Roundtrip Length: 9.4 mi Difficulty: Strenuous
The Glacier Gorge trailhead is one of the most popular places in the Park. One way to shed the crowds is to find your way to Black Lake and on to Blue Lake.
After the short jaunt to popular Alberta Falls, your visits with fellow hikers will
continue on for a bit but divide in two eventually at the junction of the trail
leading to the Loch, Sky Pond and Andrews Glacier, and a right turn to Lake Hiyaha; all magnificent hikes for other days. This is where we bear a little left on the trail to Mills Lake and beyond. After the moderate two and a half plus miles to Mills Lake, some of our companion hiker strangers will begin to dissipate as a serious effort begins and takes us past a small pond and marsh on our way to Black Lake.
The forest through here still shows signs of when a micro-blast several
years back made its mark. Tumbling Glacier Creek is a hint of what we can expect for when we reach the spectacular cascades flowing with the waters of the lake we are approaching. Sitting in a magnificent (what else would we expect up here), this is Black Lake, home to a population of trout and often a small herd of elk at the far end of the lake. Here we chose to ascend along the inlet stream to a place I refer to as another world. The Krumholtz, rocks and tundra reminds me of nothing; because it is unlike anywhere else. The drama is enough to keep us energized to make the next climb. Hidden until we arrive, Blue Lake is an accomplishment with a pay-off. Looking up at the slopes of Longs and its fellow
peaks and looking back at the now distant Mills Lake are just part, but a great part of a successful day. After this round trip, we will sleep well tonight.
Anything left black and blue after a trip to Black and Blue will seem like a minor inconvenience.