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Gem Lake and Balanced Rock

Intermediate/Difficult
 4.4 (15) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

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


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Map Key

7.5

Miles

12.0

KM

83%

Runnable

8,827' 2,691 m

High

7,841' 2,390 m

Low

1,563' 476 m

Up

1,562' 476 m

Down

8%

Avg Grade (5°)

25%

Max Grade (14°)

Dogs No Dogs

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.

Contacts

Shared By:

Brian Smith

Trail Ratings

  4.4 from 15 votes

#3

in Estes Park

#963

Overall
  4.4 from 15 votes
5 Star
47%
4 Star
47%
3 Star
7%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#3

in Estes Park

#184

in Colorado

#963

Overall
57 Views Last Month
6,684 Since Jan 30, 2015
Intermediate/Difficult

0%
0%
75%
0%
25%
0%

Photos

Balanced Rock with permission from Ed Ogle
Jan 8, 2015 near Estes Park, CO
Looking south across Gem Lake on a calm spring morning
Jul 9, 2018 near Estes Park, CO
On the trail to Gem Lake with permission from dreamer 200
Jan 8, 2015 near Estes Park, CO
The view hiking down from gem lake
Sep 12, 2018 near Estes Park, CO
Gem Lake
Dec 8, 2017 near Estes Park, CO
Yet Another RMNP Panorama
Dec 7, 2017 near Estes Park, CO

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