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blue Gem Lake and Balanced Rock

  4.3 ( 12 )

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Trail

7.5 mile 12.0 kilometer out and back
83% Runnable
Intermediate

Elevation

Ascent: 1,563' 476 m
Descent: -1,562' -476 m
High: 8,827' 2,691 m
Low: 7,841' 2,390 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 8% (5°)
Max Grade: 25% (14°)

Dogs

No Dogs
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Trail shared by Brian Smith

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Current trail conditions

Minor Issues 33 days ago See History
Snowy, Some Mud - Don't bring snowshoes, but microspikes are highly recommended. More muddy toward bottom, packed/slippery snow toward top.

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A tour of some of the best scenery and terrain on offer in the Lumpy Ridge Area.

Brian Smith

Features Birding · Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Overview

This run makes for a reasonably quick outing and highlights some of the biggest draws of the Lumpy Ridge area. Views of Estes Park and surrounding mountains lead to a serene pond and, eventually, a precariously balanced rock formation.

Description

From the parking lot at the Lumpy Ridge TH, follow the Gem Lake Trail as it ascends through rugged rock outcroppings and take in the sweeping views of Estes Park and the surrounding mountains. The trail is well traveled, but has some steeper stepped switchbacks making it a relatively difficult run to navigate.

After just under two miles, you'll emerge at Gem Lake. Gem Lake is a small pool that is nestled into a serene rock outcropping. If you're doing this run in the summertime, be prepared for a greeting from some rather cute residents of the lake - chipmunks! Although it may be tempting and undoubtedly others will be doing so, please do not feed these furry little guys. This is a great place to take a breather before continuing on to Balanced Rock Trail.

Descending from Gem Lake, you'll encounter the Balanced Rock Trail at mile three, which branches off to the left. Follow Balanced Rock Trail for a quick mile until you reach its namesake - a giant boulder that appears to be precariously balanced. This rather large boulder is the turnaround point for the run. Once you've had a moment to appreciate the natural beauty of your surroundings, turn around and run back the way you came.

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Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 12 votes

#3

in Estes Park

#1602

Overall
  4.3 from 12 votes
5 Star
42%
4 Star
50%
3 Star
8%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Rankings

#3

in Estes Park

#237

in Colorado

#1,602

Overall
119 Views Last Month
3,278 Since Jan 30, 2015
Intermediate Intermediate

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