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Gem Lake and Balanced Rock

We decided that it was time to drive up to Rocky Mountain National Park for our first hike of the season in the real mountains. I picked out a relatively easy, 3.4 mile round trip out-and-back hike to Gem Lake with the intent that we would go all the way to balance rock if we were up to the challenge. Balance rock is 2 miles from Gem Lake once you're there. We woke up a little late thinking that we needed to wait until late morning so it would be a little warmer, but by the time we got there (9:30), it was already in the mid 60's and we were thinking we were in for a hot hike. The temperature never got past about 70 degrees though, and there was always a constant breeze, so it was really nice!

We got to Gem lake 50 minutes into the hike. It was only 956 feet of elevation gain and 1.7 miles to get there, so we ate a quick snack, took some photos, and headed on to Balance Rock. We got to Balance rock an hour later with a total distance of 3.94 miles since the start of our hike. Balance rock is almost at the same elevation as Gem lake, but the trail dipped down some 400 feet in elevation and then back up another 400 feet. That part of the hike really wasn't that difficult. When we got to Balance Rock, we had ascended a total of 1390 feet.

The hike took us a total of 3 hours, 35 minutes. It was 7.91 miles total with 1992 feet of elevation gain.

Trailhead Location
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7.91 mi 3.6 hrs 8,591 ft 1,992 ft
Mountain Hiking
Yellow Flowers
Clear SKies
Longs Peak
Estes Park
View From The Rocks
Green Aspens
Gem Lake
Snack Time
Tall Rocks
Time To Hike On
Sandy Trails
Through the Aspens
Balanced Rock
Up High
Aspen Leaves
To the North
Panorama to the North (and West and East)
On the Edge
Paul Bunyan
Through the Hole
Wild Flowers
One Last Panorama