Mills Lake - Black Lake Trail

 14 votes

3.2 Miles 5.2 Kilometers


Singletrack

1,405' 428 m

Ascent

-12' -4 m

Descent

11,204' 3,415 m

High

9,810' 2,990 m

Low

8%

Avg Grade (5°)

21%

Max Grade (12°)

Minor Issues

29 days agoUpdate

This rugged trail ventures deep into a spectacular glacial gorge visiting Mills, Jewel & Black Lakes

Trail Master

Overview

Snow often persists late into the summer.
Features: Views — Waterfall
Dogs: No Dogs

Description

From the busy Glacier Junction, head south crossing Glacier Creek twice and covering sections of cairn-marked rock slabs before arriving at Mills Lake (9,955'). Here you'll marvel at the terrific views up Glacier Gorge and admire the jagged ridges and peaks that define it. Follow the rugged, undulating trail around the eastern shore of the lake over innumerable roots to where Jewel Lake starts. This marshy area continues around the lake aided by a series of skinny elevated planks. If you are searching for solitude, you're more likely to find it on Jewel Lake's western shore than at crowded but picturesque Mills Lake.

Upon leaving Jewel Lake, hike through unattractive forest with lots of blown down trees. Closely parallel Glacier Creek all the way to Black Lake, over steep ups and downs. It can be tough to find the trail here, when in doubt, follow the creek. Pass the Glacier Gorge Backcountry Campsite spur (10,068') and climb some newly built stairs. Ascend through thick forest and across another rock slab marked by rock cairns. Arrive at a mellow meadow with views of The Arrowhead (12,387'), Powell Peak (13,208) and McHenrys Peak (13,327') to the west, and Pagoda Mountain (13,497') and Keyboard of the Winds - a line of pinnacles near the summit of Longs Peak - to the east. Chiefs Head Peak (13,579') and The Spearhead (12,575') dominate the upper valley.

Many people turn around at Black Lake, as the trail gets much more difficult and barely maintained past this point.

The trail switchbacks steeply beside Ribbon Falls as they drain from the edge of Black Lake. Traverse a line of flat boulders across the end of Black Lake and climb a small ridge along the eastern shore. The trail soon becomes faint and disappears in open tundra, where unmaintained routes continue on to Blue Lake, Green Lake and Frozen Lake. Continue a short distance up the feeder creek for a unique perspective above the rocky basin.

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4.4 from 14 votes


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Your Check-Ins

Check-Ins

Sep 17, 2017
Keith McCue
Beautiful fall day:-)
Sep 15, 2017
Jessica Dedow
Sep 11, 2017
Ryan Conner
5mi
Aug 20, 2017
Kevin Guebert
Aug 8, 2017
Jonathan Downey
Aug 1, 2017
Jordan Cowen
Jul 15, 2017
Cristi P
10.5mi
Jul 13, 2017
Nate Croteau

Stewarded By


Trail Ratings

  4.4 from 14 votes

#1

in Bear Lake

#51

Overall
  4.4 from 14 votes
5 Star
43%
4 Star
50%
3 Star
7%
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0%
Rankings

#1

in Bear Lake

#15

in Colorado

#51

Overall
98 Views Last Month
1,372 Since Jul 13, 2015
Intermediate Intermediate

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Conditions


Minor Issues 29 days ago
Mostly Dry - Snow is all gone
Update ConditionsHistory

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