Updated: Jul 14, 2022
I didn’t do much research when deciding to hike Lumpy Ridge Trail. The hike turned out to be one of the prettiest hikes we’ve been on thanks to the astounding views of Prospect Mountain, Twin Sisters Peak East, Kenny Mountain, Panorama Peak, Pierson Mountain and Mount Olympus. That being said, this trail is rated as moderate and of the 4.4 mile distance, we only hiked about a mile and a half of it.
The day before we hiked Lumpy Ridge Trail, we had explored Fort Collins and its famous Horsetooth Reservoir. We spent the night in Fort Collins and arose ravenous. We decided to grab some breakfast at La Creperie and French Bakery before heading out of town. We had a decadent breakfast at this Fort Collins staple. Their crepes are as authentic and scrumptious as any you’ll find in the US and their melt in your mouth macarons were so rich, we couldn’t eat them all in one sitting. (Don’t worry, they all got eaten.) After gorging ourselves on flaky croissants and chocolate café’ lattes it was time to hit the road and head to the remarkable Estes Park.
My Mom and her girlfriend came to visit us in Denver and experiencing a quintessential Colorado hike was at the top of their list of things to do during their stay. I’m confident when I say that they weren’t disappointed with this gem. Oh, and speaking of gem, Lumpy Ridge Trail is actually a loop that intersects Black Canyon Trail, and both of these trails meet to form Gem Lake Trail. At its conclusion, Gem Lake trail rewards you with an oasis of a lake, perfect for dipping a pair of sore feet in after elevating 1,100 feet.
At Lumpy Ridge Trailhead you can turn left or right to begin the lower portion of the loop. We went right and hiked about three quarters of a mile to meet up with Gem Lake trail at a sharp 90-degree right hand turn. Walking another 100 yards, you can see an open area with minimal trees and several large boulders. Walking through those boulders puts you on a perch overlooking Estes Park with views of seven massive mountain peaks. #Moneyspot. This was where we decided it was time to turn around. We did see several families on the trail, including two folks with a stroller. Not sure how they managed a stroller up the steep stair ascent, but hey, more props to them. The ideal minimum age for this hike is probably more like seven or eight years but I don’t have children so who am I to judge. If you continue Gem Lake trail, you’ll be graced by the absolute grandeur of the Rocky Mountain National Park. The descent back down is also mind-boggling gorgeous!
Once you’ve burned off those tasty French crepes from breakfast, it’s time to refuel at the Trailhead Restaurant. An easy 10-minute drive from the parking lot of Lumpy Ridge, Trailhead Restaurant is a classic American restaurant with mountain views from its outside deck dining area. We stopped in for lunch and were rewarded with some seriously hearty fare. We enthusiastically passed around our table elk stew, spectacular corned beef Reubens and their mountain man burger (this eighth wonder of the world has elk, venison, wild boar, antelope, and buffalo all mixed in)! After sampling all the tasty wild game this amazing state plays host to, we decided to explore the restaurant’s gift shop area and purchase some souvenirs for our loved ones back on the east coast.
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