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Mills Lake via Glacier Gorge Trail is a 4.9 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Estes Park, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from April until September.

Length 4.9 mi Elevation gain 836 ft Route type Out & Back

Hiking

Nature trips

Walking

Bird watching

Forest

Lake

River

Views

Description
Waypoints (0)

Reservations to enter the park will go on sale through Recreation.gov at 8 a.m. Mountain Time on Thursday, May 28. Reservations will be available to enter the park from June 4 through July 31. The next release will be on July 1, for the month of August and any remaining days that have not been booked for July. On August 1, reservations will be available for the month of September and any remaining days that have not been booked for August. On September 1, reservations will be available for the month of October and any remaining days in September that have not been booked. Permits issued using the reservation system will allow park visitors to enter the park within two-hour windows of availability between 6 a.m. through 5 p.m. This process will facilitate advance payment of entrance fees, minimize contact between park entrance station staff and visitors and limit congestion in parking lots. The permit system will apply to all areas of the park. In the initial opening phase, the park will open approximately 60 percent of the park’s maximum parking capacity or 4,800 vehicles (13,500 visitors) per day. It is recommended that hikers park at the Estes Park visitor center and take the free shuttle to the trailhead, as there is very limited parking at the trailhead.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (275)
Photos (2187)
Recordings (179)
Completed (2970)
Hannah S.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarFri Jul 03 2020
Hiking

We got an 8-10 reservation on a Thursday and chose this hike because it said “moderately trafficked.” By 8:30 when we arrived, the trailhead parking was already filled, so we had to take a shuttle in which windows were not open. Also, the trail itself was packed! And only about 1/3 of people covered their faces while passing. The trail itself is well maintained and beautiful. A moderate hike indeed. My 8 and 10 year olds did great, but we’re tired at the end. You pass Alberta Falls and continue to the lake. Very sunny, so bring sunscreen, but gorgeous once we got to the lake. However, the congestion on the trail made me reevaluate doing any hike that connects to trails in the Bear Lake parking area.

Jamie Jung
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Jul 02 2020
HikingRocky
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Jamie Orth
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Jul 02 2020
BugsGreat!Rocky

We did this trial today. I honestly struggled being over weight and out of shape. But we made it and it was well worth the effort. The trail is pretty rocky mostly from Alberta Falls up. Plan to go early or you will have to use the park and ride buses. We get there alittle before 10 and Bear lakes parking lot was full.

Josh Blosser
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Jul 01 2020
HikingNo shadeOff trailRockyScrambleSnow

From Bear Lake Trailhead adds about 0.4mi one way. Nice hike up to Mills Lake, wide path, many scenic overlooks. towards Black Lake becomes more rocky and steady incline. There's are some snowfields you have to cross before Black Lake. manageable with trekking poles, I didn't use my micro spikes though could be helpful. Beyond Black Lake is a very tough boulder scramble. Then it levels out but the trail is hard to find. Multiple sets of Cairns had me go the wrong direction. With the lost time I didn't make the final push to Frozen Lake. It seemed very challenging and a very steep climb with no trail. It's very exposed up there and today was exceedingly windy but not very cold. Tough hike for sure.

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Steffi Chew
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Jul 01 2020
Hiking

Great beautiful trail and view for not too hard of hiking! Bring sweatshirt or windbreaker because the wind by the water is strong and chilly

Terri Miller
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Jul 01 2020
Hiking

Mills Lake is beautiful and there are many places to sit and enjoy the scenery. It is well worth it to add the extra .4 mile hike to Jewel Lake. So peaceful and not alot of people. Bring bug spray, many bugs around the lake. The hike up to both lakes is gradual with many amazing views. The Glacier Gorge trailhead parking lot was full at 8am but Bear Lake parking lot had at least 10 empty spots at that time.

Clayton Vincent
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarTue Jun 30 2020
HikingGreat!

All around a very relaxed and enjoyable hike. I did the Sky Pond hike yesterday and overall I would say that was a better hike start to finish but the views of Mills Lake were astounding and by far the best of the trip. Very much recommend.

Megan Yang
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Jun 26 2020
HikingBugsMuddyRocky

Really great hike! It was crowded when we started around 11:30am... mostly crowded to Alberta Falls. But once you pass there it is not as bad with passing people every few minutes. The weather was perfect until a thunderstorm hit at 3pm for about 20 minutes. Make sure you check the weather and prepare for rain. There were a lot of bugs at the lake. The trail was a constant good incline with pretty views of waterfalls and some wildlife. Mills Lake was beautiful to see!! Would recommend.

Lauren Endres
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Jun 20 2020
HikingRockySnow

Absolutely beautiful trail. The hike up is a little tiring due to the elevation, but it is definitely worth it. You hike past a gorgeous waterfall on the way up and then stop at mills lake.

J B
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Jun 19 2020
Hiking

Loved this hike — Mills Lake is beautiful with plenty of spots around the lake to enjoy the views in peace. Along the trail, there are some great spots for panoramic views of the park. I’m usually not excited about falls, but Alberta Falls is impressive. Took about 3hrs roundtrip (not including breaks). No snow on the path, very little mud. Got cold and windy at the top, so bring an outer layer just in case.

Jeremy Kuhn
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Jun 16 2020
HikingSnow
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Lindsey Puhl
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Jun 14 2020
HikingMuddyRockySnow

We loved this hike! Definitely utilize the park and ride lot/shuttle. The lot at the trail head was completely full when we got there around 11 AM and was throughout the day.

Maureen McIntee
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Jun 14 2020
Hiking

Beautiful trail in pretty good condition. We missed a turn at the fork and ended up on Loch/Vail, but overall an easy correction. Some snow and run-off, but did fine in tennis shoes.

Debbie LeBleu
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Jun 08 2020
MuddySnow

One of the most scenic hikes in the park! As of Sunday June 7th there are still snowy patches in the shady areas. Lots of snow melt, run off and muddy areas. Definitely worth the distance.

Jeremiah Moore
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Jun 05 2020
HikingSnow

There is quite a bit of snow after Mills Lake. It was definitely worth the hike!

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Elaina B
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Jun 04 2020
HikingMuddy

Great hike! Some snowy spot after you hit the fork in the path to either loch or mills, but nothing you can’t handle with decent boots. The trail is easy to follow and the elevation gain isn’t bad at all! We did loch and mills today, not many people. I recommend taking the hike shuttle down to glacier gorge trailhead. Bonus- the falls are rushing hard right now!!

Sara Varghese
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Jun 03 2020
Hiking

Mostly clear, more snow packed areas as you get near the lake. I wore micro spikes for the last section of snow, but saw lots of people that were fine without them. Beautiful!

Keaton Krell
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun May 31 2020

We went early last week when the Park reopened and we had Mills Lake to ourselves, which is unbelievably rare. Both the journey and destination was exquisite. Definitely recommend some sort of traction device as the snow dominates the path.

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