Mills Lake, Black Lake, Frozen Lake Trail

MODERATE 231 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
2529 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
18 hours ago

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
4 days ago

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.

5 days ago

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.

2 months ago

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.

hiking
2 months ago

Great trail!

snowshoeing
2 months ago

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.

hiking
3 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
3 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.

4 months ago

I went two weeks ago. The trail was icy and/or snowy in most sections. I wore micro spikes and had no difficulty. It’s a very beautiful hike especially going down glacier gorge to Mill and Jewel lakes. I turned back after Jewel due to time constraints. It was one of the nicest hikes I’ve done at the park.

hiking
4 months ago

Went up to upper Glacier Gorge yesterday to get some shots of a frozen Black Lake. Definitely need traction devices and snowshoes are wise. I didn't have any and postholed quite a bit as I got closer to Black Lake. Winds were fierce and the gusts were super strong. Still had a blast.

hiking
5 months ago

11/18/17: Mills Lake Trail:

Challenging but rewarding; The weather was brutal but the views were amazing. I went on a very windy day and still had a blast. Snow up to my knees and we still saw people hiking their way up in just tennis shoes and sweatshirts. The temp with the windchill had to be in the single digits; I couldn't believe their determination.

Will be back.

hiking
5 months ago

This was my first and probably favorite hike from my trip to RMNF. It was filled with gorgeous views throughout and once you get to the lake, it is so peaceful and quiet. We had our lunch on a rock around the lake, would definitely recommend if you're in Estes Park!

hiking
5 months ago

We only hiked to Mills Lake and it was beautiful! It was actually the first hike we did in RMNP and it set the standard so high! The trail isn't too crowded and once you get to the lake there is so much room spread out away from the rest of the people. I would definitely recommend packing a lunch and have a little picnic on one of the huge rocks by the lake! We posted about this hike on our hiking Instagram page @pathsandpourovers if you want to check it out more!

hiking
5 months ago

I only hiked to Black Lake but the hike was great. There wasn't snow on the ground until the last 300 feet to Black Lake which was all uphill. I found my spikes useful when climbing down but it was doable without. The views of Mills Lake and Black Lake were unbelievable.

hiking
6 months ago

The hike to Mills Lake was outstanding, the hike up to the lake wasn't too bad, a few ice patches here and there but overall not too bad. The views of the lake were unbelievable. A must do if you're in Estes.

6 months ago

Loved this hike. Beautiful views all the way. Some ice made going up slippery and coming down I decided to do one patch on my butt. Was fun and Wells Lake is a prize at the end.

hiking
6 months ago

One of the best hikes I've ever done. Didn't make it to the third lake because of snow/ice, but I'll be back!

6 months ago

Beautiful views. Great for beginners and seasoned hikers.

hiking
6 months ago

Beautiful hike! We are novice hikers, and hit this trail on our second day in Colorado. As suggested, we sipped water along the way and took the trail slow, which was good because it was icy on the way up and slushy and slippery on the way down with the ice melting. Definitely a moderate hike, but the views all along the way of the snow topped mountains made every step worth it. Beautiful prize at end of hike with Mills Lake. Didn’t go any further because of time of days, but definitely want to come back later on

hiking
7 months ago

My favorite hike in all of Colorado. Breathtaking.

hiking
7 months ago

Amazingly beautiful. Get there as early as possible to beat the completely unprepared crowds. As you make your way back, be careful not to trip over any dehydrated bodies wearing tight jeans and flip flops who gave up on life 20 minutes into the hike. The farther you go, the fewer people you'll encounter and the visuals get better and better. 5 stars - 1 for the hordes of ill prepared.

7 months ago

We planned on going to Mills due to lack of elevation fitness and general fitness but the crowds and the good weather pushed us up the mountain. So glad we did. The views were magnificent.

hiking
7 months ago

Great panoramic views at the lake!

7 months ago

Gorgeous hike! Get there early. We arrived at 6:30 in the morning and didn't get a spot at the first lot!!!

hiking
7 months ago

Beautiful hike. Very doable with a great end

hiking
7 months ago

Beautiful hike. Very doable with a great end

hiking
8 months ago

Mills Lake 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. We continued on to Frozen Lake after Black, but lost the faint trail at some point. We ended up scrambling up close to The Spearhead, and I think we saw Frozen Lake from afar/above. I believe we went the wrong way after scrambling through the creek crossing. Beautiful area! Would like to go back one day (maybe when the trail is better marked?) and see Frozen Lake up close.

8 months ago

Mills lake is very picturesque. Not too challenging but enjoyable.

8 months ago

Great hike but wish I took the shuttle instead of parking roadside and hiking an extra 2.75 mikes to trailhead. Cost me time I could've used to beat the storms and get to Black Lake. Mills lakes is lovely but be prepared for mosquito action if you plan to stop for lunch. Fun to "walk the planks"

hiking
8 months ago

We combined a hike to Mills Lake and the Loch on a busy summer Saturday. It was a magical trip up the gorge rimmed by high mountains.

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