Mills Lake
Mills Lake

Mills Lake hike

Rocky Mountain National Park
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Looking through the trees near Mills Lake on one of the best hikes in Rocky Mountain National ParkTrail through the forest to Mills Lake in Rocky Mountain National ParkMountains near Mills Lake seen on one of the best hikes in Rocky Mountain National ParkU shaped valley near Mills Lake on one of the best hikes in Rocky Mountain National ParkHiking to beautiful Mills Lake in Rocky Mountain National ParkDriftwood in Mills Lake on great hiking trail in Rocky Mountain National ParkHiker enjoys the views of Mills Lake while on one of the best hikes in Rocky Mountain National ParkSunset over Mills Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park

Mills Lake hike

Distance: 5.4mi
Elevation: 965ft
Time: 2.5-3.5h

Difficulty Rating:

User Ratings:
9.5 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty

The hike to Mills Lake is an easy, busy trail that is perfect for a family walk, or you can opt to take a quick detour off one of the longer trails in the area. Mills Lake is an ideal spot for a picnic, so be sure to bring some goodies for when you reach the picturesque lakeshore.

Mills Lake hike Map

Getting there

From Estes Park, take Highway 36 west and enter RMNP at the Beaver Meadows Entrance Station. Just after the pay station, turn left on Bear Lake Road. Follow the road to Bear Lake Trailhead. You may need to take a shuttle if the park is busy.

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About

When to do

April to September

Backcountry Campsites

No

Pets allowed

No

Family friendly

Yes

Route Signage

Good

Crowd Levels

High

Route Type

Out and back


Mills Lake
Elevation Graph


Route Description for Mills Lake

Mills Lake is a great half-day hike in Rocky Mountain National Park. The hikes in this part of RMNP are very popular, and Mills Lake is no exception. There’s a reason these hikes are popular, they are beautiful! Do note that you may want to take the shuttle to the trailhead instead of driving your car.

From the Big Bear trailhead, head southwest, making sure you take the trail for Mills Lake and not the trail out to Nymph Lake and Dream Lake. You’ll soon cross over Tyndall Creek and then walk beside Glacier Creek. Follow the signs for Alberta Falls. The trail gradually climbs until Alberta Falls, which you’ll reach after about 20 minutes. Alberta Falls are nice, but keep going as Mills Lake is the highlight.

The trail continue and contour around to the left of East Glacier Knob above you. Soon you will come to the Mills Lake intersection, turn left here and stay on the Glacier Gorge trail (going right takes you to the Loch). After 2625ft you will reach Mills Lake. It is a great place to stop for a picnic. You can continue along Mills Lake all the way to Jewel Lake, however the map for this hike shows stopping at Mills Lake.

Return the way you came. If you have energy consider making a quick diversion on your way down to check out The Loch.

Once back at your car – consider a trip to Nymph Lake and beyond.

Insider Hints

  • You could combine this with the Sky Pond and Lake of Glass Hike, taking a left onto the Loch trail at the last intersection. You could also explore Nymph Lake and beyond.

  • This is a busy part of RMNP.

Comments

marysmith 1 year ago

Stunning views of mountains and lake.

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
3h 25m Time Taken
Antoanette Lavroutte 1 year ago

Whether you use a tour guide or not this place is awesome and a must see in Estes Park.

9.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
3h 00m Time Taken
Florence P. 2 years ago

Spectacular scenery. MIlls Lake is mesmerizing!

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
3 Comments

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