RMNP: Balanced Rock | Colorado | 01/25/20

Balanced Rock | Rocky Mountain National Park

Estes Park, CO | 01/25/20| 8.08 miles | 1,807′ gain

For my first redemption hike of 2020, I met up with my friend Sarah who will be moving out of state soon. (Note: By redemption hike, I mean a hike that I’d attempted in the past but couldn’t complete for whatever reason. I started 2020 with 8 hikes that I wanted to finally finish this year.)

The hike to Balanced Rock starts out on the Gem Lake Trail which I’d visited last summer. This trail winds through the Lumpy Ridge area of Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) and up many stone steps to get to the small but beautiful Gem Lake.

Longs Peak not wanting to make an appearance today. Note the blowing snow.

Along the way to Gem Lake are numerous views of Estes Park, RMNP, and giants like Longs Peak (14,255′). The wind was blowing so hard today that Longs Peak was obscured by blowing snow. We were glad to be in the forest and protected from the strong wind.

The Lumpy Ridge area is full of interesting rock formations. Even though I’d seen them before, they always amaze me with how strange they look.

One more look at Longs Peak before reaching Gem Lake, I wonder if we’ll get an unobscured view today?
Gem Lake
Gem Lake

We continued around the side of Gem Lake and along the trail to Balanced Rock. Most people only go as far as Gem Lake so we had the rest of the trail to ourselves.

Using PeakFinder to figure out what mountain that is in the distance. It’s Mummy Mountain (13,425′)!
Another view of Mummy Mountain and another obscured summit.

This trail is long, but it’s not all that hard. The hardest part is just getting to Gem Lake. From there the trail becomes much more gradual and we soon found ourselves nearing Balanced Rock.

Since Balanced Rock is in the forest, it’s hard to see and even harder to get pictures of.

Balanced Rock

I walked along the path that goes to the base of the rock for a better view, but the pictures really didn’t turn out. But at least you can see the general shape and size of it! (It’s tall!)

On the way back, we kept our eyes peeled for Longs Peak. Maybe the winds died down a bit and she would give us a peek?

Longs Peak (right-most summit) is still obscured, but Mount Meeker (13,911′, left-most summit) is now visible!
Look at all that blowing snow!

No such luck on a perfect view of Longs Peak, but we still had a wonderful day!


15 thoughts on “RMNP: Balanced Rock | Colorado | 01/25/20

  1. Amazing photos! That wind, holy cow!

    Gem Lake looks so pretty in winter, I’ve only seen it in summer. I’ve also never been to Balanced Rock so it looks like I need to add this one to the to-do list. Thanks for the inspiration!


  2. Pingback: Colorado Chelsea – 100th Blog Post – Colorado Chelsea

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