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

hike Map
VIEW FULL MAP
hiking
15 hours ago

a beautiful hike

hiking
15 hours ago

Great day not a cloud in sight. Smoke from the California wild fires was very prevalent. First time this hiking season that I wore a short sleeve t-shirt over 12,000’ even the slight breeze felt refreshing because it was a hot day.
Ran into 40 people who were doing memorial hike for Peter McInerney

The road was in good shape and it’s a very good workout.

Views were mostly blocked by the smoke.

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
1 day 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.

Vraiment beau paysage !!

hiking
1 day ago

Beautiful trail. Definitely arrive by 7:30 am to avoid heavy traffic. If you are not an early riser and always lucky, arrive around 10 am to take the early birds' spots.

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.

Beautiful scenery but there are better ones than this lake.

hiking
2 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.

off road driving
3 days ago

Very easy trail. Some narrow spots and switchbacks but very basic - great for beginners. We also camped to watch the meteor shower. Camping spots were plentiful. Really nice, open spaces. It was a great weekend trip!

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.

hiking
3 days ago

It's worth the uphill grade to see Emerald Lake. Very pretty and attainable.

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

This hike without other factors should be a 5. Three great hikes in a short hike. But the amount of people on this trail just ruins it. Started at 830 and already way too late.

Once you get the lakes don't find a place to sit down immediately as other do. Explore around the lake to find some solitude.

Really want to do this hike again but starting at 530 am.

Did this hike with wife and kids (2 and 5). Had hiking carrier for them but they also took turns hiking.

hiking
3 days ago

Beautiful hike despite all the people.

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.

on Jones Pass

off road driving
4 days ago

A great, straight forward trail with tremendous scenic beauty. Numerous places to pull off and enjoy the scenery, camp, or picnic. The trail is open all the way to the summit at about 12500 ft. Once you head down the back side, there's a cut off that trail called by some Crashed Truck Trail. There's a crashed Toyota 350 at the end of the trail. The trail is definitely not EASY and has a few sketchy parts. Don't attempt with a full sized truck!

Awesome ash trail! Bring $5 for parking

hiking
4 days ago

Four lakes along the trail. There are all beautiful. My favorite is the dream lake. I went there in summer and it's so cool. Imagine How I was happy as I went there from south Arizona!

hiking
5 days ago

Easy trail. Beautiful view of lake

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.

Gorgeous scenery. Went in early August and it was like something out of a fairytale. Great hike for all ages! If you’re up for a beautiful 9+ miles I recommend parking at Bierstadt trailhead and taking the shuttle up to Emerald Lake trail, hike to Emerald Lake and back, then take the trail to Bear Lake, hike from Bear to Bierstadt, then return to your vehicle. Amazing journey! Enjoy!!

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.

Beautiful hike. We saw some elk, cut throat trout, whitetail deer.

Short. Easy. Beautiful.

hiking
8 days ago

Being widely regarded as one of the best destinations in RMNP cuts both ways. On the one hand, Emerald Lake is absolutely gorgeous and well worth the fairly modest hike. On the other hand, the trail and lake are packed with people from roughly 7:00 AM to 4:00 PM. The number of idiotic parents letting their kids feed the animals at the end was particularly distressing (animals get sick, kids risk getting plague or tularemia, etc.). I gave this four stars because it's a 3/5 most of the day, unfortunately, and a 6/5 when you have the place more or less to yourself.

Load More