Chicago Lakes Trail is a 8.7 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Idaho Springs, CO that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and snowshoeing and is accessible from June until November.
Directions from Idaho Springs: Travel southwest on Highway 103 approximately 14 miles to Echo Lake Campground which is located at the intersection of Highway 103 and Highway 5 on the Mt. Evans Scenic Byway. The trail begins at the Echo Lake Campground.
10.05 miles to the 2nd lake. 4 hours 33 minutes.
Fresh snow on the ground in early November. Great hike, very scenic.
Snow added some dicey moments on the descent.
A few steep parts, but not a very difficult hike. Enjoy.
Fantastic hike offering everything you can possibly want. It starts off a little strange....you actually hike DOWN about a mile or so at the start of the hike, going deep into the canyon. From there, you work your back up to the two Chicago Lakes. I would estimate that this hike is more like 11 miles round trip, instead of 8.7. Bring some snacks and make sure you have enough water. Absolutely one of the best hikes you can do.
I am thinking the trail originally ended at the lower chicago lake. And that is about 8 miles roundtrip. But now the trail extends to the upper lake and beyond. Length may need to be updated.
But great hike, pushed my envelop which probably needed pushing. Spectacular space. I took the final set of switchbacks to Echo Lake slowly. Learned about lichens.
Gorgeous trail. Please make time to go to the very last lake at the very top. While the entire trail is scenic and impressive, the very end is the absolute best, most awe inspiring view. It is worth it. And yes, that last steep long incline is worth it too. It is a long day hike. More than 8.7 for sure. Was recording, but phone died - I would say closer to 11.
Somewhat difficult - got by wearing day hike runners. Decent balance of uphill/downhill.
Outstanding, made it to both Chicago lakes. Parked at echo lake parking lot. 11.99 miles total hike. Was farther than I expected. 5 1/2 hours.... more then excellent views...
Awesome hike. Definitely a long one if you make it all the way to upper Chicago lake. Bring a lunch and eat it next to the waterfall. Dogs are allowed, trail was moderately busy. Expect steeper switchbacks and a little climb to the upper lake. Worth it though!
This is a very scenic and also strenuous hike. The first portion is downhill (uphill on the way back) and the portion to and past the second lake are pretty steep. I did not pass many people on the trail and the scenery was absolutely gorgeous. I would recommend this for anyone looking for a difficult but rewarding hike.
Great hike. A little long, but the lakes are beautiful. There are a few lakes too so that helps.
This was such a beautiful hike to welcome fall back to Colorado. The foliage was just getting started turning bright yellow and the weather could not have been more perfect. We started at about 7:30 AM and took our time. We made it to the top lake at about 10 and hung out for about an hour and took in the scenery. At the top of the second lake there is a bluff that looks over the lake below, and it is the perfect lunch spot. Hiking doesn't get much better than this!
Beautiful scenery and was lightly trafficked on an early Tuesday morning.
Be prepared for a 4-5.5 hour day, depending on physical condition and whether you decide to add in the 2nd lake. The leg from the lower lake to the upper lake requires some climbing of rocks, however, it's not difficult just a little time consuming.
Wear good shoes (not sandals) as there are some spots that require traversing through mud.
Also be prepared to take plenty of snacks and water along the way. We left before 8 in the morning so some spots were quite chilly, even in late August.
We did not see much wildlife besides a few marmots, but I suppose Big Horn Sheep would flourish in the area.
I loved this hike with the exception of the road portion, which was pretty rocky and unattractive. Once you enter the backcountry portion of the trail, the views are stunning. I didn't get to the upper lake because a storm rolled in but I plan to come back as soon as possible. I started this hike completely unprepared (no food, not enough water, poor clothing choices) because I was planning to do a much shorter hike. I still enjoyed it and that's saying something! I wore chacos and would not recommend it--the trail gets pretty muddy in places and when the temperature dropped due to an incoming storm, my feet got very cold. Trekking poles would benefit anyone on this trail. It was definitely strenuous.