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