Gem Lake is just how the name sounds! It is a fun hike with water crossings, rock steps, and gorgeous sweeping views. It’s not a long hike but a trail full of adventure as you hike upward. We loved it.


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Gem Lake Trail begins at the Lumpy Ridge Trailhead. We arrived days before the timed permits began and before the rush of the summer tourist season. If possible, May is a great time to visit Rocky Mountain, National Park. 

Watch the weather before you go, it can still snow in Colorado in May. Luckily we had warm sunshine and crystal clear skies!

It’s always exciting to feel the beginning of summer coming. Water runoff from snow is everywhere even running down the trails. Little waterfalls come off the rocks as we hike through the forest.


Hiking in Colorado should not be taken lightly. It’s a high altitude trail and dehydration plus fickle weather is always something to consider. For a look at the practical gear in our backpacks on every hike. > CLICK HERE

So spectacular everywhere you look. Just beautiful and without the crowds, peaceful.  Perfect first hike for our short stay in the Park. I can see as we go higher, steep rock faces line the trail ahead.

Got the magical woods feeling crossing water, and hiking through moss-covered rock faces. Totally enthralled with all the scenic trail changes. 

Views, as you hike up, are exceptional with lots of large rocky areas to sit and take it all in. A photographer’s paradise!

And, a toilet just before reaching Gem Lake! That’s a first for me high in the mountain and a pleasant surprise.

FIRST AID KIT – must have!

HIKING UMBRELLA – my new favorite gear!

BEAR SPRAY – I’ve never used mine but its a comfort to have with me.

GRAYL WATER PURIFIER BOTTLE – easy to use & carry


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A sweet ending to our climb, a pretty lake, and lots of areas to hang out. Time for a snack, and suddenly we are surrounded by pushy very cute chipmunks, obviously used to being fed. (not recommended though).

Really loved this hike, it’s fun and adventurous. I would call it family-friendly with keeping in mind that the last part is steep and has big rock steps. 


Gem Lake Trail

3.1 miles out and back

Rated: moderate/slightly strenuous

Elevation gain: 994′

Located: > Rocky Mountain National Park

> Info Shuttle Service

> Info Timed Permits & Reservations

No dogs

Restroom at Trailhead


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Can't wait to see you on the trail!

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