breathtaking, memorable views while climbing to the lovely Gem Lake.

The ~3.5-mile hike to Gem Lake is steep on the way up, but well worth it.  There are lovely views of Estes Park to stop at and admire (and catch your breath!), but the real highlight is the gorgeous little Gem Lake.  We stopped for a while at the lake to have lunch and were rewarded with gorgeous reflections in the clear water, a rocky wall on the far side of the lake, and tons of chipmunks ready to eat our food :)  The hike is only about 3 miles, but given the elevation (about 990 feet), it will probably take you ~2 hours.  Coming down we found to be much easier, even with our children (ages 2.5 and 4 riding on our backs).  The parking situation isn't as bad as other places in RMNP and around Estes Park and you don't have to have a day pass or anything (no one checked our RMNP pass, though we had one).

Directions: Go from Estes Park up Devils Gulch Road. Turn on to Lumpy Ridge Road and park in the large lot. Bathrooms are available.


Parking Restrooms Good for All Ages Hiking Lake
Thoughtfully captured by:
Emily O'Grady
Emily O'Grady lives with her daughters Eloise (5) and Charlie (3.5), husband Mick, and their two senior dogs Porter and Francie, in Nashville. They’ve called Music City home for 7 years this September. After Emily and Mick met in New Zealand over 15 years ago, they’ve hiked and backpacked extensively across the globe for months at a time. In their new roles as parents, they’ve hit pause on their most extreme adventures for now, but they are consciously raising their daughters to love and appreciate nature, getting outside and exploring as much as they can in the hills of Tennessee and beyond. During the weekdays, you can find Emily leading teams across Asurion’s Product Development team, bringing the company’s service strategy to life across carrier clients. Before joining Asurion, Emily was an Engagement Manager for McKinsey & Company for 4 years, as well as held Analyst roles with Telephia (Nielsen) and Bank of America Global Corporate and Investment Bank. Emily holds a BBA in Finance, French and European Studies from Southern Methodist University and an MBA from Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management.
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