Hiking Rocky Mountain National Park: Mills Lake

After a winding 1.5 hour drive from Fort Collins through Estes Park, we arrived at Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park.  By 8:30 AM the small parking lot at Glacier Gorge was already full, so we continued down the road and parked at the Bear lake parking, which had plenty of room.

The hike from Bear Lake to Mills Lake and back again. That’s Long’s Peak in the top left.

Following our guide book, Rocky Mountain National Park Dayhiker’s Guide, we set off to Mills Lake.  Starting towards Alberta Falls we quickly descended into Glacier Gorge and spent the rest of the time climbing up to Mills.  The lake made for a nice half-way point and inspired by our hiking trips in Austria, we brought sausage and cheese.  After Mills we took the route towards Lake Haiyaha.

The author in his now all-too-familiar hiking attire.
The author in his now all-too-familiar hiking attire.

Rain clouds quickly moved in on us for the return leg so we didn’t stop at Lake Haiyaha, Dream Lake or Nymph Lake for very long (by the time we hit Nymph Lake it started to rain). Fortunately the decent help to speed our return to the car.

Mills Lake panorama.  More here.
Mills Lake panorama. More here.

The entire trip was just over 6 miles and is considered a “low moderate” to natives.  The guide book makes some suggestions for snowshoeing in this area in the Winter, which sounds very fun!  Oh, and check out a collection of photo sphere photos in the park.  (I’m really enjoying the Nexus 4 BTW…)

Elevation plot as recorded by my Garmin eTrex 20.


4 thoughts on “Hiking Rocky Mountain National Park: Mills Lake

  1. Quite a nifty Google Earth map! Just got back from RMNP myself and am in the process of posting trip reports. We did Lake Haiyaha, but alas, not enough time for Mills.

    1. Cool. We wanted to go to Lake Haiyaha, but the rain persuaded us not too. But, I look forward to your report!

      1. Ah… That’s what those black squares are. I was thinking that they were very inconvenient sized backpacks…

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