• Activities:

    Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Spring, Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    6.4 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    727 Feet

Bathrooms
Family Friendly
Forest
Lake
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Escape the RMNP crowds at Mills Lake without adding miles and miles to your day!

This trail starts at the Glacier Gorge Trailhead. This trailhead fills quickly at any time of year, so it's best to get there early to guarantee a parking spot. You can also park at Bear Lake where there's more spaces and add just under 2 miles to your round trip length.

A mile into the hike, you'll come across Alberta Falls, a 30 foot waterfall named after the wife of the first person to ever pay an entrance fee to Rocky Mountain National Park! This is a popular destination within the park, so the crowds will thin out considerably once you continue on. 

Another mile and a half of hiking will bring you to Mills Lake with outstanding views of Longs Peak. It's beautiful enough that you'll want to just stay there, but the views from Jewel Lake are just as good and there are significantly less people there.

Jewel Lake is a small lake just above Mills; it's separated by beaver dams and one short but steep uphill section. This hill is what deters most people from continuing all the way to Jewel Lake, and why it's so much more secluded from Mills despite being only 0.4 miles further. 

There's backcountry camping further into the Glacier Gorge area as well a few other lakes if you continue on.  

Pack List

  • Rocky Mountain National Park entrance fee
  • Water
  • Sunscreen
  • Camera
  • Boots
  • Permit (if camping)
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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