Mills Lake, one of the most beautiful lakes in Rocky Mountain National Park, is reached by a 2.8-mile hike from Glacier Gorge Trailhead. Towering mountains, including Longs Peak, Pagoda Peak, and Thatchtop, surround Mills Lake in lower Glacier Gorge, a glacier-excavated valley. The lake is named for Enos Mills, father of Rocky Mountain. The round-trip, 5.6-mile hike, gaining over 700 feet, follows Glacier Gorge Trail and passes lovely Alberta Falls and Glacier Falls before reaching the placid lake. Several fine picnic spots are found along the lake’s bedrock shoreline. Keep an eye out for wildlife, including elk, deer, and moose. The trail continues south for 2.7 miles, passing tiny Jewel Lake and a couple waterfalls, to Black Lake, a dramatic lake below McHenrys Peak.
Recommended season(s): Year-round.
–Stewart M. Green