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

Ideas Map

I loved the hike. Only went as far as the reservoir because we started late. Go early to avoid the heat because you’ll need it for the incline areas. It was a “good” hard hike. The difficulty was due to the incline at altitudes of 10,800. But we’ll worth the challenge...you will say that at the end. Careful bringing dogs..,lots of rock I would believe to be hurtful on there pads.

1 day ago

Wow what gorgeous views!!! But the Hard rating on this was definitely deserved, mostly due to the last 2 miles or so are steep and technical. Gorgeous wildflowers and views the entire time, some tree coverage for the first mile- mile and a half. Definitely start early for parking and avoiding the afternoon storms!

2 days ago

Some people say this hike isn't strenuous. Maybe with just a day pack it's not. If you plan on backpacking in, it's very strenuous. The views from the upper lake are incredible. Apparently, CO has a statewide fire ban. If you plan on staying the night, bring a gas burner (jet boil or similar). There was very little mud along the trail and the temps were 70ish during the day and low 40's over night. The first 1 mile is mostly downhill. The last 4 miles are uphill.

2 days ago

Great hike but tricky. Mega incline technical footing. Trail starts at the parking area near the lake. Walk around the lake by the picnic tables and ascend from there. It does not start at the visitors center mentioned below. Start early as it rains in the afternoon

Wildflowers are amazing right now! Great hike in spite of hour or so of rain, sun broke out just in time. At first wasnt sure which path to take to get to upper lake because there are a few forks all at once... go with the "middle-ish" one that passes an abandoned camp stool, easy to follow after that.

DURATION: Beautiful hike all around, took about 3.5 hours solo. Would recommend allowing 5-6 hrs for groups.

INCLINE: Steady gradual uphill with periods of flat hiking grounds. Take it easy on the last 1/2 mile (steep incline and elevation change), where it then flattens out again to a beautiful lake. Also, remember where the trail is to get back from the lake - this can be a little challenging once you've started walking around the lake shores.

RECOMMENDATIONS: water, snack, trek poles (especially for any beginner hikers), light raincoat/jacket, and bugspray. If you slow down or take a break, the mosquitoes swarm you but it is important to pace yourself and take small breaks on this hike!

OVERALL: Eating lunch / snacks by the lake is picture perfect. VERY WELL MAINTAINED PATH. =)

DIFFICULTY: Moderate to Difficult (last 1/2 mile)

9 days ago

Amazing hike. Ended up being around 11 miles with the climb to the top lake. Beautiful wildflowers all over, not too much elevation gain and it was spread out throughout the whole hike. Definitely recommend if you’re looking to get some miles in.

7/8/18. One of my new faves. I should say - this hike is mostly uphill for the first 2.5-3 miles. We are from Boulder and in good shape and we nearly turned around but were so glad we didn’t! After all the uphill, you are treated to amazing open meadows filled with flowers and unbeatable, close-up views of the Rockies. The wildflowers were to die for right now. We hiked a little over 5 miles up to a big meadow/clearing(Eccles pass?) and then turned around. You could definitely keep going if you wanted. We were exhausted at the end but so glad we found this special place. I should also mention we got there around 10:15 on a Sunday morning and there were plenty of cars but we had no problem finding parking. Completed the hike in about 5 hours and that’s with a stop for lunch,snack, and lots of picture taking. Enjoy!

Beautiful hike along a creek with a picturesque lake at the end! Well-maintained and moderately trafficked.

The wildflowers were in full bloom which made it even more enjoyable.

10 days ago

Great trail with some climbing.

Beautiful hike. First mile or two are more decent after you reach little dam it opens up and incline starts.
Started at 6 AM, finished back in the parking lot at 10:30 AM by Echo lake , had a 20-30 min rest at the top. Trail started to get busy after 9 Am. As for parking - it is free but obviously limited.

12 days ago

Beautiful hike! The hike is very long, but not too strenuous. 3/4 of the hike is flat and only moderately steep at times. It also follows a beautiful stream! The last 1/4 is strenuous but the lake is worth it!

At the lake we hung out with some goats! They are docile and will run away if you go near them

We hiked Deluge a few days earlier and found Deluge to be more difficult (even though it is shorter)

Beautiful lake at the end of the trail. great hike for any skill level.

Beautiful views, water spots for the dog, amazing wildflowers. Strenuous hike for me.

Beautiful vistas!!

The hike is absolutely stunning. You get to see Echo Lake, a reservoir, a waterfall and the two Chicago lakes.

It is a difficult hike especially as you reach the lakes. But, it’s well worth it!

My pedometer marked 12 miles because we walked to the waterfall as well.

Gorgeous this time of year! Wild flowers everywhere. A little busy on the weekends but thins out after you hike past the road. Take a sweatshirt or jacket if you plan to go to the second lake. It’s still quite chilly up there.

17 days ago

We hiked today 6/30/2018 Only expected to walk a mile in and a mile out but so beautiful we did 2 miles each way. Will def go back with more time and planning to go to upper lakes

Gotta be careful - one spot on the way up and one spot on the way back have a fork. Choose wisely - keep your compass and this app handy, and max out your phone charge before you head up! Also, the amount of rocks more or less necessitate hiking shoes.

19 days ago

At the beginning of the hike make a stop at the creek and take some pictures. The trail is steep at times and then flat, so it is good for recreational hikers. Pretty meadows and forests of aspens and of course great views. We hiked in about 1 hour and found the stream again and it was fun to watch the water rush by so quickly. We had a picnic on boulders and returned to the trail head in 1/2 hour. Great hike, I enjoyed it more than Booth Falls, which was LONG.

Beautiful ! Busy trail but gorgeous views.

I believe this trail is difficult because the way back is just as hard- or harder- than the way in. Total time: 3 hours in, 3 hours out! But it was great. Shade, changes in scenery, lakes, and beautiful flowers. When you get to the first lake, there are different trails so be careful- we got lost in a super muddy area that probably added 20 mins. Very very busy, the earlier you can get there the better! Completed on 6/23- perfect weather, muddy close to lake

Beautiful views and lots of shady spots. Kinda crowded, but you could find a parking spot still.

25 days ago

We hiked today (Friday, 6/22), and it was really wonderful! The trail actually begins not at the campground, but next to the Echo Lake Lodge. The hike is varied terrain and amazing views, especially near end of official Chicago Lakes Trail. We continued on to see the Upper Chicago Lake and it was so worth it! The "hard" rating is accurate! The elevation gain as you head back to car is a little bit nuts. Would have liked better markings on trails, especially between the lakes. We also had quite a variety of weather today. We had rain 8:45-10:15 or so, sometimes quite windy and cold. We had sunshine and blue skies, then more sprinkles. The trails did have a few muddy spots and wet/slick spots due to weather. We saw a deer, no other large animals. The wildflowers are GORGEOUS right now! We hiked about 6 hours (not in a hurry) and hiked nearly 11 miles and equivalent of 170 flights of stairs.

Great trail. Amazing scenery. Too many people especially for a Thursday morning-hence the 4 stars.

28 days ago

This trail just stops! I wanted 2 get to the lake!

The trail from Echo Lake to Idaho Springs reservoir is pretty rough and honestly uneventful, work like hiking. Once you get up to that lake, it’s more open hiking in the Chicago lakes vale.
The camping at Echo Lake is cool. I really enjoyed having a burger and beer at the lodge when I got back.

1 month ago

Loved it! Was not able to figure out how to get up to last lake, but well worth the trek. Will go again and find it, and summit Mt. Evans.

Stunning hike. Took us 5 hours roundtrip to Upper Chicago Lake and back to the car. About 45 minutes was spent bushwhacking through willows to get to the lower lake. There are easier routes supposedly if you continue to the end of the lake before the trail heads to Upper Chicago Lake. It is a steep, short hike to Upper Chicago Lake but well worth it. We didn’t have time to continue to Mt. Evans due to a late start unfortunately so I’ll be back.

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