Birding · Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
Gem Lake is a popular trail that originates at the Lumpy Ridge Trailhead. From the parking lot, follow the trail as it ascends through rugged rock outcroppings and take in the sweeping views of Estes Park and the surrounding mountains. After just under two miles, you'll emerge at Gem Lake. This is a great place to take a breather before turning around or continuing to Balanced Rock Trail and/or Cow Creek Trail.
Descending from Gem Lake, you'll encounter the Balanced Rock Trail at mile three which branches off to the left. Follow it for views of a unique rock formation and to tack on a couple extra miles to your run if you like.
Continuing on Gem Lake Trail, you'll descend for the next mile or so into the Cow Creek drainage before crossing the river and climbing up to Cow Creek Trail.