Explore Colorado - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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hiking
22 hours ago

Nice, somewhat crowded, trail that goes all the way around the lake. Kids really enjoyed it. Bathrooms are available at different points around the lake, making it user friendly for little ones, and big ones - ha,ha!

off road driving
23 hours ago

This drive wasn't super scary or spectacular. The ruts in the road were pretty bad. The old mining sites and dredges, as well as the semi-ghost town of Nevadaville was interesting. Basically, this is a mellower route to take from Idaho Springs to Central City.

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
1 day ago

a beautiful hike

This was an absolutely amazing hike! I only gave it 4 stars instead of 5 for the following reasons:
1. The hike is listed as easy which it definitely was not, I would say it is more moderate and that is due to the trail being super rocky, picture a river that dried up, that’s what the trail was. But if u can handle that than it is totally worth going, the views r just spectacular all around you! I highly recommend continuing past the lake to where the snow is, the views only get better and it was not hard to hike up there. 2. We got a lil lost on the way back because the trail is not clearly marked, good thing we had the map from this app and a friendly person to point us in the right direction.

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.

My family did this hike we had someone from sea level and they were able to do it I would recommend this hike for younger kids and a first hike. At some parts were not well marked over all we thought it was pretty good

Great short hike to a beautiful view. Would highly recommend bringing visitors here to show, great views and easy enough up and down while truly being in the mountains. Definitely great for the dogs as well.

I liked that this trail had variety of sceneries. Many shaded area as well as some meadows and rocky terrains. Great for dogs since there is a creek running by, and the lakes to get to. Wild flowers are beautiful in August. I saw a coyote (I think) and moose!

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.

What a gem so close to Denver and I-70! We hiked on a Sunday morning in August. I hadn’t expected all those wildflowers in August—so lovely! This was a short hike we planned for the morning-we had to travel on to Salida that same day, so the 3 of us allowed just enough time to hike at our own pace, touch the glacier, enjoy the views, and get back to the car within 3 hours. I am tempted to rate this as 5 stars except for: toward the top, so many hikers have made branching trails that we weren’t sure which path to take to reach the lake (a helpful hiker passing us said: don’t worry, they all lead to the lake); parking was really crowded with few options; and the main parking lot was really rocky and our “standard rental” car bottomed out and scratched the undercarriage (thankfully not noted by the rental people). The views from the toe of the glacier are just stunning, so we didn’t try to go higher up the rocky scree slope—that looked like it would take more time than we had.

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

Scenic and forested. The last 3/4 of the hike got hard and had me wondering if I was ever going to make it, but it was worth the effort to get to beautiful mountain lakes.

Fun hike and cool spot to look out and see everything! We took this hike when we didn’t want a long day and combined it with a visit to Squaw Mountain

Wow! A little rough up going in for a beginner like me. But, it is all worth it what a view at the top! Can’t wait to bring my family here!

Perfect for a quick, easy, dog-friendly day hike. There were a lot of great areas to pause and soak in the view or just hang out for a bit.

Awesome ash trail! Bring $5 for parking

This is an easy but beautiful hike! We love taking our dog on this one!

We hiked this on the morning of 8/9/18, leaving the smaller parking lot at 8:45am. The trail to the lake is almost entirely rock; I’m guessing this was once a river bed, at least during the snow melt season in eons past. The lake, mountainside behind it, and the snowfield are stunning. We set off higher, and quickly lost the trail. There is a waterfall just below the glacier, and we ended up following some others up across the water below that - as in, through the water. This meant we were completely off the trail on the other side, but we stuck to other descriptions of staying to the right side of the glacier as we ascended. This was really tricky. We were just feet from the edge of the glacier, and the terrain is a mixture of scree and a variety of sizes of rock. Really slow going, lots of slipping on the scree. After about a half hour of this, we observed two people ahead of us walk across the snow (which eventually narrows to nothing as you proceed) and climb up the opposite side to a trail up there. We did likewise, and finally found ourselves on a real trail. Furthermore, at that height, we could see an actual trail on the side we’d been on, which wasn’t visible to us when we were lower. We continued on to see James Peak. It became obvious that unless we continued straight for an uncertain distance that all we would see was the top of the two mountains. At 2.20 miles from the start, we turned around. The trail we were then on was going to take us to the left side of the glacier, which then ends at the glacier, so we knew we had to cross back over and get on the real trail there. We skirted along the top of the snowfield, lots of scree there and steep, although not any long distance down. We got onto the actual trail, and picked our way down as there is still plenty of scree there too. We got back to the lake area, and found the official trail which, surprise, does not walk you directly through the waterfall stream. The rest was easy enough.

This is lengthy to let others know: 1) that the trail just up past the lake isn’t necessarily easy to find; 2) the trail farther up from the lake can be truly difficult to find (we saw several people ascending the way we’d gone); 3) there is no actual end point on this trail nor any “wow” view up higher; 4) so. much. shifting. scree, so be prepared for that.

We got to our car at noon, and the large parking lot appeared full as we drove past it. There were tons of people. It’s very popular.

AllTrails rates this as Easy. However, we have a book of hikes that rates it as Moderate. Our hike was a challenge, certainly not Easy.

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

I loved the views this trail had to offer with the lake and surrounding mountains. I will say though that it was probably my least favorite trail to hike that I’ve done so far, and I’ve done many trails including 14ers. The reason I didn’t like this one was because of the gravel when you go to hike to the top of the glacier. There is way too much sliding around and stressing out trying to figure out the best place to put your feet without falling. I was not a huge fan of that. Other than that, it was really pretty, and if you hike to one of the trails to the right of the glacier, there were a ton of wildflowers and even more pretty views. I’m glad I did it, but I probably wouldn’t care to go back because of the rocks and sketchy trail to the top.

Went up there with friends and had an absolutely amazing time. The lake and glacier together looked beautiful. We hiked all the way up the glacier and to where it ended. From there we went back and climbed the row of mountains going back down on your right side. At the top there were many stunning views, where we took many pictures. We went down a small trail on the right side of the of the mountain going back to the lake. Everything was amazing and I would highly recommend going there. However, going up the glacier can be very slick. I would bring spikes to put on your hiking shoes! Makes going up it a whole lot easier.

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.

Cool hike and views from the upper lake. Many, many people due to the parking lot being so big. I would rate the TH to the two lakes has a moderate hike and if you choose to go up that last .5 mile is hard. There are two trails up, the one in view from standing between the lakes is a scramble up and then down 150 ft to the lake. The trail to the east is steep too but drops you at the lake shore.

overall, nice hike with tons of people.

Absolutely spectacular sights and a pretty short hike.

Good hike up, had a lot of fun looking at the glacier and walking on it. My group and I went cliff jumping and had a blast!!

What an amazing hike! I wouldn’t call this an easy hike but it’s easy/moderate. The trailhead is tricky to find when it’s your first time but is right after mile marker 18 if you are coming from Idaho springs on the right.
You can’t beat the views from the top

walking
10 days ago

Amazing but exhausting!

Well maintained trail with beautiful views.

hiking
10 days ago

I had a great time hiking to the top and an even better time sliding down the glacier! Now, that being said, my phone fell out of my pocket. It's an iphone, unlocked, etc. If a kind person could return it to a Verizon store between St. Mary's and Denver (or in Denver if you're coming to the city), that would be much appreciated. People in my contacts to contact if you get a hold of the phone are Captain, Rachael or Kayla.

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