Estes Park Hikes You Need To Do #4: Bierstadt Lake, Flattop Mountain, Mills Lake.

June 30, 2021

Hiking from the Bierstadt Lake trailhead it doesn’t take long for beautiful mountain views and intriguing geological formations to open themselves up to hikers. Before reaching the lake, hikers must walk along what is known as Bierstadt Moraine, a settling of sediment, soil, and other objects left behind by ice age glaciers that once encroached the land. From the moraine, hikers can reach the lake and are invited in by views of an incredible alpine forest. While mountain visibility is low, the loop around the lake is a welcome route that can bring guests to much more open sides of the lake where mountains can be seen. Bierstadt is a local legend and one of the most iconic locations in Estes Park. 

The hike to Flattop mountain is by far one of the most scenic of any mountain hikes in the park. The journey begins at the Bear Lake trailhead which leads directly to the lake and starts the hike out with a strong sense of serenity. As the hike continues, other mountains such as Longs Peak and Hallett Peak also open themselves up. While the views may be breathtaking, the grade on this hike does increase very sharpley and hikers should beware that the steepness of the hike is no joke. Luckily, multiple scenic areas along the trail provide great places for breaks and an opportunity to capture the scenic beauty of the Rocky Mountains. For those especially adventurous, the peak of Flattop Mountain also provides access to Hallett Peak nd can make for an incredible day out in nature. 

The trail to Mills Lake is an incredibly scenic route that is highly recommended to any hikers. To start the journey travelers enter at the Glacier Gorge trailhead. Very soon one must cross over Chaos Creek and get the opportunity to see the beautiful pine trees the forest is renowned for. Soon the trail leads directly to Alberta Falls, one of the most popular destinations in the park. After passing the majesty of the falls, hikers continue along a renovated trail that was restored in 2012 by the park. Down this trail is Mills Junction, where hikers must turn left in order to head to Mills Lake. Along this path hikers cross Glacier Creek and are treated to the small waterfall known as Glacier Falls. A bit past this point Mills Lake sits beneath the beautiful Half Mountain. The lake is by far one of the most awe-inspiring sites in the park with fantastic views of the Keyboard of the Winds and numerous mountains including Pagoda Mountain and Thatchtop Mountain. The park encourages hikers to find somewhere comfortable and enjoy the views with a picnic along the banks of this gorgeous lake.