Lumpy Ridge Loop – 10.8mi / 17.5km
Circumnavigate Lumpy Ridge on this long and varied day around Estes Park’s iconic feature.
Take a right at the trailhead to climb up through the wonderful forest, past great rock formations and stunning views to Gem Lake (see Gem Lake 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. Stay right past the Balanced Rock junction and continue dropping down into the Cow Creek drainage.
You trade the rock formations for flower meadows as you cross Cow Creek. Take a left and head upstream through meadows with stands of large ponderosa pines and towering aspens. Stay left at the junction with the Bridalveil Fall junction to the lesser-traveled trail that works further up the valley. You’ll leave the open valleys into a steeper, choked canyon before dropping on the other side. Take a left at the junction to descend the wooded Black Canyon.
After approximately 2mi/3.2km of forest, the remarkable rock formations begin to appear. Climbing trails break off to the left while a lovely meadow opens to your right. You’ll pass through public and private property on your way back to the trailhead.
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: 2,500ft / 750m – Elevation Loss: 2,500ft / 750m