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I've only hiked this trail once and it is a really cool trail, especially 12 minutes away from my house in the city, but the main drawback for me is all the bikes. It's a very popular MTB trail and I had to pause pretty much every other minute to let a bike go by. A few bikes hurtled toward me and expected me to lunge out of the way. Overall it was hard to settle into the hike itself.

hiking
18 hours ago

I'm heading to Echo Lake this weekend to hike to Idaho Springs Reservoir. Can anyone tell me the water level of Chicago Creek as it enters the reservoir? We are looking to fly fish and don't want to waste time if the water levels are too low. Thanks! I'll leave an official comment after we return.

Great hike with lots of parking, restrooms, and a variety of inclines and beautiful views. Highly recommended. Not too far from Denver and great for late morning hikes. Dead horse is just remnants, not smelly at all but sort of creepy.

As others have mentioned it is about 8-9 mile loop, great scenery, going counter clockwise would of been easier, didn't know my clockwise to counter and went the hard way, the wildlife is great saw many deers, snake, chipmunk, and rabbits. Fun but challenging hike, especially the last mile, which felt like 3. :)

Nice hike, shade/sun mix.

Awesome place with amazing views. We ran into a black bear on the first 1/4 mile of the hike. Poor guy must’ve been lost, Park rangers said we were the third sighting (one was on the road) . We went early afternoon and there wasn’t a crazy amount of people. Apparently the park rangers just cleaned up a dead horse but the smell is still there. Overall a good find and great hike. ( I had my 7 month old puppy with me too)

Gorgeous area. If going on the weekend, get there early, parking lot does fill up, and area from echo lake to the Idaho Springs reservoir can get quite busy. Well shaded, good distance, pretty lakes, creek, and reservoir. Also dog friendly, expect to see a few. Highly recommend this hike!

hiking
2 days ago

a beautiful hike

hiking
2 days ago

I started this hike at 7:30 a.m. (second car in the otherwise empty parking lot) on a Monday and returned somewhere between 1:15-1:30 p.m. This hike was definitely challenging for me as a flatlander and I had to stop to take breaks quite often. I also spent quite a long time up at the lake *maybe 45 minutes or longer) and took another longer break during my return at the reservoir to soak my feet before making the final uphill climb. I think this hike is moderate for people who live at altitude and hike regularly, or who are otherwise very fit. If you're not much of a fitness enthusiast and don't workout very often, this is going to be a very challenging hike. If you're fit-ish to average on physical activity, this hike is challenging.

It really surprised me to see so many folks without adequate hydration and starting later. Do yourself a favor and start by 7:30 a.m. because there isn't much shade after you get passed 10:30 a.m. All of the regular rules apply: bring sunscreen and reapply once you're up at the lake, wear a hat and sunglasses, bring more water than you think necessary, and pack loads of snacks. I brought 64 ounces of water and drank about 3/4 of it. Didn't encounter too many bugs other than curious bees at the lake. The only wildlife I encountered were birds (saw an eagle at Echo Lake first thing) and chiding squirrels. Trail rules indicate dogs are required to be leashed but most were off-leash - doesn't bother me but it's something to consider if you don't like dogs.

Some additional navigation tips:
-Once you complete the initial descent and get closer to the water, look out for the primitive log bridge to cross
-Exiting the woods, take a left to follow the access road for about a mile; if you're early in the day, you'll pass the Idaho Springs Reservoir and see trout jumping out of the water to feed.
-Follow the access road past the cabins; the trailhead will be ahead on your right with a no-fee permit station. Fill out your permit and take the trail immediately in front of you, not the unmarked trial to your right.
-You'll pass a second sign indicating that you're entering the Mt. Evans Wilderness; don't worry, you're on the right trail.
-I tried finding the trail to the upper lake and was unsuccessful. I ended up following some of the unmarked trails that go around the lake and wound up in a boggy area just before the lake. Maybe avoid that and do more research on picking up the trail to the upper lake than I did.

Fairly easy hike. Nicely shaded.

This instantly became my favorite local hike when I came over the hill & saw the view at the end.. fantastic, so many layers of mountains, so peaceful (I went at 6pm on a Sunday and I saw no one the entire time). The first mile is no joke though, very steep, otherwise easy.

Next time I'll make this an out-and-back rather than a loop by taking the left fork to the overlook & then turning around, that's where all the scenery is.

This hike offered a quick escape from Denver heat today, but not much escape from crowds. We enjoyed the trail, but it was very crowded and of course, there was a lot of dog poop along the trail and two dogs off leash, despite someone asking the owner to leash them. I think this hike would be much better during the week; it was just too busy on a weekend.

hiking
4 days ago

Great hike! It took us about 4 hours, not including the 20 or so minutes we spend at the top. Great views and plenty of places where the dogs can drink water from streams and lakes.

The hike was amazing and we were not bothered by nor saw the deceased horse. The sights were spectacular. Hike was not tough at all! A bit step at parts. Otherwise I would recommend for for children. We saw a few and they had no problems whatsoever.

This was such a beautiful hike! The park rangers were all so friendly and very helpful especially at the beginning when you get to the trailhead. You get a map of the park when you pull in and pay $7 for a day pass. We took the SR trail to the BE trail then went up the LB trail to get to the overlook of Elk Falls, that view alone is incredible!! Then we came back down LB to the CR trail, kind of a difficult switchback but the view of Chimney Rock is stunning! Halfway down the CR you can walk down to Elk Falls. That trail is difficult but once you get to the Falls, every step is worth it! We were super ambitious yesterday (8/11/18) so when we came back up from the falls we continued on CR then got onto the MP trail until we got to the SL trail (a little difficult towards the end of this 1.5 mile trail) then got back onto SR to get to our car. We covered about half of the state park & can’t wait to go back and explore the other half!

Amazing hike. Not that hard at all. Saw big horn sheep, mountain goats, and lots of marmots. Spectacular views

This trail gets a bad wrap here! it was actually beautiful and the signage was just fine. I counted no fewer than 5 signs directing me along the trail. and the map IS accurate. just follow it while you are walking (pull out your phone when you get to a fork in the path) and if you take a wrong turn you can easily see it on the map on AllTrails.

nice 2 hour hike, trails are not marked very well in certain areas.

Nice hike, relatively easy with lots of flatter areas. The reservoir and Chicago lakes themselves are pretty. Relatively quiet on a Thursday am. Took me 4 hours rt

Traveled with a 11 month old in a pack! Summit was breathtaking. The waterfalls are simple...not sure we found the real falls! There is a ‘creek’ area that was perfect for the little one to toddle around and throw rocks. I’d definitely recommend this trail.

This hike took us just under 7 hours. You’ll be going downhill at the start of the hike so be prepared to go uphill at the end. We ended recording about 11 miles going to the upper lake then back to the parking lot. It was a beautiful hike and I’d definitely do it again.

hiking
10 days ago

This is a moderate trail with some beautiful spots. If you see signs for Windy Peak, keep in mind that’s a side trip that is off of the Mountain Lion trail. The trail markers end once you decide to take the Windy Peak detour, so it’s easy to get turned around.

We didn’t encounter any wildlife on the trail, although we started later in the morning around 9. It’s a great workout, but there’s no “wow” view that makes it feel like it was worth the trek.

Nice short hike if you are looking for a quick workout. Good views of Golden and beautiful rolling hills looking back towards the mountains at the top. Veer left at the fork for a longer but more gradual incline to the top. Plenty of bikers so stay alert and move off the trail when they come by. A great weekday evening option.

Beautiful hike but very busy. I would definitely try and car pool as most people don’t. Also, watch out for mountain bikers, you have to move frequently to get out of their way.

good hike near denver

hell yes

hiking
11 days ago

Trail is clearly marked and easy to follow. Nice trot for the family.

Amazing trail. Somewhat difficult in spots but the views are worth it!

hiking
11 days ago

I really enjoyed this hike despite how heavily trafficked it was. Has about everything I would want in a hike.

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