Balanced Rock – 7.7mi / 12.4km
You’ll see many great rock formations on the way to Balanced Rock, but this precarious chunk of granite is in a league of its own.
Take a right at the trailhead to climb up through the wonderful forest, past interesting rock formations, and stunning views to Gem Lake (see Gem Lake in 0-5 Miles for description). Continue past the lake to drop down on the north side of the ridge. Views are scant as you descend, steeply at times, through the forest. Follow the signs left at the junction. Keep an eye out for crazy rock formations, such as holes through the boulders, as you drop into and then back up a drainage.
Balanced Rock is unmistakable, as it pops into view at the end of the trail, perfectly teetering on a large, granite base.
Trailhead: From Hwy 34 in Estes Park, head north on MacGregor Ave, then Devils Gulch Road. After 1.3mi/2.1km turn on Lumpy Ridge Dr to the parking lot at the end of the road.
Elevation Gain: 1,900ft / 570m – Elevation Loss: 1,900ft / 570m