Looking for a quick escape from the city? Gem Lake has it all!
Just an hour and a half from Denver, this popular hike starts right behind the historic Stanley Hotel in Estes Park. If you have never been to the Stanley Hotel, it is probably a good idea to stop. The grand white exterior with a majestic red roof of this 100+ year old hotel itself is a sight to see. And the inside is equally intriguing with its old fashioned interior and haunted history.
After taking a second to appreciate Estes Parks' historic site, just a few minutes up a curvy road will take you to the base of Gem Lake Trail. Along this 1.75 mile hike, you will find beautiful views of Estes Park, Mt Meeker and Longs Peak. You will also witness rocks and boulders that have been "sculpted by wind and erosion over the last 1.8 billion years."
The true attraction of the hike, however, is the bluish, green lake that lies at the base of massive granite cliffs. A popular destination in Rocky Mountain National Park, Gem Lake elicits true relaxation. The lake stands still, with no water coming in and no water going out. The lake is made solely out of snowmelt and rainwater that collects in the basin. Take some time to rehydrate and refuel as you take in the tranquility of the lake and are greeted by friendly chipmunks that run around the rocks in the shade of the grand cliffs.
After you get back to town, take some time to explore Estes Park. The main street, lined with ice creameries, candy shops and restaurants, reminds its visitors of the simplicity of a small mountain town. By the end of the day, you are sure to have met some friendly people and forgotten about the busy city that awaits your return. So, relax and enjoy this gem of a day trip that is sure to rejuvenate you for the week ahead.
For more statistics on Gem Lake Trail, visit http://www.rockymountainhikingtrails.com/gem-lake.htm
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