Bear Lake to Alberta Falls to Mills Lake

MODERATE 41 reviews
#49 of 188 trails in

Bear Lake to Alberta Falls to Mills Lake is a 5.4 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Estes Park, Colorado that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, and horses and is best used from June until September. Horses are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
5.4 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
938 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

kid friendly

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

forest

lake

views

waterfall

wild flowers

no dogs

1 month ago

Nice quick hike! Great in winter....

hiking
2 months ago

This is a great hike! Alberta Falls was cool. We decided to continue on to Mills Lake. This portion of the trail got really slippery in parts. Poles or spikes would’ve been nice. The Lake was absolutely gorgeous. Definitely worth the hike. Coming back down, we saw a moose just a few yards off the trail. I highly recommend this hike.

hiking
3 months ago

Amazing hike. easy hike for mostly anyone who is at least a little in shape. Beautiful views!! Start the hike early if you want to miss the crowds that frequent the lake, especially when going near Alberta fall.

hiking
4 months ago

Wonderful hike. It’s a bit crowded but that didn’t really have any negative impact on the hike in my opinion. It was a moderate hike with beautiful scenery. Parked in the park and ride and had no problem using it. I’ll be back.

hiking
5 months ago

Perfect for an active family that wants a perfect scenic hike!

hiking
5 months ago

This is an easy trek for the experienced hiker and well worth the push for an acclimated amateur! For those looking to avoid crowds, you’ll just have to deal with tourists for the majority of your venture, as you start at the busiest section of the park (Bear Lake) and the trail takes you past Alberta Falls, which is meh and so choked with tourists it’s borderline ridiculous - we’re talking flip-flops, selfie sticks and ‘Murica’s finest for at least 2 miles! After that it’s mostly the brave and bold (and the occasional stubborn midwesterner). By no means is this a difficult climb unless you’re unconditioned. The beauty as you ascend and once you reach Mills Lake make it worth the headache! Kind of an iconic hike for the RMNP; waterfalls, wildflowers, wildlife, and views! My God the views... Relax into it, give patient smiles to the tourists and give yourself a bit extra time to explore nearby Jewel Lake and maybe consider going further to Black Lake if you’re of adventurous type.

hiking
6 months ago

Short and very pleasant trail.
I feel Alberta falls is a little bit hyped (did not find it as beautiful as reviews suggest) but Mills lake is definitely a place of serenity !!!
You must plan some time to spent at the Mills Lake before descending.
One of the best part of the trail is that you can start this hike anytime of the day till 3 pm (in summer ) and still you can complete it with full sunlight.
Decent elevation gain.

hiking
6 months ago

This is an amazing hike.... Loved it! For those not living in higher elevations (I'm in AZ desert), the last half-mile hike back can get you a little winded. ;-)

hiking
6 months ago

Mill lake is one of the nicest lake around! The view of the mountains is amazing.

hiking
7 months ago

Arrive early to avoid parking in the shuttle lot and waiting in line. We got there around 6am and had a quiet short hike to the falls.

7 months ago

Nice warm-up to my next backpack/hike. Beautiful weather parking was hard to find.

hiking
7 months ago

This was a gorgeous hike. Get there EARLY!!! We started at 7:15am on a Thursday. When we parked there were about 12 other cars. When we finished at 10, the lot was full with a line to get into the park. Gorgeous lake. Well worn path. Take a snack and rest at the lake with a very friendly begging chipmunk. Just don’t feed the bugger!! :-)

8 months ago

Great hike on 5/16, areas of snow on trail which made it slick in places. Falls and creek are raging right now. Awesome hike. We were going to go from Mills to Haiyaha but trail was very sketchy.

hiking
8 months ago

Actually started at glacier gorge trailhead, making the whole trip 5miles versus 5.4.
Beautiful hike but right now I would highly recommend yak tracks or poles. We had both and were grateful for them.
Snow was packed on the trail in most places, very narrow path, you could see where peoples legs had fallen through the snow. Some parts were very slushy. A lot of little misleading trails to know where closer to the top.
Saw some people snow showing near the top.
Absolutely stunning views. The lake was mostly frozen but just enough of it was melted that the reflection of the towering bowl above lake mills was reflecting on the water.
I will defiantly be taken this trail all the way up to sky pond later in the season.

hiking
9 months ago

Friday, October 06, 2017

Amazing hike, beautiful fall colors, incredible mountain lake with many rocks on shoreline to relax on. One of the best in the park. Started at Bear Lake parking lot and took Alberta Falls trail, less people after the Falls. On last 1/2 mile of hike out took Glacier Gorge trail after the Falls and rode shuttle bus back to Bear Lake.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Great weather

hiking
Tuesday, August 22, 2017

easy climb, very crowded trail. The falls are beautiful to sit next to and you can get quite close to the waters edge. The rolling and crashing sounds of the water are relaxing to listen and watch.

hiking
Sunday, August 20, 2017

Mills Lake is one of the most beautiful places I've ever visited. The trail gets busy so head out early in the morning (which helps with parking too).

hiking
Tuesday, August 08, 2017

hiking
Thursday, July 27, 2017

There are other combinations of these trails, but I prefer this one. Starting at Bear Lake, continue to Alberta Falls, then on to Mills Lake and back. As you approach Alberta Falls, you climb adjacent to a series of increasingly beautiful falls prior to reaching Alberta Falls which are a prime photo stop for many. I love the sound of a stream to river to fall escalation as I hike. Many hikers turn around and return from here so there will be less traffic out to Mills Lake. Mills lake is the exception to AM hikes being the best. There are beautiful dusk to twilight to evening reflections on this lake. Simply stunning. Combining these makes this hike between easy and moderate. Horses are allowed on parts of these trails. You always have the option to turn back after the falls. Though I highly recommend the hike out to Mills Lake and back.You may wish to add the Bear Lake Trail loop of 0.8 miles at the beginning or end of your hike: this adds an easy and scenic lake hike.

29 days ago

3 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

hiking
5 months ago

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