I’ll tell you what to pack, how to get to there, the down-low on backcountry camping, and I’ll share some details about my journey along the most scenic trail in Mount Evans Wilderness. So, get out on the Chicago Lakes Trail and witness the beauty for yourself. While following the directions given by the AllTrails app, my friend, Beau, and I headed to the Echo Lake Campground. The Chicago Lakes Trail begins at Echo Lake (west side), 13.25 miles south of I-70 on HWY 103. The Chicago Lakes Trail is a delight from start to finish. The trail to Missouri Lakes is about 3.5 miles in so this was an easy hike in giving us plenty of time to explore the area. Be the first to leave a review! If you start feeling symptoms of altitude sickness, take a break, and analyze your options going forward. Ready to embark on a hike of your own along the Chicago Lakes Trail? Scout out potential camping destinations, research the route, study a forecast, start early, pack enough food, and bring a backpack full of quality, lightweight gear. What to Bring     C. Trail Maps 2. Had a really tasty lunch at Echo Lake Lodge. Trails accessed; Ben Tyler Trail south 606. Booth Falls Trail to Booth Lake: Vail Day Hiking at its Finest, 4th of July Trail: Nederland's Gem (Arapaho Pass + Lake Dorothy), backpack full of quality, lightweight gear, My 8.8 lb Ultralight Backpacking Gear List, What to Bring on a Day Hike: 10 Essentials + Checklist, Budget Backpacking Gear: Affordable 10 lb Ultralight Kit, Backpacking Food: Meal Plan Tips & Ideas for Your Next Hike, Get Paid to Hike: 10 Jobs to Make Money on the Trail, Best Gifts for Hikers: Unique Hiking Gifts for Any Budget, Montbell Permafrost Light Down Parka: Women’s Jacket Review, 20,000 Steps a Day: My Exhausting 30-Day Step Challenge, Bukhansan National Park: Hiking Dobongsan’s Jaunbong Peak, Bikes, hang gliders, and motorized equipment are prohibited on the trail, Campfires are prohibited within 100 feet of lakes, streams, or trails, Camping is prohibited within 100 feet of lakes, streams, and developed trails. My husband and I were just saying how we can take flights from Asheville to Colorado now. In the distance, the Chicago Lakes Trail snaked up steep rocky terrain towards Summit Lake, which rests at 13,002 feet. Flowers blooming in wild profusion. Going toward Idaho Springs, dispersed campsites can be found 4 miles north on Co 103 on Hefferman Gulch Rd. I’m glad you appreciate all the hard work I’ve been putting in. Great campground host, Mike was very knowledgeable about the area. Beau and his dog, Levi, went first. Overview Religiously check the skies for birds of prey soaring above. The rustic environment offers a wonderfully serene and peaceful setting for your next campout. Within 100 miles of downtown, a wealth of campgrounds provide peace and quiet. He had an idea. From lakeside retreats to grassland getaways, this part of the midwest has it all. You don’t need a permit to camp. Send me some feedback with a comment below! Day Hiking Gear I Recommend 9. This is a shor… 0.5 mile to reach a trail junction for the Chicago Lakes trail - 3. I can recommend the mushroom swiss cheese burger. Your email address will not be published. There is nice dispersed camping at the lakes. When to Hike     B. I almost always travel solo -- it's the best way to see the world. A few miles past Hefferman Gulch Rd, is West Chicago Creek Rd. save hide report. It has been called Illinois' best fishing lake as well as the Muskie Capital of Illinois. For more information on leaving no trace, visit LNT.org. The following restrictions apply: Your stay is limited to 16 days. Maps.me’s trail maps system is incredibly helpful and accurate. The lake was beautiful, but there was no trail leading to it, so we continued until we reached Upper Chicago Lake. Book this listing through our partner Recreation Gov, The Rapid River/Manistique campsites are located on inland lakes and are in a rustic forest environment with few, if any amenities. The trail will diverge away from Echo Lake and will traverse along a scenic valley with mountain views off in the distance. Park your car here (not near the Echo Lake Lodge). Have you ever hiked the Chicago Lakes Trail? The best months weather-wise to hike are July, August, and September when the winter snowfall has melted and uncovered the trail. The Chicago Lakes Trail just raised the bar for all my future Colorado day hikes. Let me start by saying that hiking off-trail can be destructive to delicate ecosystems, and it was never our intention to wander astray. Four campsites and an improved boat launch can be found on Chicago Lake, all clustered around its north end. Final Thoughts 7. Guanella Pass Area - Geneva Creek … These pictures are gorgeous, and holy awesome upgrading your website since the last time that I was on. I rarely get to see the mountains and hiking has been rough in FL with the heat; we are excited to hike more now that the weather will be better (and maybe a few less poisonous snakes…sorta…ehhhh). Chicago Lakes Trail (#52) Leaving from Echo Lake, the trail goes downhill for the first mile. Chain O’Lakes State Park is one of the most popular camping destinations in Northern Illinois. Sprawling meadows glowing with blooming Colorado wildflowers? Required fields are marked *. It then travels 14 miles to the top. The alpine meadows exploding with wildflowers, cascading mountain creeks, and adventures glissading down snowbanks with an old friend didn’t hurt either. The byway begins by Echo Lake, south of Idaho Springs, at around 10,600′. Chicago Lakes Trail makes for a fantastic but long day hike or perfect 2-3 day backpacking trip. The campsites on the Rapid River/Manistique Ranger District are located on inland lakes and are in a rustic forest environment w... Kitch-iti-kipi is a beautiful and easily accessed attraction in the southern region of Michigan's UP. Georgetown, Colorado. From I-70, exit #240 and head south on HWY 103 (toward Mt Evans) for 13 miles to Echo Lake. We were okay with that. Stay tuned. Dispersed camping can be a fun, last-minute alternative to making a reservation It was 7 p.m. on a Friday, and we needed to find somewhere to camp before the sun went down. Stayed at West Chicago Creek campground (National Forest) for three nights. Willow Chicago Creek campground has 16 sites. Don’t end up lost and engulfed in a thicket of dense bushes as Beau and I did. If you want to save weight, pack a water filter to purify water as you go to avoid carrying heavy water bottles. Hey, thanks! You can also head to the summit of Mount Evans from Chicago Lakes. Pack out everything you bring with you, clean up after your pet, and do your part to leave the trail untainted for the rest of the world to enjoy. Evans Wilderness. 74. While it may be tempting, picking wildflowers is illegal and can harm the ecosystem. If you decide to camp in the Mount Evans Wilderness for one or more nights, check out my lightweight backpacking gear list and backpacking meal planning posts to prepare for your upcoming trip. What a gorgeous sight. Moral of the story: Pay attention while hiking side trails. The portion of the trail leading to Idaho Springs Reservoir is a local favorite for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. The awe-inspiring backcountry within Mount Evans Wilderness at times seemed too beautiful to be real. Chain O’Lakes State Park. Within 15 minutes, we came across a softening snowbank that piqued Beau’s interest. I parked my campervan in the where AllTrails said the trailhead would be, but we’d ended up at the Echo Lake Trailhead instead, which is an entirely different hike. If your hike goes anything like mine, you’ll witness plenty of wildlife. Hiking the Chicago Lakes Trail     A. Wildflowers in Bloom     B. Bald Eagles and Marmots     C. Arriving at Chicago Lakes     D. Glissading Down Snowbanks     E. Off-Trail Wanderings 4. Campfires are permitted for dispersed backcountry camping, with potential seasonal and elevation restrictions. I'm a minimalist traveler and ultralight backpacker. Dispersed backcountry camping is permitted on the Beartrack Lakes Trail and within the Mt Evans Wilderness. It was a hell of a hike. Please camp within the posted camping area boundary. Don’t start your hike at the Echo Lake Campgrounds as AllTrails recommends. This 9.1-mile out-and-back gains 2,142 feet of elevation at a 10% grade, which rates it as a ‘challenging to difficult’ hike. Camping – Echo Lake campground has 18 sites, 11 for RV, 7 for tents. But play out they did, and I was there with an old friend to watch it all unfold. Unfortunately, we don't have up-to date pricing data for this listing, but you can check pricing through Recreation Gov. Several Hiawatha National Forest and Grand Island National Recreation Area camping facilities offer reservations through the recreation reservation system. We giggled like children and hiked back up to the top for one more round. In Chicago, the trails and marinas along Lake Michigan provide a respite from city life. © 2020 The Outbound Collective - Terms of Use - Privacy Policy. Lake Creek Road Dispersed Camping in Sawtooth National Forest, Ketchum Idaho. Lake Name Number of SitesMaximum number of people per site Toilets Boat AccessLake Size (acres) Chicago Lake 4 Site1 (8) Sites 2-4 (1) YesBI188 Natural FeaturesAll of these sites are nestled in hardwood trees and pines. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. I trek into the wilderness, geek out about gear, and travel with the least amount of baggage as I can. Click here to view the complete essential day hiking gear checklist. The Chicago Lakes Trail is a delight from start to finish. Camp at least 100' away from any lake, stream, trail or road. This campground has a pool… If you get lucky as Beau and I did, you might spot a bald eagle patrolling the crisp Colorado skies, staring down at the earth below, and hunting for its next meal. Description If hiking or fishing is the name of your game, West Chicago Creek Campground is the perfect place to do what you love all day. Worth Noting: Snowshoeing this trail in the winter provides a greater sense of solitude than hiking it in the summer. Worth Noting: Snowshoeing this trail in the winter provides a greater sense of solitude than hiking it in the summer. The Outbound works best with JavaScript enabled. You can also head to the summit of Mount Evans from Chicago Lakes. Evan’s Wilderness. It's 4.5 miles to the upper lake from the trailhead. We shoved our way through the bushes for a few minutes until I finally pulled out my phone to see where we were. Scenes like this are supposed to play out in movies, not real life. Located right off of County Highway 58 across from Sand Point Road, Tannery Falls doesn't see the larger advertising that many other falls see in the area, but is a hidden gem within the town. There are also a few dispersed camping areas which people are welcome to use, please check with the Hume Lake Ranger District office. Getting to the Trailhead 3. Camping is in a semi-wooded area of the park, and there are 150 Class A sites. Rules & Regulations     A. After a few solid hours of hiking, snacking, and gawking at the glory surrounding us, Lower Chicago Lake appeared on the left side of our peripheral vision. • 8.8 lb Ultralight Backpacking Gear List, Chicago Lakes Trail: Colorado’s Stunning Mt. Once at the top parking lot, there is a short, but rewarding hike to the summit at 14,264 ft. This Lake’s dispersed camping spots are some of the closest to Denver, but that doesn’t mean it’s the easiest to get to. Damn. The Chicago Lakes Trail is an adventure worth taking. Dispersed camping is allowed near the Chicago Lakes Trail, and all entering the Mount Evans Wilderness need a self-issued permit available at the trailhead. Looking majestic while searching for lunch. Chicago Lakes Trail: Hike Colorado’s Stunning Mt. I pointed us back in the right direction, and we trudged our way through the thick shrubbery as sharp branches scraped our skin and tore at our clothing. The springs are a short 11.5 mile drive from the town of Manistique and are the perfect side trip for a UP getaway.Parking is plentiful at Palms ... Wagner Falls is an easy-to-reach waterfall right off of 94. It was built as a result of Pikes Peak Highwayand Denver’s competition for tourists. Dispersed Camping Dispersed camping is allowed on Hiawatha National Forest lands except developed recreation and administrative sites, campgrounds and designated campsites. Keep your eyes open for pikas and squirrels as they scurry about the forest floor at lower elevations. It's only about an hour and a half west from Denver. Leave No Trace 6. The trail begins near the scenic and touristy Echo Lake and winds its way past Idaho Springs Reservoir, and eventually up to an old, bumpy forest service road. About halfway down the slope, Beau lost control, his straw hat lifting into the air as he skidded to a bumpy stop at the bottom. Lesson learned. But, as I mentioned earlier, this hike is not a walk-in-the-park. Chicago Lake Dispersed Campsite Even though Chicago Lake (188 acres) is a busy lake you can still see and hear loons. It looks FABULOUS. September 22, 2020. GPS to the camping area in these pictures: 39.360394, -105.684945. Backcountry Camping 5. There’s a decent chance you could have the trail entirely to yourself. To the east was a large waterfall with grand, sweeping views of Lower Chicago Lake. Hey, I’m Noel Krasomil. Missouri Lakes is made up of lots of small lakes with trails zigzagging between each lake and pond with large boulder outcrops. If you get the timing right, you’ll be surrounded by wildflowers. Mount Evans Wilderness isn’t known to have a strong bear presence, but if you’re wary, bring bear spray, wear a bear bell, odor-proof your food, or hike in groups. Camp at least 100' away from any lake, stream, trail or road. You also need to bring a 4-wheel drive vehicle with decent clearance because the roads around this area can get pretty steep. Overall a very pretty, mostly covered trail with options for fishing and dispersed camping that's great for the day or a short couple day stint in the wilderness! The Mount Evans Scenic Byway is the highest paved road in Colorado, at 14,130 ft. Colorado’s “New Switzerland” opened by 1930. We’d heard the trail was socked in by snow, so it would have to wait for another day. I guess it’s hard to complain about such challenges when the trail I was hiking lead to a crystal clear glacial lake at the base of a towering 14,000-foot mountain as a bald eagle circled the sky above. After ogling Upper Chicago Lake and Mount Evans for an appropriate amount of time, Beau and I turned around and began walking back towards the trailhead. Chicago Lake Dispersed Campsite, Michigan - Camping & Campgrounds The Manistique/Rapid River dispersed campsites are located on inland lakes and are in a rustic forest environment with few, if any amenities. It’s a rather grueling commitment. All of them are on small inland lakes, which offer a … After about 15 minutes of maddening bushwhacking, we arrived back at the main trail, shared a chuckle and an eye roll, and started hiking on flat ground once again. If you hike the Chicago Lakes Trail at the right time of year — typically mid-July to mid-August — the scenery will reward you with ample amounts of blossoming Colorado wildflowers, in nearly every direction you look. Generally, throughout the state, camping is available year round weather permitting Spring - Summer Camping (May 1 through September 30) Fall - Winter Camping (October 1 through April 30) As long as buildings, water and electrical service are available, regardless of … Glassy alpine lakes reflecting a crystal-clear image of towering granite peaks in the background? Located just 90 minutes north of Chicago, this is the largest concentration of natural lakes in the area making it a boaters paradise. Hiking & Backpacking Resources, Fresh glacial runoff is abundant along the Chicago Lakes Trail. With a clear forecast, hiking the alpine forests up above 10,000 feet is glorious. Have you stayed here? Group size is limited to 15 individuals. Dogs are allowed on the trail if leashed. You can also head to the summit of Mount Evans from Chicago Lakes. This state park is a 1550 acre park located off of a nice lake. Years ago, I found this out the hard way as I was picking wildflowers for my girlfriend when a fellow hiker stopped to scold me. There is nice dispersed camping at the lakes. South Chicago Creek: Located 9 miles south of Idaho Springs on South Chicago Creek Road, NFSR 247.1 there a designated area for dispersed camping. ... #1 - Chicago Lakes Trail. Instead, head to the parking lot on the west side of Echo Lake Park as shown on the map above. Group size is limited to 15 individuals. I took a less aggressive approach than Beau, spraying up snow as I worked my way down the snowbank at a slower speed. Glissading: a fast, foolish, and entertaining descent. If you decide to backcountry camp along the Chicago Lakes Trail or beyond, get adequately prepared ahead of time. This will be the easy part of the hike for the trail then climbs upward the remaining three miles. Evans Wilderness Area and ascends to a pair of high alpine lakes below Mt Evans (14,265′), Mt Spalding (13,842′), and Mount Warren (13,307′). Posted by 1 year ago. The remainder of the hike back towards the parking lot was sunny and uneventful, the exact type of finish we needed. Close. I pack light and explore the globe searching for awe-inspiring hiking trails, rich cultural experiences, and ways to continue traveling indefinitely. A detailed map for the entire Chicago Lakes Trail is available to download on the free smartphone app, Maps.me. 14 comments. A bald eagle soaring gracefully through the heavens above? Three prominent developed recreation sites lie within Converse Basin Grove; the Boole Tree Trail, Chicago Stump Trail, and Stump Meadow. Words can’t do the landscape justice. We’d wandered really far off course. Worth Noting: Snowshoeing this trail in the winter provides a greater sense of solitude than hiking it in the summer. Liliana Myers reviewed Chicago Lakes Trail. Turn right down the first dirt road on your right and continue.25 miles to the parking area. The hike to Chicago Lakes is a great hike near Denver, taking you to pretty mountain lakes and into the high country of Mt. The learning never ends in the travel blogging universe. Dispersed backcountry camping is permitted on the Resthouse Trail, Lincoln Lake Trail, and within the Mt Evans Wilderness Area. Park near the Echo Lake lodge and locate a trail which starts on the west side of the lodge parking area - 1.Follow the trail west through the forest for approx. The rustic environment offers a wonderfully serene and peaceful setting for your next campout Evans Wilderness. The trail begins near the scenic and touristy Echo Lake and winds its way past Idaho Springs Reservoir, and eventually up to an old, bumpy forest service road. Take This Road Trip On Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. There are parking areas on both sides of the highway so even when the trail is busy you will likely find a spot. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash. I’ve used Maps.me’s offline maps for every hiking, trekking, and backpacking adventure I’ve ever written about on this website. Have you ever tried glissading? It is possible to hike with snowshoes during off-season months, but doing so will be a more grueling endeavor. We dropped our bags and soaked in the area surrounding Upper Chicago Lake. Oops. “We should glissade down this snowbank,” he said. Hiking. Right-click the trailhead signs to view a full-sized image in a new window, or read my summary of the rules below. More Chicago Lakes Trail is a 11.3 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Georgetown, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as moderate. There are some important rules and regulations to keep in mind when hiking the Chicago Lakes Trail and camping in Mount Evans Wilderness. There is some rocky trail and a little bog about 1.5 miles from the trailhead, but the rest is an easy trail. The hike should at least five hours, so pack plenty of food (2,000+ calories) and bring a minimum of two liters of water. The area sees heavy use in the summer due to the its close proximity to Mount Evans and numerous picnic areas. I’d love to go here and will be looking back at your posts for ideas! Campground Camping, or Developed Camping, describes places primarily meant for tent camping, but can include other types of camping as well. While Beau and I chose only to day hike, opportunities for dispersed backcountry camping within Mount Evans Wilderness are plentiful and free. Hey, I'm Noel. What’s your favorite Colorado lake hike? This route has a great trail all the way to Summit Lake and is considered the standard way to climb Evans from a lower trailhead. The entire hike takes place above 10,000 feet in elevation, so hikers must acclimatize to high altitudes before starting the trail. Hard to beat a sunny Colorado day in Mount Evans Wilderness. Listen for the bark (more of a squeak if you ask me) of marmots as you climb higher in altitude. There, we found incredible views of a tranquil, glass-like lake flanked by the massive granite behemoths that are Mount Evans, Mount Warren, and Mount Spalding. Glissade recklessly down a snowbank, wander off on a side trail or two, and do your best to keep your jaw from hitting the trail. For our entire hike, Beau and I enjoyed a trash-free trail as we enjoyed the sweeping scenery around us. Discover . Use my trusty day hiking essentials checklist as you pack for your trip to ensure that you don’t leave any important gear or clothing behind. Campfires are permitted for dispersed backcountry camping, with potential seasonal and elevation restrictions. Instead, we did backpack just to Missouri Lakes for an epic one-night backpacking trip. 1. The small trail we were on eventually faded away, and we suddenly found ourselves neck-deep in shrubs. Your email address will not be published. share. Herman Gulch Trail – 6.5 miles | 1,657 feet of elevation gain | Arapaho National Forest, 4th of July Trail – 7.2 miles | 1,942 feet of elevation gain | Indian Peaks Wilderness, Booth Falls Trail to Booth Lake – 10 miles | 3,051 feet of elevation gain | Eagles Nest Wilderness. The Chicago Lakes Trail exemplifies everything I love in a Colorado day hike, even if its high-elevation ascents had me pouring sweat and gasping for air. The second lake is above treeline. Base of Mount Evans- Chicago lakes route. Here Chicago Creek is dammed to form the Idaho Springs Reservoir. After a short time on the road, the trail enters the real backcountry, and Mount Evans Wilderness starts to reveal its natural beauty. You two would love hiking in the Colorado mountains! Please pack out all trash, no services available. Let me know if you ever plan a visit to CO and I’ll give you some ideas that aren’t on the blog! When only serious wilderness will do, however, you’re in luck. The air here is dry, so you need not worry about humidity add to your misery if it’s sweltering out. Base of Mount Evans- Chicago lakes route. Archived. It is 9 miles round-trip from the trailhead parking to the intersection with the Craig Park Trail 608 on top of the ridge. See 22 traveler reviews, 53 photos and 4 blog posts If you head all the way north on Interstate 75, you’ll cross the Mackinac Bridge onto the scenic Upper Peninsula in Michigan.The U.P. You can access 18 super-dated pages of trail maps within Mount Evans Wilderness from the forest department website or visit the Mount Evans Wilderness AllTrails page to get more info on hiking and camping within the area. Strap on your snowshoes and give it a shot during the off months, as long as the forecast looks good and you’ve adequately prepared. Check out Backpacker Magazine’s article on bear safety to learn more. Other Day Hikes Near Denver 8. The trailhead is a bit tricky to find. Red, yellow, green, white, pink, blue, purple — the full host of colors were on display for Beau and me. We’d been poking around a side trail, foraging (unsuccessfully) for wild mushrooms when we got lost. An hour south of Chicago, Kankakee South KOA is a quiet retreat for anyone looking to relax. This sometimes steep and rocky trail starts at Echo Lake Park south of I-70 in the Mt. Each site has table, fire grate, tent pad. The area sees heavy use in the summer due to the its close proximity to Mount Evans and numerous picnic areas. Set among lodgepole pines and aspens, close to rushing water and majestic Mount Evans, this campground is a popular but relaxed destination that'll soothe the weary soul. “Let’s slide down the snow on our feet like we’re skiing.”, Glissading is a little reckless — proceed at your own risk. Rattlesnakes exist here, but they’re rare to come across. The hikers along Chicago Lakes Trail have taken care of the land, and it was nice to see. Haven’t touched a wildflower since. I love the layout and how you integrated such helpful information into each post. Pikes Peak Hwy is Colorado’s second highest road (not all paved), reaching 14,115 ft. Preparing for Your Hike     A. To view current trail conditions, visit the Chicago Lakes Trail’s AllTrails page for reviews and updates from fellow hikers. From Echo Lake Park lot, follow the well-marked signs towards Chicago Lakes. There is nice dispersed camping at the lakes. Weight, pack a water filter to purify water as you climb higher in altitude from any,! We dropped our bags and soaked in the area sees heavy use in the summer an. Phone to see it ’ s article on bear safety to learn more closest to,. Trail or road be tempting, picking wildflowers is illegal and can harm ecosystem. Following restrictions apply: your stay is limited to 16 days the skies for birds of prey soaring.. Go here and will traverse along a scenic valley with mountain views off in the Mt Evans ) three. 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