Mills Lake, Black Lake, Frozen Lake Trail

MODERATE 322 reviews

Mills Lake, Black Lake, Frozen Lake Trail is a 11 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Estes Park, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until November. Horses are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
11.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2,529 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

birding

cross country skiing

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

snowshoeing

walking

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

snow

no dogs

Take Hwy. 36 out of Estes Park to RMNP entrance, then go to Bear Lake Rd. and follow it to Glacier Gorge TH.

hiking
6 days ago

This hike was lovely - truly the stereotypical mountain lake ideal view. It's as gorgeous as you'd imagine. :) Yes, if you hike it in the summer, it'll be well populated, but that's the case for most trails at any national park.
As I approached Mills Lake, I watched the water that would become Alberta Falls rush by, flowing heavily from MIlls Lake. After that, I crested a hill with large boulders around, that opened up to the spans of Mills Lake, flanked by idyllic rocky mountains.
As an Arizona hiker who visited in August, I layered my clothing: yoga tank under a long sleeved t, under a sweatshirt, under a waterproof windbreaker. I'm SOOOO glad I took all layers (I almost left the sweatshirt in the car), because in the 30ish minutes I sat by the lake, the weather went from full sun, dy, then thunder, rain and hail...and then sun again. ....and then rain. Mother Nature was verrry moody the day I hiked this trail, and judging from what the Park Rangers, guides and locals told me, this is common. So, be sure you're prepared!
This trail felt like a true hike, whereas Bear Lake was not at all. The hike to Mills Lake is rated moderate, but I believe it's somewhere between Easy and Moderate.
There aren't any steep grades, despite you ascending almost all the way. The grade is subtle.
Because you are walking on a trail with loose rock and stepping around larger rocks, I also recommend you wear grippy shoes/boots.
You'll love it.

hiking
6 days ago

Beautiful hike to Mills Lake. It was challenging but well worth the effort. Only drawback was too many people on the trail.

hiking
9 days ago

Hiked up to Black Lake a week ago. Quite a few folks between Alberta Falls and Mills. But beyond Mills we found only the committed. We had Black Lake all to ourselves until the weather chased us down. Hike from Mills to Black is beautiful and serene. Loved the waterfall below Black. Take the time to relax at Black. It is worth the time and effort.

hiking
12 days ago

Beautiful hike. Perfect weather. Too many tourists. Will do again when not in the middle of summer and the rest of the country isn’t there.

13 days ago

Liked it but so did hundreds of other people. We were late to the trailhead and only went to Mills lake. Sounds like Black and Frozen were less trafficked so maybe another time.

hiking
13 days ago

Hiked to Mills Lake. Beautiful, not too hard. Great views. Serene lake. Overall amazing. Just get there early (before 9am) or parking is atrocious!

14 days ago

went to Black Lake. really amazing hike. Just hit the favors list. After Mills, and Jewel, the rest of the hike is beautiful and challenging. So much scenery. Waterfalls, wild flowers, saw a moose and Elk. Well worth it!

21 days ago

Great trail, good weather. Mills Lake was awesome.

23 days ago

This hike was absolutely breathtaking. Did it back in April and went up to Mills Lake (limited on time). There was still plenty of snow on the ground still so spiked definitely made it easier. No one was up at the Lake and it was a beautiful, peaceful spot for lunch.

1 month ago

This trail is Ah-mazing! First part of the trail to Mills Lake had lots of tourists, even people wearing formal dresses and sandles! Got to love Murica. The trail to Black Lake was beautiful, waterfalls, pine trees, babbling brooks, and wildflowers galore. At Black Lake, the water is so pristine that we saw several rainbow trout. The trail to Frozen Lake was tough but follow the rock piles or cairns as a guide. You will be treated with a remote lake all to yourself and wild life including elk, marmots, and pikas cheering you on!

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful hike. Outstanding views and the lakes are breathtaking. Each with their own special qualities. must do hike in RMNP.

1 month ago

Beautiful hike to Black Lake (weather turned us around before Frozen Lake). Water everywhere: babbling brooks, lakes & too many waterfalls to count. Glacial boulders and walls. Wildflowers galore.

hiking
1 month ago

Seriously one of the most scenic hikes I’ve done. It was easy to Mills, got more challenging to Black Lake but still moderate and Frozen Lake was friggin hard. I swear that’s where most of the elevation gain was. Flowers were abundant! Gorgeous day! Loved this hike.

1 month ago

Does anyone know if it’s accurately listed as no dog allowed? TIA

1 month ago

I only made it to Mills Lake because of several storms that kept rolling in, and my unpreparedness. Next time I definitely will be bringing gloves and a warm coat to brave through this trek, and maybe some rain pants into the mix lol. Really great hike though.

1 month ago

Gorgeous hike. Lovely views all along the way. Get to the trail early (7:00 or earlier) if you want a parking space. Otherwise, plan to do the park and ride.

1 month ago

One of the top two or three hikes in The
Park I started at 5 am just a few people
Around nice trail great views a must do
5 stars all the way goat on

hiking
1 month ago

One of the best hike around.

backpacking
1 month ago

Was lucky enough to nab a spot in glacier gorge for the night. The sunset from the big granite expanse above the lake? Incredible. DO THIS TRAIL

Black lake is one of the gorgeous hike I have done in Colorado. We started early in the morning even we got parking only in park and ride area. We have done alberta, mills lake and black lake together. Again extremely good views at the top.

hiking
1 month ago

Hiked it yesterday to black lake, unreal. Family of elk (I counted 9) at the base of the waterfall by black lake. They were friendly to me but others got charged. They are bedding about 20’ from the trail so be mindful. Only a couple patches of snow but mostly just waterfalls everywhere. It’s 11-12 Miles in and out depending on where u start but is probably one of the most beautiful hikes in the state. I’ve also done this hike in early spring and used snow shows to get past mills lake, snow was still 4’+. It’s a magical hike any season and worth doing.

hiking
1 month ago

Made it to Frozen Lake, absolutely beautiful hike! Lots of lakes, waterfalls, river action, and yes lots of up, especially after Black Lake. The trail is pretty much clear except for one big snow field that is easy to cross by hopping rocks or just avoid right before Frozen Lake. I was the only one up there. Watch for cairns when you get close.

1 month ago

Absolutely spectacular hike. It hits all of my hiking look-fors (multiple times) except one. The only thing missing is a summit view. It has streams, stream crossings, waterfalls (a lot!), beautiful lakes, aspen groves, wildlife, flowers, and mountain scenery. This is an amazing hike and I can't recommend it enough.

Of course, if you're familiar with RMNP, the only downside is the crowds. The trail to Alberta Falls is PACKED, to Mills Lake is moderately crowded. To Black Lake, you lose a lot of people. If you were to go up to Frozen Lake (which we didn't) you'll probably be alone

1 month ago

Did this hike yesterday and it was incredible! Beautiful scenery all the way around. Went all the way to Black Lake starting from the Glacier Gorge trailhead. I was surprised at how remote the hike was despite having such ease of access to the trail. I think it's because most people go to Dream and Emerald Lake (both great too). Saw many turn around after hitting Mills. Keep going! The last mile has the best scenery for sure. Highly recommend

fishing
1 month ago

This has to be my new favorite hike in the park. I did this hike on Saturday 6/16 and hiked as far as black lake. I got to the park at 6:30 and the Glacier Gorge lot was already full so I had to park at the bear lake TH. It barely added any distance. The trail was completely snow free until about the last mile before Black lake and even then it was only covered in a few spots and was easy without spikes or trecking poles. Scenery the whole way up was great with lots of waterfalls. I passed by Mills lake but that would be a worthwhile trip on it's own.

The fishing at Black Lake was excellent. Lots of mayflies hatching and the brook trout were hitting on nearly every cast. I will definitely be hiking back to this lake.

hiking
2 months ago

Still snow on much of the trail between Mills and Black Lakes which was easy to traverse in the frozen early morning, and poles were definitely necessary by mid-day. Lots of signs of wildlife on the trail—we saw two elk, personally. The last push up to Frozen Lake from Black Lake only has a few spots of snow to cross, but trail-finding can be hard. Look for cairns, and have the map downloaded. Most hikers at that point were actually there to climb the Spearhead which has a slightly different ascent. This trail also has access to green lake, blue lake, and shelf lake, so taking a spoke for a longer hike is doable.

2 months ago

This is probably the BEST hike I’ve ever done! Went in early July last year. The trail is easy to see and well maintained, plus the lake is one of the most magnificent things I’ve ever seen. I got about a mile past Mills Lake before turning back because of snow. I seriously recommend. Definitely going back later this summer!!!!!!!!!!!

2 months ago

THIS IS THE BEST HIKE IN COLORADO! It's so beautiful it's honestly overwhelming. The views at each lake and the falls are awe-inspiring. Once you get to Black lake take a left around the lake until you reach a little stream and a clearing. There's a large family of Marmots that live under the huge boulder, they were extremely active as they're just leaving hibernation. Only negative was the path was extremely snowy for about a mile leading to black lake. Bring poles and spikes if you have them. We went with just poles and we're fine but it took a bit more time and there was a decent amount of stumbling.

hiking
2 months ago

Hiked to mills lake from the glacier gorge trailhead (about 4 miles round trip) and wowww!! Definitely my most favorite lake that I have seen in RMNP so far! It is absolutely stunning and takes your breath away! Some snow on parts of the trail (hiked 5/30), but we had only hiking boots and we were fine. Try to get there early as the parking lot fills up and hikers flood in around 10am or so. I will always remember this lake! So beautiful!

hiking
2 months ago

Great hike for people looking for some awesome views. From the lakes to Alberta Falls to the look out points, this is a great hike

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