Black Lake Trail

HARD 98 reviews
#27 of 181 trails in

Black Lake Trail is a 9.7 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Estes Park, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from March until October.

DISTANCE
9.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1643 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

birding

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

muddy

rocky

no dogs

RMNP has an entrance fee of $20.

16 days ago

Hiked Black Lake Trail today...amazing Views the whole way up and did not disappoint. Wish I would have taken microsPikes but still made it in tennies.

hiking
2 months ago

Trailhead @ 7:30 to get a jump on the weather. Trail up to Mills Pond with hardpack and spikes highly recommended. Trail from Mills Pond to Black Lake was easy to find but not packed. Snowshoes needed on the way up. Made it to the Black Lake then up the wash to Blue Lake. Was turned back when the weather changed with wind, snow and sleet. On the way back, the trail was well packed due to high traffic. Wear spikes, bring snowshoes just in case. Great hike and looking forward to doing it in the summer.

snowshoeing
3 months ago

Snowshoed up to Black Lake. Trail was hard packed most of the way and switched to micro-spikes for return trip - but snowshoes were helpful for the steep parts of trail ascending to the lake. Round trip took about 5.5 hours with a stop for lunch on the frozen lake. Really beautiful with all of the awesome peaks that frame the basin in which the lake sits.

hiking
5 months ago

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.

hiking
5 months ago

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.

6 months ago

need microspikes.. postholing towards the top and gets a little sketchy climbing next to the frozen water near black lake but doable . very pretty . beautiful lakes
check out the frozen water to the South when you get to black lake. follow the footprints so you don't sink in the snow! all the lakes are frozen.. just walk straight across them instead of the trail. started at 9am made it to black lake at 11:30 left at 12:20 arrived at glacier gorge trailhead by 2:30?

7 months ago

This is definitely a difficult trail to do in the snow! Highly recommend you have the proper equipment (snowshoes, crampons, etc). Totally worth it though!

7 months ago

Great hike...a bit of snow and ice between Mills and Black. Bring yak tracks or poles.

7 months ago

Hiked it late October. Ice and snow on the trail. Had to slide down from Black Lake on our butts due to the snow. Everything was gorgeous and breathtaking. A really tremendous hike.

hiking
8 months ago

Beautiful views! Be aware of snow and ice on the trail right now. It can get pretty slippery and difficult towards the end of the trail.

If the parking lot is full at the trailhead, go back about 1/4 of a mile and use the small lot. You can walk up the side of the road and then cut through the trees to get to the trailhead quickly.

9 months ago

Really nice trail.

hiking
9 months ago

This trail which also goes by Mills and Jewel Lake is beautiful. some of the best lake views in the park.

9 months ago

Really cool, four of my friends and I all climbed up in early June and there was a lot of snow with no discernable path. Still had great views at the top.

hiking
10 months ago

Mills Lake (on the way) is fantastic - highly recommended for a short to moderate hike. Black Lake was also beautiful, and the elevation gain to both points was totally manageable; didn't feel too steep. The trail has a lot of downed trees and mud after Mills Lake, but the path has been well cleared.

10 months ago

My first trail. Hiked in July 4 weekend and will definitely do again... with proper gear (hiking boots and trekking poles). Absolutely beautiful!!!

hiking
10 months ago

Did this with my daughter a week ago. Fairly easy trail,a little snow towards the top(no micros necessary). The lake is absolutely beautiful and lots of waterfalls on the way up. Went about halfway towards frozen lake before turning around. Great day, get there early as parking fills up quick. We hit the trail at 6:15am and lot was full

10 months ago

Awesome trail!

hiking
10 months ago

Amazing views at every turn. Trail was wet and sloppy especially the closer we got to Black Lake. No need to bring the ice trekkers, but bug spray is a must

11 months ago

Once you get past Alberta Falls, the traffic really drops off which I really appreciated. We hiked past Mills Lake and then onto Black Lake. Both lakes, rivers, views were incredible. It took us 3.5 hours from Glacier Gorge bus stop to reach Black Lake, enjoyed lunch, then headed down.

The actual trail was easy to keep on the right path. Some places were a little challenging but fun.

We saw a marmot, chipmunks. A lady we past, said she saw 9 elk but we never saw them.

hiking
11 months ago

Lovely. Lot at Glacier Gorge Trailhead was already full at 7am, but despite that, the trail was not as crowded as I had feared. The snow has melted off almost completely. No need for spikes.

11 months ago

Hard long trail but worth the time and effort

hiking
11 months ago

Outstanding hike! My new favorite in RMNP! I loved the view of Black Lake with all of the waterfalls above! Absolutely spectacular! We got to see a huge male elk on the way there and back.

We definitely weren't prepared for all of the snow! It was VERY slippery--we were sliding all over the place. Traction (microspikes/yaktrax) and poles would have made it a lot safer. It was pretty dangerous when we were sliding in the snow on the way down.

The trailhead lot was full at 7:30 so we parked in the shuttle lot.
Overall, an outstanding hike! Highly recommend!

hiking
11 months ago

Great hike. Really strenuous closer to the top when you're post holing (did this June of last year). I was a bit under the weather which made it bit more difficult plus altitude. Lakes are beautiful all the way up - a lot less novice hikers after you pass the lower lakes as the trail gets quite a bit more difficult for that last stretch.
There are bears on the trail! A guy behind us almost ran head long into one. Come prepared for weather and make sure to leave early enough in the day. A few other hikers were behind us with no packs or jackets which was worrisome with storms rolling in. Highly recommend this beauty - just bring a standard day pack and be prepared for mountain weather!

hiking
11 months ago

Moderate trail, which only gets slightly difficult going to Black Lake, but mostly due to the snow. Many tourists on the trail all the way up to Mill's lake, which was the most beautiful part. Completed in less than 4 hours. Not worth dealing with parking situation and the crowds for serious hikers.

11 months ago

6/29/17 - Amazing hike! Has it all. Last ~1/3mi is mostly packed snow, some bare trail. Follow the footprints in the snow to keep the trail. Spikes might be nice but not necessary. Steep snow slope at the end of the hike right before the lake. Fun to slide down after viewing the spectacular scenery.

hiking
Sunday, June 04, 2017

Hiked in early June and most of the trail was covered in snow, it was doable in hiking boots but definitely took longer than anticipated because of it. Lost the trail at one point but pretty easy to follow the footprints for the most part. Lots of beautiful scenery, falls and lakes that change as you make your way to Black Lake. Steepest part was the last mile or so straight up to the lake but so worth it!

hiking
Monday, March 06, 2017

Best one yet.

hiking
Friday, October 14, 2016

Wanted to go to frozen lake, but lots of snow and ice. Black lake is beautiful, crowds around mills lake and Alberta falls lessened my enjoyment

hiking
Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Nice trail. Tried to get to frozen lake but huge granite slabs and too chicken. Plus in my 50's and didn't want any injuries!! Bummed but safety first. Great trail though

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Such a beautiful hike. Labor Day crowds were only bad on our way back around Alberta Falls.

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