Mills Lake, Black Lake, Frozen Lake Trail is a 11 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, cross country skiing, and snowshoeing and is best used from May until October.

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

cross country skiing

hiking

snowshoeing

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.

9 hours ago

Breathtaking trail. Went there for the sunrise. Unforgettable moment.

hiking
21 days ago

BEST HIKE EVER! Be prepared for a long and strenuous hike that takes you through a variety of terrains and believe it or not, you are going to wind up on the back side of LONGS Peak. That was the best part of the hike. We hiked to Mills Lake, then to Black Lake and then to Frozen. The problem is that we didn't actually get to Frozen Lake. Read the other reviews. There is not a well-marked trail to Frozen Lake. It was nearly 2:30 in the afternoon and we were frustrated. I would say me and my hiking buddy actually argued and it put a damper on the hike down because we could not find the trail to Frozen Lake. There are bits of cairns here and there but nothing that clearly delineates the trail. However, I now know exactly where the trail is. Once you get to the last field that's tundra-like and you're in treeline ... if you look to the right you'll see this massive pointed glacier-like-rock and you literally just start scrambling up that side of it and you will make it to Frozen Lake. In fact, the word is that there is another smaller lake next to Frozen Lake. In fact, the huge (dry) glacier I mention is what you'll be looking at for most of this hike. You will up at the base of that massive rock and Frozen Lake lies up above it. I will tackle this mountain again!!!

hiking
25 days ago

Did park and ride which took any stress out of that situation. The aspens decided to turn early and made the beginning of the trail even more gorgeous. The hike to Mills Lake was well travelled and pretty easy (and very pretty). Had a good rest and a snack before pushing on to Black Lake. Wow, that trail was almost empty and much harder. Significant elevation change and lots of rocks/stairs meant oxygen breaks for me, but my daughter was completely fine. But the difficult waterfall climb right below Black Lake was amazing. The views were stunning. Took us 5 hours to do both with decent breaks at both lakes.

hiking
26 days ago

I did this hike on Friday. Getting to Mills lake was relatively easy, and totally worth it It's a heavily trafficked trail. After Mills the hike to Black Lake is more challenging, but even more worth it. Up to this point, the trail is well marked. My intention was to go all the way to Frozen Lake. After Black Lake, the trail winds up some boulders and a waterfall. It's really pretty, and worth it to go up for a better view of Black Lake. After that, it becomes incredibly frustrating. I was told to 'follow the cairns.' They are few and far between. There is no well worn trail, and there are no signs. After finding some cairns and following them a bit of a distance, I ended up at Green Lake instead. I'm all for "keeping it wild," but I guess I'm just not sure why there can be signs for some of the trails and not others.

hiking
26 days ago

Tried to go to Dream lake but the parking lot was already full at 730am on a Saturday. Went down to a lot that had some spots and we are glad we did. This trail was long but had amazing views along the way. Trail is mostly sand/dirt, rock steps, and rocks.

1 month ago

Scenic hike with a lot of fall colors. We did see a Moose on the trail (that startled us). We kept our distance and warned hikers after we were able to continue.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful trail, would recommend in the spring. After Mills lake the trail to Black Lake can be a little challenging with some steep areas. But totally worth it. The waterfall right before Black lake is beautiful.

1 month ago

Beyond gorgeous ! Worth the extra distance to the last lake !!:)

1 month ago

I was just going to Black Lake and saw the trail heading higher so I went up to explore Frozen Lake. It was a hard up hill and no well mark trail but not to hard to find, but I wouldn’t follow my tracks lol..,

hiking
1 month ago

This was our favorite hike (so far) in RMNP. We only went as far as Mills Lake, but it was breathtaking. We fished there, too. It’s one of the only lakes where you can fish in the National Park and between my husband and I we caught more than 40 trout (catch and release). We used a spinning rod with a fly. The traditional fly fishermen didn’t have as much luck, so keep that in mind.
Even if you don’t fish, it’s an excellent spot for a picnic!

hiking
1 month ago

Took a 10yo and two 7yo kids. It was a stretch for them but there enough gold coins along the way for them to explore and stay interested. And the payoff at the end is awesome.

hiking
1 month ago

Excellent hike. Excellent views. No problem parking, but we arrived just after 6 AM.

hiking
1 month ago

What a great trek! Got to the parking lot around 6:15am with about four spots left. The hike up to Mills Lake is a pretty easy hike. Between Mills lake and Black lake the path turns a bit more uneven with more steps and roots. Beyond Black lake is a decent amount of scrambling. We lost the path several times trying to find Frozen Lake but were able to find it by opening the All Trails app and looking at our current location on the map. Highly suggest having that handy as even some of the rock piles were misleading on direction. We got back to the parking lot around 3pm; a pretty leisurely pace on the way up and a faster pace on the way back. Overall great hike!

hiking
1 month ago

First hike in RMNP was great. We arrived at 6:15am and managed to get one of the few parking spots left at Glacier Gorge. There are a few rock gardens but trail is mainly clear and manageable. Mills lake was beautiful, can’t describe it. Trail was super crowded by the time we headed down. People constantly heading up. We made it back down to the car by 9:30, and made someone’s day by opening up a parking spot.

2 months ago

mills lake was awesome...hike is fairly crowded, but a lot better once you get past Alberta falls...the lake and landscape is a must see!

hiking
2 months 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
2 months ago

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

hiking
2 months 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
2 months 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.

2 months 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
2 months 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!

2 months 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!

2 months ago

Great trail, good weather. Mills Lake was awesome.

2 months 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.

3 months 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
3 months ago

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

3 months 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
3 months 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.

3 months ago

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

3 months 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.

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