Directions: This hike starts from the Glacier Gorge Trailhead near Bear Lake. Enter the park through the Beaver Meadows entrance (entrance fee required), make a left on Bear Lake Road and travel almost to the end. The Glacier Gorge Trailhead is the last one till Bear Lake. If this parking area is full you can park at Bear Lake and walk the .5 mi trail to Glacier Gorge. Alternatively you can take the shuttle from the park and ride to the Trailhead.
The hike to Mills Lake is a perfect way to get a peak at the backcountry of Rocky Mountain National Park. You get enough of a taste of the spectacle that is Glacier Gorge, that you'll be hard pressed to continue on to Black Lake and beyond. Mills Lake is also one of the easier ways to see the high peaks and get beyond the parade of visitors at Alberta Falls.
Follow the people to Alberta Falls. If you are smart enough to hit the park early and in the off season, then follow the well marked trail to Alberta Falls. From the falls continue to follow the signs the the Mills Lake/The Loch junction. From here turn left (south) and follow the trail until you see the sawtooth like "Keyboard of the Winds" towering above the landscape. Within minutes Mills Lake will come into view. The lake is large but peaceful with many areas to sit on boulder and relax.
The views from the lake are stunning. Longs Peak, Pagoda Mountain, Chief's Head Peak are all on display. The real treat however, is the view of the "spear head"... you'll know it when you see it.
Beyond Mills Lake lies Black Lake, Frozen Lake, and a wealth of alpine adventure. Mills Lake is a great place to start.
HIKES BY REGION
NATIONAL PARK HIKES
- BENT'S OLD FORT NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
- BLACK CANYON OF THE GUNNISON NATIONAL PARK
- COLORADO NATIONAL MONUMENT
- CURECANTI NATIONAL RECREATION AREA
- DINOSAUR NATIONAL MONUMENT
- FLORISSANT FOSSIL BEDS NATIONAL MONUMENT
- MESA VERDE NATIONAL PARK
- ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK
- GREAT SAND DUNES NATIONAL PARK
- HOVENWEEP NATIONAL MONUMENT
- SAND CREEK MASSACRE NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
- YUCCA HOUSE NATIONAL MONUMENT
- HIKES BY CATEGORY
- $UPPORT GHC
- INTERACTIVE MAP
Rocky Mountain National Park
Date Hiked: August 4, 2008
Distance: 5.6 mi (RT)
Elevation Gain: 750 ft
Managing Agency: National Park Service