- Cabinet Mountains
- Campsites at the lake
- The trail was in great shape
Gem Lake trail 554 starts out treacherously easily, meandering at the slightest of inclines beneath a thick canopy of fir. About half a mile into the hike the gloves come off halfway, as the trail tackles the steep mountain flank with the help of a few switchbacks. Then the gloves come off completely, and the trail heads straight up. A short reprieve follows around the one-mile mark, when the trail reroutes to the right at a relatively modest incline. Then it shifts eastwards and upwards, passing a small pond to the right, and climbs steeply towards the lip of the lake.
The hike offers filtered views of the Pend Oreille Divide (the opposite range) throughout, including Mount Pend Oreille and the lookout tower on Lunch Peak. Once at the lake, the peaks and saddles surrounding it come into full view.