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hiking
12 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.

Hard hike with great views at the end. Fairly crowded.

The road to the trailhead is definitely crazy - our 4x4 Pathfinder took it like a champ! But, you definitely need a 4x4 vehicle to get through.
We pulled into the lot at 5am on Wednesday and there were only a few cars at the top parking lot.

This was my first 14er and it was the hardest hike I’ve ever done in my life! Definitely worth it! We had our 7 year old with us... and it was pretty difficult for him. We all summited Grays and enjoyed the breathtaking views. We didn’t summit Torrey’s. One was enough for us.
We took a lot of breaks with our son - it took us about 6/7 hours to reach the summit. We made it back down to the parking lot in about 2 hours.

hiking
1 day ago

Difficult but worth it! Got to the trail head around 8am, summited around 1 and was back at 2:15. My partner and I took some breaks on the way there, the hard parts only last a couple of moments-had to give myself some pep talks but it was worth it! Way back is hard on the knees but as long as your mindful of the trail and your body it’s manageable.

What an amazing hike! It’s a tough one for sure. The road is definitely scary, but we took it pretty slow. My Jeep Patriot did great. Got to the TH at 530am on a Wednesday morning still spots in the parking lot, not too busy on the trail, was perfect. Took 8 hours with a lot of breaks. Did Grays and Torreys, worth every second!

I arrived on a Monday evening around 6:30pm - there were 2 other cars by the trailhead, by 10pm the parking lot was about half full and when I headed out at 6:30am the next morning the lot only had a few spots left but there was still another 8-10 spots on the side of the road by the beginning of the trail. There are a few sporadically positioned camping spots by the trailhead with firepits - I counted 5 but there may be more. I highly recommend arriving the night before and sleeping in your car or camping as it takes the stress out of wondering whether there will be a place to park once you finally get up the dirt road. Plus you get to see some amazing stars and get to start your climb at whatever time you choose.

The road is as described by many others - rough. I have a 4x4 Jeep and found it tricky in places and slow going 5-10mph for most of the ride to avoid damaging my vehicle. I did see a Prius and several low clearance 2 wheels up at the trailhead which I would not advise unless you're in a rental or just don't care about wrecking your car (or inconveniencing others if you get stuck).

The hike is fun but challenging. I'm in my early 40s - active, above average fitness and live in Denver so not coming directly from sea-level and found it tough above 13k. There's a lot of rock and scree. The views are worth it. I did Torey's first by veering right where the trail splits and then Gray's - which seemed to be against most of the traffic so I'm glad I did. Overall it was busy (especially for a Tuesday morning) but not to the point where that affected the pace of my climb or my enjoyment of it - just plenty of people to say hello to.

Time wise I got up to the top of Torey's in 2-1/2 hours, it then takes about 45 mins to go down, traverse and summit Gray's. I took my time at the top of Gray's and came down fairly casually. I was back down at my vehicle in 5 hours 40 mins (8.6 miles, 3,107ft of elevation gain).

The weather was great - clear all morning. It was chilly at the top of Torey's so I was glad for a nano-puff and pair of lightweight gloves.

It's a fun, challenging hike - that will take your breath away in more ways than one.

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.

My dad and I set out for an ‘easier 14er.’ Headed out around 6:45am and got back to the car around 12:45. We started at Summit Lake and did Spalding to Evans, and then back down Evans and Spalding again (so basically out and back). The hardest part we thought was the return over Spalding after already having climbed across some tricky rocky scrambling to Evans. Did see goats which was the highlight for me, and the view on top of Evans was really beautiful. Would recommend maybe going down the road after summitting Evans to make the trip a little more pleasant.

To reiterate others' comments, the road is an absolute mess -- without a SUV, pickup, or Jeep, there's no way you'll be able to drive to the upper (summer) trailhead. We managed to get about half a mile in a Honda Civic before parking on the shoulder and walking the rest of the way (~2.5 miles). By 7:00 AM on a Sunday, the parking lot was completely full. Don't expect much solitude, especially on the weekend - at least a few hundred people summitted the same day we did.

All that said, the hike itself was a lot of fun, though certainly difficult even after a few days of acclimation at RMNP. I'd recommend doing Grays first, going down the saddle, and then heading up to Torreys. Grays is all steep switchbacks; from the saddle, Torreys is a short but very steep climb. We thought the views were slightly better from Grays. Despite being rained on, hailed on, and briefly snowed on (yes, in August), the trails themselves weren't difficult to follow. Definitely a good experience for our first 14ers!

First, the road: NEVER AGAIN! What an awful beast of a road. I think I have PTSD from driving those 3 miles from hell. (And yes, I was in a high-clearance 4x4 truck.)

Next, the trail: Just wonderful all around. Mostly moderate in difficulty but hard in some places. The trail up to Torreys is steep and a lung-buster. Hiking poles highly recommended for the descent.

Beautiful views the whole way up. There’s some scrambling near the summit. We saw lots of mountain goats and big-horned sheep.

This is definitely a very popular trailhead. Arrived at 445 am and the lower lot had cars parked, we found a spot on the road near the upper parking lot cause it was full. The road up was sketchy for sure. Highly recommend you use a 4 x 4. I have a 4Runner and made it no problem, but there was a Prius 2 people in front of us that got stuck a couple times. Be smart people! The trail itself was nice but crowded.

shoutout to Mike for giving us a ride up to the trailhead. TIL what altitude sickness is. View from the top is 11/10.

Great hike. The people that climb these peaks are so pleasant to be around. It's almost like a family thing. Awesome views from either peak.

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.

Arrived at 5:25am in a Friday and there was 2-3 parking spots left but when lot is full people just park on side of the road. Also noticed people parking just past the trailhead as the road does extend a bit further. As a flatlander making first climb at this altitude it was hard. It made it up in 3:15 with frequent breaks.

Great hike. Quite busy on Friday and the road up takes a bit of time but it is not bad. Outback made it up easily. Went up Gray’s first, awesome view! Both peaks were great, easy to keep on the trail. I could have used 2 fewer miles on the way back! The beginning of the trail is pretty, but long. Enjoy!

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

hiking
5 days ago

hiking
5 days ago

Great trail!

great hike beautiful day. 4x4 drive up to parking lot. arrive by 5am

This is my first 14er this year so far. Initially planned for Mt. Spalding but once that was crested, Mt Evans needed to be attempted as well. Started at Summit Lake with a good friend (her 1st 14er attempt) and we got to Spalding and then went on to climb, scratch and claw our way up to Evans Summit from this trail. It was damn tough but man, are the views worth it!! We were running out of time so we descended via hitchhiking back to summit lake. Without this ride, I would’ve been late for work!

J.F. You absolutely killed this today! Great job!

7 days ago

Not only was this a beautiful hike with incredible views but it will forever be memorable as I proposed to my girlfriend at the summit. It was so perfect!

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

hiking
8 days ago

Wow, what a hike! This was almost too much for someone slightly out of shape from Southeast Texas. I hiked Sky Pond the day before and didn't struggle too much, but this was on the next rung up. As difficult as it was for me though, the amazing vistas more than made up for it. The summit location in the center of the park basically allows you to see most of the big landmarks RMNP has to offer, from Long's Peak to the Mummy Range and the Never Summer Mountains. While the views from the summit are certainly the highlight, the entire hike offers constant breathtaking views, especially above the treeline. Make sure to start early not only due to this hike's gaining popularity, but also because of the thunderstorm risk since the majority of the hike is rather exposed. With the caveat that I was one of the slower hikers, I began at about 6:45 am, summited about 10:45, spend about 30 minutes at the summit, and was back at the trailhead at 2 pm. The skies were certainly starting to look angry as I was making my way back below treeline. Definitely my favorite hike thus far.

hiking
8 days ago

Our favorite hike in RMNP (so far). The Milner Pass trailhead lot was already full when we arrived at 8:15 AM on a Saturday morning, so we parked down the road a bit and walked in. The trail begins with fairly steep switchbacks through the woods before emerging above the treeline. The views of the Never Summer Wilderness were immediately spectacular, and so was the wildlife, including elk, mule deer, marmots, pikas, ptarmigans, and numerous raptors. The trail to Mt. Ida is almost completely exposed and quite windy, so layering clothes (and watching the weather) is definitely a good idea. The ascent itself is basically boulder scrambling with no clear path, but the views from the summit were more than worth it. All in all, a challenging but absolutely outstanding hike.

My first 14er, the views were incredible.

Sand to Summits on YouTube

GULP! ... This was my first 14'er and let me tell you, it was an eye opener. The Mt. Evans Loop from the Summit Lake is an amazing hike. Views of the Rockies for miles as to be expected and the crystal waters of Summit Lake taunting you every step of the way. Initially I thought we were taking the soft way up (HA.HA.HA.HA) by starting at the Summit Lake parking lot but the first 4 mins (which is not a difficult hike) had my legs and lungs burning. This is a moderately easy hike when it comes to the terrain. Slight bouldering as you approach the peak but overall it isn't a nail biter. Living at 1200 ft of elevation in Phoenix does no justice when coming to play in this playground. Definitely try to acclimate as early as possible and water / snacks are essential as on most hikes. ( Although drinking water became second priority to breathing as a sip of water was taking away precious oxygen my lungs were screaming for ) Be smart and watch the weather. Storms roll in quickly as it did on our decent from the peak back to the parking lot.

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