|Trail Name||Black Lake|
|Nearest City||Estes Park|
|Distance||9.4 Miles Round Trip|
|Elevation Gain||1,425 Feet|
|Low Point||9,200 Feet|
|High Point||10,625 Feet|
|Trip Reports||Black Lake|
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A 2-mile continuation of the trail to Mills Lake. Views of Glacier Creek along the way, with impressive vistas of Black Lake, McHenry Peak, and the other surrounding peaks at the destination.
How to get there
From Estes Park, continue west on Hwy 36 to the Beaver Meadows entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park. Just past the entrance, turn left and head south on Bear Lake Rd. for about 8.2 miles. Trailhead and parking lot are on the left. Restrooms available, no water. Due to its popularity, the trailhead parking lot is often full by 8:00 on summer weekends. If so, you can continue about 1 mile further and park at the Bear Lake lot (a 1/2 mile trail connects to the Alberta Falls trail). Alternately, you can drive back on Bear Lake Rd. to the Park & Ride shuttle bus parking area across from Glacier Basin Campground, where you can park your car and ride the shuttle bus to Glacier Gorge Junction. See the Rocky Mountain National Park Shuttle Bus Information Page for shuttle bus stops and schedules.
As this is a continuation of the trail to Mills Lake, refer to the Mills Lake description for details to that point.
As the path passes along the eastern shore of Mills Lake and Jewel Lake, the terrain varies between rocky and marshy. Boardwalks have been constructed over most of the marshy sections. The river scenery along the way is superb, improving as you get nearer to Black Lake, with the backdrop of the peaks surrounding Glacier Gorge providing awe-inspiring vistas. As you near the lake, enjoy the views of Ribbon Falls as it cascades toward the meadows.
As you approach the lake, the trail will become markedly steeper. A final stretch of boulder-hopping will bring you to the northeast shore of the lake. The views of McHenrys Peak to the southwest,reflecting in the water of Black Lake, make the trek worthwhile.
Hardier souls can trek above the lake into Glacier Gorge to visit Blue Lake and Frozen Lake.
This trail, especially the upper parts, can be snow-covered, and the lake partially covered in ice, until late June and early July. Checking with the rangers at Glacier Gorge Junction or Bear Lake regarding the trail conditions before early July is advised.