Explore Estes Trip 2017 - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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Had a beautiful hike today! I made it to black lake and it was great. Started at the trailhead at 8:45 and got back about 1:15. I would’ve liked to take more breaks but I was racing a storm so I had to hustle. The trails were completely covered with snow but packed well enough that you weren’t falling through every other step. I had crampons which were a huge help. After Mills Lake the trail levels out for a bit but the final push to Black Lake is pretty steep. I was very lucky that I had the whole trail all by myself.

hiking
3 days ago

We had a friend in town from Sweden and after coming in Moab for a weekend- we hit the mountains for a quick hike. This was well trafficked for a mid week early June visit.

Not the prettiest hike in RMNP but easy to get to an manage if you have a short amount of time. It is a great drive up, take a hike, and drive out destination.

The Waterfall is very pretty.

Nice hike! We went a week ago and the trail was still snowy. Deep snow if you leave the trail but if you stay on it’s packed down enough to walk. None of us wore spikes (very slippery, especially coming down) but we learned our lesson and will def rent or buy some for next time! It was a beautiful hike with views at the top.

Only made it to Mills Lake, but it was beautiful. The weather can still be incredibly cold in the morning, but warms up significantly during the day. The trail conditions were a little sketchy at parts if you're not wearing crampons or snowshoes, but it's doable. Just prepare to sink into some soft spots. Especially once you get to the higher elevations.

This trail starts out going downhill so it's harder to come back than to get to the falls. It can get really busy and the views of the falls aren't really great. You can't get far enough away to really see well. I think the hike is worth the effort but not something I'm dying to do again, like Mills Lake.

Only went as far as Mills Lake, but we hope to go farther next time. This hike is amazing. We saw bighorn sheep on the mountaintops above us, so don't forget to look up while you're there.

RMNP is one of my favorite places. This hike was beautiful from beginning to end, I was unable to see the actual falls because of the packed snow. We hiked in a Blizzard the entire time and also lost the trail because it covered peoples footsteps. You can actually climb up to the falls because it is frozen and covered in snow. The sign for Alberta Falls is very small, so you can pass it if not attentive. Bathrooms on the trail head : )

Easy hike, did 4/11 and used spikes only. Definitely recommend going to Dream and Emerald Lake for even prettier views!

Quite icy. Had snowshoes but only needed them to deal with the ice.

Loved exploring this snowy wonderland today. My waterproof hiking boots carried me through just fine- definitely a little slippery though around some of the turns towards the end

hiking
1 month ago

The weather was perfect (30 degree). Lake was frozen. Snow packed trail. Used trekking poles- no spikes, crampons, or snowshoes (although I’d def recommend spikes). Arrived by 10am and parking lot was already 2/3 full. Very, very, very busy with families, kids, visitors, etc. Since I’m from Kansas, the altitude always is an issue for me. Took my time. Fairly easy with a few slick spots- I was easily passed by locals with kids in tow.

Trail was very snowy and due to the past few days of wind the snow wasn't very packed. Super beautiful and amazing hike and there were plenty of people on the trail, but I would not recommend it without snow shoes or spikes

hiking
1 month ago

Pretty hike! Short enough to do mid-day, microspikes would be beneficial!

Very relaxed and beautiful trail!

hiking
1 month ago

Spikes definitely help right now, was able to take my 6 year old on her first hike with them. There is also a great rock outcropping to go up on one side of the lake. It has gorgeous views!

hiking
1 month ago

03/04/2018
This is a steady elevation gain on the way to the lake.
Nothing that can't be done with some boots, but putting on spikes on the way down is ideal. These trails are great for carrying snowshoes with you so you can get off the beaten path during winter. Which is great because all the trails in this little area are heavily crowded with people. Crowded year round basically.

03/12/2018
Almost completely packed down snow right, as all the trails in this area will be for awhile. Slight elevation gain to Alberta Falls, but nothing crazy. We have a 4 and 7 year old and the only one that used spikes was my wife. On the way back it would be helpful though. Right now you can see the water at the top of the waterfall running down through the ice... very cool. This one if good for kids. We do it once during winter and once during summer every year.

Went on 2/16/18, the trail is covered in snow and large snow drifts. You can kind of tell where the trail should be, stay on it or you will post hole if you're not wearing snow shoes or skis. I downloaded the map and referred to the Alltrails app often to make sure I was on course, it was a huge help! I made it to the frozen lake, it was cold and windy so I didn't stay long.

Only needed our snowshoes for the last .5 miles of the trail - everything else was packed down enough that our boots were just fine! Otherwise, absolutely beautiful hike.

hiking
2 months ago

comfortable hike with amazing waterfall!

Went to Jewel Lake. Not much snow, but enough we were glad to have snow shoes. Lakes are starting to freeze but still mushy in spots.

Mostly snow packed but fun if you go just off the trail..fresh powder and a real feel for snowshoeing when you do that.

snowshoeing
3 months ago

Need snowshoes for the majority of this trail. Beautiful frozen waterfalls but can still hear the water. Very calming. Had the trail all to ourselves. Towards the top, became slightly difficult to follow.

Went up to Bear Lake with the plans to snowshoe the Bear Lake and Bierstadt Lake trails. Snow has been sparse so far this year and we were concerned that there would be minimal snow coverage and what the trail condition may be. The weather pulled through and we had a micro blizzard for our snowshoe hike. It was awesome.

Fresh snow if you're looking to head up snowshoeing soon. ENJOY!

Note: There were some ice patches on the road up through RMNP and some cars struggled.

snowshoeing
3 months ago

We didn’t do the route on the app; we did what the ranger described as the “winter trail.” This was a ranger-led snowshoe program, which I definitely recommend for beginners. I think they offer it every Sunday during the winter. The program itself is more about ecology than snowshoeing technique, but the rangers are there if you have any issues and it’s a good way to get comfortable with the equipment. (You have to provide your own snowshoes.) The ranger led us across the middle of frozen Bear Lake, which was fun.

Just went to Black Lake and holy cow it was gorgeous!! Only microspikes necessary (1/4/18) on most of the trail. We got off on a different trail split off on the descent from Black to Jewel and that one had us post holing waist deep in certain spots. Windy at the top but beautiful otherwise. Took us 5.5 hrs with plenty of stops for photos and to mozy out on the frozen lakes.

Hiked to Black Lake yesterday from Glacier Gorge Trailhead just below Bear Lake. The trail was snow covered the entire way to Mills Lake, except for a couple small bare areas exposed to sun/win. Snow on the trail was packed pretty well so I was fine with micro spikes all the way to Jewel Lake. Once past Jewel the trail pretty much disappeared into deep powder and snow drifts. I wouldn't have gotten any farther than Jewel without snowshoes and poles. I followed where i knew the trial to be as best i could, the snow was thigh deep in places. The falls were weren't bad to get up, but again traction and snow shoes were necessary. Weather was sunny and beautiful, cold when you stopped for very long and really windy up high and at all three lakes. The wind has probably erased some portions of the trail but at least 5 other hikers headed up too, so the trail might be fairly obvious in places. Once back down to Mills I ditched the snowshoes for micro spikes and got down easily. Not too busy, great day.

Beautiful, peaceful, not many people today. Traction makes it better.

hiking
3 months ago

Great little easy hike, winter wonderland right now! The trail is pretty snow-packed, I wore spikes but there was no ice and snow shoes were not necessary.

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