Mills Lake

Difficulty
This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
Easy
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
2.5-3.5h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
8.7 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
294 m
User Ratings
These ratings are completed by users who have completed this trail and not subject to reviews by 10Adventures.
Overall Rating
This is the average user-submitted overall rating on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest.
9.7
Physical Difficulty
This is the average user-submitted rating on the physical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Technical Difficulty
This is the average user-submitted rating on the technical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
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Directions to Trailhead
Mills Lake

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.

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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 800 m 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 for Mills Lake

  • 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.

Getting to the Mills Lake Trailhead

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.

Route Information

  • 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

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Mills Lake Reviews

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