00
Shares

Gem Lake Hike via Lumpy Ridge Trailhead

Rocky Mountain National Park

Northern Front Range, Colorado

Start Exploring
Gem Lake Hike via Lumpy Ridge Trailhead
00

Shares

Advertisement
  • Gem Lake Trail.- Gem Lake Hike via Lumpy Ridge Trailhead
  • Fremont's geranium (Geranium caespitosum var. fremontii).- Gem Lake Hike via Lumpy Ridge Trailhead
  • Golden-mantled ground squirrel (Callospermophilus lateralis).- Gem Lake Hike via Lumpy Ridge Trailhead
  • Unidentified hare species (help us identify it by providing feedback).- Gem Lake Hike via Lumpy Ridge Trailhead
  • Panoramic view of Estes Park area and Rocky Mountain National Park peaks.- Gem Lake Hike via Lumpy Ridge Trailhead
  • Distant view southwest of Taylor Peak (13,153 ft) and the Taylor Glacier Canyon.- Gem Lake Hike via Lumpy Ridge Trailhead
  • Golden-mantled ground squirrel (Callospermophilus lateralis).- Gem Lake Hike via Lumpy Ridge Trailhead
  • Quaking aspen (Populus tremuloidus) along the Gem Lake Trail.- Gem Lake Hike via Lumpy Ridge Trailhead
  • Quaking aspen (Populus tremuloidus) along the Gem Lake Trail.- Gem Lake Hike via Lumpy Ridge Trailhead
  • Granite formations along the Gem Lake Trail.- Gem Lake Hike via Lumpy Ridge Trailhead
  • Gem Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park.- Gem Lake Hike via Lumpy Ridge Trailhead
  • View north from the granite dome above Gem Lake.- Gem Lake Hike via Lumpy Ridge Trailhead
  • Granite dome above Gem Lake.- Gem Lake Hike via Lumpy Ridge Trailhead
  • View south from above Gem Lake.- Gem Lake Hike via Lumpy Ridge Trailhead
  • View northwest from Gem Lake.- Gem Lake Hike via Lumpy Ridge Trailhead
  • View west to Lumpy Ridge at sunset.- Gem Lake Hike via Lumpy Ridge Trailhead
  • View west to Lumpy Ridge at sunset.- Gem Lake Hike via Lumpy Ridge Trailhead
  • View south to Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park including Longs Peak (14,259 ft).- Gem Lake Hike via Lumpy Ridge Trailhead
  • View south to Twin Sisters Peaks (11,428 ft).- Gem Lake Hike via Lumpy Ridge Trailhead
  • - Gem Lake Hike via Lumpy Ridge Trailhead
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Iconic rock formations. Panoramic views of Front Range.
Cons: 
No backcountry campsites.
Advertisement
Region:
Northern Front Range, CO
Congestion: 
High
Pets allowed: 
No
Net Elevation Gain: 
950.00 ft (289.56 m)
Parking Pass: 
National Park Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Summer, Fall
Suitable for:
Horseback
Total Distance: 
3.30 mi (5.31 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
7,880.00 ft (2,401.82 m)
Typically multi-day: 
No
Current Local Weather:
Advertisement
Hike Description

Hike Description

Contributor

Although the round-trip mileage from Lumpy Ridge Trailhead to Gem Lake and back might not shock your weekend warrior friends, the elevation gain might. In just 1.65 miles this trail ascends almost 1,000 feet in elevation, aided sometimes by 1-foot-tall stone steps along the way, earning the intrepid hiker spectacular views of Estes Park and the sheer granite cliffs that encircle Gem Lake.

That's not to say that this hike is underutilized, however. It's one of Estes Park's most popular hiking destinations because it's generally accessible year-round and it grants access to Lumpy Ridge, a massive exposed granite outcropping and one of Rocky Mountain National Park's most popular rock climbing crags.

During the first half mile hikers pass through the historic McGregor Ranch, originally established by Clara and Alexander McGregor in the mid-1800s. Intending to preserve the undeveloped valley, park officials purchased 1,221 acres just over 100 years later, and they still actively maintain it. The old homestead and surrounding private ranch now function as a working ranch, youth education center, historic site, and public museum.

Once you've reach Gem Lake, really only a small pool, don't simply turn around, rather, continue your explorations by scrambling up the granite dome crag that rises up east of the lake. The granite surface provides sure footing, and the short extension will rise you high atop Lumpy Ridge with 360-degree views of the stunning surrounding landscape and national park.

If time permits, extend your hike further on the return by passing under the iconic Twin Owls, one of Lumpy Ridge's most popular rock climbing spots.

Updates, Tips + Comments

Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide + Trail Map

Field Guide + Trail Map

Download
Advertisement
Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(14 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(79 within a 30 mile radius)

Advertisement
Related Content

Related Content

Adventure Community

Adventure Community

Who Wants To Do It
55 Members
Who's Done It
34 Members
Submission by
Contributor
208 Adventures Explored
183 Adventures Published
Team
1266 Adventures Explored
1264 Adventures Published

Newsletter Signup

Join the Outdoor Project Community

Get access to essential planning materials and information for your next adventure. Take a few seconds to join the community. It’s FREE!

Free Field Guides + Maps

Post Updates, Tips + Comments

Organize + Track Your Adventures

Insider Detailed Info, News + Benefits

Custom Driving Directions

Recommended Campsites, Photos + Reservation Info