Mills Lake - Snowshoeing

December 1, 2018 · Rocky Mountain National Park

Snowshoeing to Mills Lake in RMNP was marked by wind and a lot of it. The trek started out at a brisk 21 degrees and the warmest that I saw on my anemometer was 24 degrees. It was overcast for most of the trek with windblown snow. Mills Lake is one of the few easy access trails open during the winter, though I did not see many people on the way in, I did see a lot of people starting their trek towards the end of the day - when the winds were really picking up.

There was an active search in the area for a lost hiker from Longs Peak, as of the time of this writing, his status was still unknown. He was not dressed for the weather. So, that was constantly on my mind during this trek. Hope for the best, but the outcome doesn't look good.

On a lighter note, though I did not see any wildlife on the trail, I did see a lot of Deer at the Beaver Meadows visitor center just before the entrance to the park. The number of them reminded me more of the massive Elk congregation's RMNP is known for.

I had just spent a small fortune on new winter gear and this was the first trek with the new gear; new gloves, new gaiters and new snow pants - all very warm but it took a little time to get used to the gloves. They're Burton Gore-Tex gloves. They're a bit bulky but they are very warm.

I was hoping for better weather. I have been to Mills Lake - a long time ago and the valley is spectacular and wanted to see what it looks like in the winter. It is pretty, but the clouds obscured the views of Storm Pass, Longs Peak, Pagoda Mt. Chiefs Head Peak. However, to see Mills Lake frozen over and watch the wind barrel over the surface was very impressive.

I did not have break trail on this snowshoeing trek and that does make the trek go much faster. This was a quick 6 miles, with about two hours to spare before the sun went down. It was a very pretty snowshoeing trek and the new gear makes it much more enjoyable to be in below-freezing weather.


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AREAS HIKED

Collegiate Peaks Wilderness10
Eagles Nest Wilderness10
Fossil Ridge Wilderness1
Fraser Experimental Forest1
Gunnison National Forest1
Holy Cross Wilderness12
Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness3
Indian Peaks Wilderness17
James Peak Wilderness1
Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness2
Mount Evans Wilderness2
Mount Massive Wilderness2
Pike National Forest1
Raggeds Wilderness1
Rocky Mountain National Park41
San Isabel National Forest6
Sangre de Cristo Wilderness2
White River National Forest10
Zirkel Wilderness1

TRAILS BY MONTH

January3
February2
March2
April3
May5
June16
July26
August26
September28
October6
November4
December3

SEASONS ON THE TRAIL

2021

The 2021 Season has started. Though the pandemic created a challenging 2020 season, I am looking forward to building on the 2020 season to create an incredible 2021 season. The pandemic has taught me a few things about when and where to go hiking. As such planning for the 2021 se...

2020

The 2020 hiking season has been incredible, even in the face of adversity. The pandemic has made for a logistically challenging season. Somehow, I was still able to piece together an incredible 230+ miles on the trail this season and able to see some truly spectacular places. Enj...

2019

The 2019 hiking season was an interesting season, this was the first season that I started and ended the season snowshoeing and a full summer of hiking for a total of just under 225 miles on the trail. What this season has taught me is that it's winter in the mountains for a long...

2018

The 2018 Summer Hiking Season has come to an end. What a season, incredible views and just over 230 miles on the trail. Even with 230 miles, this season seems short to me, perhaps I'll add something to it during the winter season - snowshoeing perhaps. In the meantime, I hope you...

2017

The 2017 hiking season was interesting, I was able to explorer more of Colorado's National Forests and get in some camping, not as much camping as I would have liked, but hopefully next year I'll able to get in more multi-day hikes. This season came in just under 129 miles roundt...

2016

The 2016 hiking season was about spreading out and exploring more of Eagles Nest Wilderness, Indian Peaks Wilderness and touching on White River National Forest - and of course a few trips into Rocky Mountain National Park. These are amazing National treasures. This season came i...

2015

The 2015 hiking season was a big hiking season, I decided to do a fundraiser for The Red Cross (I learned a lot about fundraising - it was very interesting) with my pledge to hike over 200 miles for this season, I came in at 217 miles for the season; what a great time out on the ...

2014

The 2014 hiking season was almost all about exploring Rocky Mountain National Park, it really is a beautiful park. What I learned during the course of this hiking season is, although people may roll their eyes when you say you're going on a hike in RMNP, it really is spectacular ...

2013

2013 is the year this all started. The hike to Pitkin Lake started it all. Although it was a difficult trail, I was hooked immediately. However, I didn't have the right gear and the seasons were changing quickly. So, even though this season only brought two hikes, I new this was ...