Hiking Black Lake Trail In Rocky Mountain National Park On A Warm, Fall Day


My friend Debbie had talked about hiking the Black Lake Trail for a couple of years so we decided to hike it last week. It was a gorgeous day with the temperatures in the 70s. How often can you hike in shorts in October? Plus the aspens were in full color so it couldn’t get much better.

We started our hike about 7:30am, hoping to get  a parking spot in the Glacier Gorge parking lot. It was a beautiful hike up to Alberta Falls and then up to Mills Lake. It surprised us that the sun was so low already in the sky. It didn’t really get up over the mountain until after noon. We decided to take many of our pictures on the way back down.

The hike is 9.8 miles round trip and very pretty. What I had forgotten were all of the steps. Debbie kept saying, “Boy, there are a lot of steps!” Yes, there were a lot! We stopped at Mills Lake which is 2.5 miles for a little rest and a snack. The lake is just beautiful with many reflections. Then we headed up past Jewel Lake and hiked through the meadows and up more steps. The Ribbon Waterfall near Black Lake was cascading down but still  in a dark shadow. The sun hadn’t gotten that high yet.

We hiked up the last and steepest steps and reached Black Lake. It looks like it was carved out by a huge glacier with the majestic mountains as a backdrop. It really is spectacular!

Wanting another little rest and some fuel, we had lunch by the side of the lake and gazed at the gorgeous scenery around us. We talked about all of the diverse trails in Rocky Mountains National Park and how lucky we were to live nearby.

The hike down was much easier and we were glad we had our hiking poles to help with those hundreds of steps! What a perfect day with perfect weather!


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