Popular throughout the year, Gem Lake is a particularly good hike for folks eager to experience spring on the trail. In Rocky Mountain National Park, the Gem Lake Trail sees spring first. Here is the place to observe pasqueflowers pushing their purple tulip heads through the forest duff. Watch for bitterbrush blooming first near the surface of rocks that are solar collectors, radiating heat to create early spring before the season arrives for most other plants. Even the most unimaginative of hikers can see a pair of owls in the two huge granite pillars that rise above the trailhead on Lumpy Ridge. Equally obvious is Paul Bunyan’s Boot about halfway to Gem Lake. Wind and mildly acidic rain have sculpted countless other abstract monoliths along the trail into formations fascinating to both romantic and prosaic minds. It is a natural playground for children, but parents need to supervise and warn kids to avoid falls from slick rocks. Highlights: Unique rock formations, views of Longs Peak above Estes Valley, Gem Lake.
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Directions to: Gem Lakeprint directions
Trail Statistics & Information
|Nearby City||Estes Park|
|Skill Level||Easy to moderate|
|Season||Best summer and fall|
|Trailhead Elevation||7,920 ft|
|Top Elevation||8,830 ft|
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