Idaho Springs, Colorado boasts many popular hiking destinations such as Echo Lake, 14er Mount Evans, and our exercise for the day, the Chicago Lakes Trail. So, to clear this up: Beginning at Echo Lake, the trail is 4.24 miles one-way to the lake. We were up at Summit Lake and saw that there was a trail that looked like it went down from there to the Chicago Lakes. We decided to push on regardless; it didn’t pose any problems for us. Willow Chicago Creek campground has 16 sites. Starting this segment was another confusing one where I had to call on my resources from WannaRideTahoe to shuttle me from my end point at Barker Pass Road and Highway 89, to my starting point at Echo Lake Chalet. As you start to walk away from the lake the trail will get a little more rocky and you will see another sign for the Chicago Lakes Trail. 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. Any other tips for this hike that you would give to our readers? The views are amazing and the trail itself is quite rocky, well maintained. The sun was just coming up and we rushed down to the banks. Top 5 one of the most beautiful and well kept trails out there. We cheated three miles off the beginning of the hike by taking the Echo Chalet boat taxi to the end of Upper Echo Lake. Each site has table, fire grate, tent pad. The trail starts on the easy path circling Echo Lake counter clockwise, then Chicago Lakes Trail veers off to the right. The Chicago Lakes Trail begins at Echo Lake (west side), 13.25 miles south of I-70 on HWY 103. From the parking lot, stay to the right of Echo Lake and you will run into the Chicago Lakes Trailhead. Echo Lakes are easily accessed by car a short distance south of Lake Tahoe. While we were exploring the upper lake, one solo hiker passed by; the first person we had seen all morning. Evans road typically (depends on snow) opens on the Friday of Memorial day weekend and closes after the first weekend in October of each year, depending again on weather. From the trailhead, pick up one of the numerous social trails heading southwest. We geared up with microspikes. Then, some people opt to hike around the lake, which adds to the hike as well. The plan was to be at the Lower Chicago Lake by sunrise; a 4 mile hike one way. Hikers must fill out a free permit before embarking on their hike, which can be done at a sign near the trailhead. The scenic hike from Echo Lakes to Lake Aloha follows six miles of the dog-friendly 165-mile Tahoe Rim Trail, a true paradise for hiking puppers and their human pals. On the left hand side of the lake is the path that continues up to Summit Lake and onward to Mount Spaulding and eventually Mount Evans. At this point in the hike we encountered a map and a sign saying we were entering Mount Evans Wilderness. Got to TH at 6am and I was the one of the first on the trail. From Evergreen, take Squaw Pass Road to Echo Lake. We started late in the day, so we decided not to go far because we didn’t want to get stuck, and also it was mainly show covered. Evan massif. Most challenging part was between upper Chicago and summit lake but the path is clear. When I reached the Lost Lake junction on my return, I was way ahead of schedule time wise, so I decided to take side trip to Lost Lake. Both lakes can be fished, as well as the lower Idaho Springs Reservoir that you pass on your way. This challenging hike takes you to two high mountain lakes with amazing views of the Mt. It climbs through a burn area, the result of a fire in the 1970s, then continues to climb to Lower Chicago lake. The uphill directly following the creek crossing was a battle; we had been hiking for nearly 10 miles and were tired. The trail will turn into Idaho Springs Reservoir Road, then … There was only one other vehicle in the parking lot. Echo Lake to Lake Aloha 4 miles, +1200ft/-400ft. Hiking the Chicago Lakes Trail Hard to beat a sunny Colorado day in Mount Evans Wilderness The Chicago Lakes Trail is a delight from start to finish. The Echo Lakes are located on the north side of Highway 50 at Echo Lake Road. Not much smoke at all, you start at Echo lake to the Chicago TH - stop at Idaho Springs Res, then follow the trail up to Chicago lakes. Required fields are marked *. Is this still a time to go hiking on Mt Evans – or will it be to late in the season. We started here and at the end of the hike walked around Echo lake. The road up to Echo Lake should be open, and that is a beautiful area. Explore the full trail profile below for the Chicago Lakes which includes driving directions, map, and tips. I’m from Ohio so this was another world for me. Lake Zurich is a village in Lake County, Illinois, United States, a northwest suburb of Chicago. This will be the easy part of the hike for the trail then climbs upward the remaining three miles. Sadly, just this last Spring, a wonderful father and son, visiting from out of state, lost their lives on the sides of Evans when a storm blew in and dropped a ton of snow on the mountain. It’s way off. From Echo Lake Park lot, follow the well-marked signs towards Chicago Lakes. View listing photos, review sales history, and use our detailed real estate filters to find the perfect place. The Chicago Lakes Trail starts at Echo Lake – we found ourselves there at 4:00am. It’s a good trip to warm up on before trying longer ascents. Lake Zurich is situated 1 mile southwest of Echo Lake. Currently the road to the Mount Evans summit is closed; the only way to reach it is by hiking. The scenery just gets better and better as you go. The trail will turn into Idaho Springs Reservoir Road, then will return to a normal trail. Thanks for the recommendations! There is a trail that connects with the Chicago Lakes Trail, a trail that will take you up to the summit of Mt. Chicago Lakes Trail makes for a fantastic but long day hike or perfect 2-3 day backpacking trip. Upper Chicago Lake was completely thawed and the view looking down on Lower Chicago Lake was excellent. It sure is a beautiful area! I soon reached Echo Lake, which was much larger than I had expected. The road sloped gradually uphill for 1.25 miles before we exited to the left to follow Chicago Lakes Trail. At Buyck, County 23 turns into County 24. 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 hike/scenery was exactly what we had hoped to find! Here Chicago Creek is dammed to form the Idaho Springs Reservoir. From Idaho Springs take W. Chicago Creek trail south to Echo Lake. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Chicago Lakes Trail (#52) Leaving from Echo Lake, the trail goes downhill for the first mile. The trail circles Echo Lake and connects to several other trails: Chicago Lakes, Bear Track Lakes trails, which give you access to Mount Evans Wilderness Area which is full of other great hiking trails,and Mt. Continue west and southwest to the side of a ridge (4) where you can look down into Chicago Creek. The Chicago Lakes hike begins at Echo Lake. The Chicago Lakes Trailhead and Trail: Park at the Echo Lake lot, where you’ll find the sign for Chicago Lakes Trail 52 on the west side of the lake. That will lead you to another sign about.5 mile later directing you to the trail. ", National Weather Service page for Mt. OverviewEcho Lake Campground is located on the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests in central Colorado near its namesake lake at the base of Mount Evans along Hwy 103. Once you get on this trail there is some switchback downhill hiking to a bridge that crosses a creek. Evans, Lake Helene Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park, Forgotten Valley Hike at Golden Gate State Park, Chicago Lakes hike on the sides of Mt. Can you kayak at any of the 3 lakes that are on the way up to the Chicago lake trail? The walk around Echo Lake is easy enough. I plan to hike it in full when I get a chance to return to Denver, so thanks for all the information everyone. Finally, 0.8 mile after leaving Echo Lake the trail levels out on valley floor, and shortly afterward it runs into the Chicago Creek Road. However, I would would strongly caution against attempting the summit from their during the winter season–which is now upon us a bit early in the high country–unless you are an experienced mountaineer or are being guided by one. The first mile is downhill to the Chicago Creek. 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′). AJ – I’ve done this hike twice now. Directly after crossing, the trail meets up with a dirt road that leads to the Idaho Springs Reservoir and some cabin camping sites. However, most people don’t want to stop there, many continue on to the upper lake, which adds and additional .6 mile to the trail. The water level in Lost Lake appeared to be rather low. Evan’s Wilderness. I’ve seen one other website where someone claimed it was 12 miles as well. It started to rain lightly on the hike back to Echo Lake as we were not properly prepared for weather changes. Visitors enjoy hiking, fishing and taking scenic drives along Mount Evans Road.RecreationActivities in the area include hiking in the Mount Evans Wilderness, fishing, scenic driving and wildlife viewing. We decided to save the Mount Evans summit for another day and began our trek back to the trailhead. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash. Next time we will be! I am coming to Denver end of October (18-23). The hike amounted to 10.6 miles with 2,300 feet of elevation gain – this took us 5 hours and 45 minutes. When I have visitors in town that enjoy hiking, this is the place I take them. Ben, Thanks for update on the mileage and verifying it with the GPS. Once at the top you will begin your descent into the lake basin, and at 7 miles from the trailhead you will reach Echo Lake. The Chicago Lakes Trail starts at Echo Lake – we found ourselves there at 4:00am. Evans. The first time was October and I extended it into a 14er, but wouldn’t recommend that. People were fishing and picnicking all around the lake, the parking lot was full and more cars were parked along the road. Near the parking area, you’ll find a … Echo Lakes Trail is a 5.3 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near South Lake Tahoe, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. Thanks. We are not into giving long trail descriptions on Dayhikes Near Denver, but we’d suggest you read the basic one below and check out the trail description and pdf Chicago Lakes map link in the trail profile below. According to my GPS, this was about 12 miles. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. The owner and editor of Dayhikes Near Denver, Aaron writes every trail profile as a local guide who has hiked hundreds of miles of trails along the Front Range and deep in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Follow the switchbacks down and across Chicago Creek. It’s definitely a long hike, we started at Echo lake both times. Just before the second lake is a steep incline, and today it was covered in snow. Hiked to Chicago Lakes from Echo Lake on May 14th, 2020. Head lamps were a must for much of the hike to the first lake. The first mile is considered easy, with much of the trail either relatively flat or … I did this hike with my wife today and it was awesome. Evans or down to the Chicago Lakes basin. Aaron Johnson has been hiking in Colorado for over 20 years. I especially enjoyed the solitude mid-week. I’ve gone in and updated it. Your email address will not be published. Even if you could, that would be a really long hike in with a kayak on your back :). We stumbled upon Chicago Lakes Trail on accident and was just in awe and so happy with this wonderful, amazingly beautiful trail! There is a box where you are required to fill out a pass to enter, however there were no blank passes nor writing utensils in the box when we checked. You’ll pass three more mountain lakes as you punch up into the high country of Colorado’s Mt. Finally we reached the first Chicago Lake. The Chicago Creek Trail #52 goes downhill for the first mile. We hiked a short section of this trail in May while exploring the area. Directions: The trail to the Chicago Lakes starts at the Echo Lake picnic area. There are some steep parts and at this time of year there is old snow on … The trail rolls through some forest for a bit before opening up to a beautiful view of Mt Evans, Mt … That will lead you to another sign about .5 mile later directing you to the trail. If you started your hike from the Echo Lake Park, at the northwest corner of the lake, walk south past the lake to reach the Chicago Lakes trail. Echo Lakes to Lake Aloha. After leaving the southwest edge of Echo Lake, the trial drops precipitously for about a mile until it hits Chicago Creek. The trail continues, faint at times, up a steeper section to Upper Chicago Lake. A hiker leaves Echo Lake on the Chicago Lakes Trail #52 toward the Chicago Lakes, 4 miles away, Wednesday, June 10, 2020. Easy to follow. Trail Description: Up valley hike with outstanding views of the Mt. The first mile of the trail switchbacks down to a creek crossing. Next time, I’ll probably try to start earlier than 6:30 AM, or at least not on a weekend. Can anyone give me any info on this trail or point me to a link for some info on it? The Chicago Creek Road was built by the Forest Service and the city of Idaho Springs in order to provide access to Chicago Creek Reservoir. Check out our profile of the Chicago Lakes hike on the sides of Mt. Echo Lake Park is a park located along the Mount Evans Scenic Byway about 33.5 mi (54 km) west of Denver, Colorado.The park provides a stone shelter with picnic tables and barbecue grills on one end of the lake, and the 1926 Echo Lake Lodge (gift shop and restaurant service only) and an Arapaho National Forest campground are found at the other. It was a long way to go for Kat and her shuttle to come halfway up the west side of the lake to pick me up. You may want to start early, especially in the Summer months so that you have the time to explore and to avoid our famous, afternoon Colorado thunderstorms. Lower Chicago Lake is 3.5 miles from the trailhead at Echo Lake; the entire round-trip is 9.8 miles. Evan’s Summit hike from Summit Lake, Protrails has an online map with waypoints here. Evans summit. We spent 45 minutes enjoying the first lake before crashing back up through the bushes and rejoining the trail. Want to take in some of Colorado’s breathtaking scenery and put some miles under your hiking boots? From I-70, exit #240 and head south on HWY 103 (toward Mt Evans) for 13 miles to Echo Lake. Easily one of my favorite hikes in Colorado since you get to explore three separate lakes and decently varied terrain This one is no cakewalk though, it’s got some steep sections and is consistently uphill. The trail will diverge away from Echo Lake and will traverse along a scenic valley with mountain views off in the distance. The plan was to be at the Lower Chicago Lake by sunrise; a 4 mile hike one way. The Creek is dammed shortly up the trail, creating Idaho Springs Reservoir. The weather didn’t seem to be particularly cold, but it was snowing a … The road is Colorado Highway 5, and you can check its status at http://www.cotrip.org/ The weather didn’t seem to be particularly cold, but it was snowing a little when we set off. Great, well maintained trail. From I-70, exit #240 and head south on HWY 103 (toward Mt Evans) for 13 miles to Echo Lake. As you’ll see in the comments on this hike, people come back with different trail lengths. Start hike at parking area at the end of a short dirt road on the west side of Echo Lake. After crossing the creek, follow the sign indicating that the trail follows the dirt road and hang a left; from here, you'll reach the Idaho Springs Reservoir is a little over 1.5 miles. 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