Mills Lake is a sensational subalpine lake. With Half Mountain sitting majestically at the end of the lake and views of peaks on all sides as high as 13,579 feet it is one not to miss.
Large rocky areas to sit in wonder and enjoy a picnic or a nap. Truly a great day hike in Rocky Mountain National Park.
GLACIER GORGE TRAILHEAD
We set out to hike to Loch Vale and one our way back down took a turn to Mills Lake. So happy we did, it’s a beauty all its own. Loved it.
Starting at Glacier Gorge Trailhead we hit the trail connecting with the Glacier Creek Trail not long after we crossed the bridge over Chaos Creek. Soon after that, we came to a spot where the trail splits off to the right leading to Bear Lake. Heading left here it was a short beautiful trek to Alberta Falls.
Putting on our microspikes after sitting and watching Alberta Falls thunder down a narrow gorge we kept going. The trails are snow-packed and slushy making for a slower ascent. But the views are incredible. Often we were soaked in sunshine and it feels like summer even hiking on snow.
When reaching the signpost (photo above) we had headed to Loch Vale first then back taking the turn to Mills Lake. If wanting to only go to Mills Lake. Take a left!
It’s late May, almost June, and trails at high elevations in Colorado are still covered in slush, ice, and snow. Microspikes (traction that easily attaches to your boots) make hiking in winter, spring, and early summer safer and more manageable!
HEADING TO MILLS LAKE
Deep forests with deep snow awaits as we headed to Mills Lake. Crossed a funky bridge and into stunning Glacier Gorge. So pretty as we made our way steadily upward. Slower going as we trekked through slushy snow.
It’s beautiful up here, with sweeping views before even reaching Mills Lake. Hiking in late spring is a joy with the snow-capped peaks not yet melted glistening in the sun.
A trail you want to be prepared for with appropriate hiking gear. At high altitudes, dehydration plus fickle weather is always something to consider. > CLICK HERE for a look at the Practical gear that we have in our backpacks on every hike.
Totally unexpected how stunning this hike and lake are! We found our own rocky paradise to sit on and eat our lunch while soaking in the sunshine. Several curious, demanding chipmunks keep us company. They know all about tourists. (suggested not to feed them!).
Don’t underestimate the Colorado high-altitude sun, wear sunscreen!
Back down, past Alberta Falls, and to the car. Pooped from hiking on snow and slush but with big smiles.
Loch Vale and Mills Lake I highly recommend both of them. Either together or just to one lake. Loved these trails.
Mills Lake via Glacier Gorge Trailhead
5.3 miles out and back
Rated: moderate/slightly strenuous
Elevation gain: 941′
Located: > Rocky Mountain National Park
> Trail Map (Bear Lake Corridor)
> Info Shuttle Service
> Info Timed Permits & Reservations
Restroom at Trailhead
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