Explore to do - 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
15 hours ago

Spectacular hike overall, with amazing views, varied terrain, and quite a few wild flowers left. The lake was predictably crowded, with lots of off-leash dogs. Our 5 year old hiked the whole thing unassisted, though it was a bit of a challenge for her and we did take snack breaks. Lots of marmots in the rocky areas.

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
17 hours ago

Quick hike with some elevation gain and great views as the payoff. Limited parking near the TH, so get there early. The trail is pretty much all about going up, but no significant climbing or barriers.

Great trail. We are out of shape and from Missouri. We spent 2.5 hours going all the way to the twin cones and 1.5 hours coming down. We took a lot of breaks and even saw a moose a little ways past the hut. The trail is pretty steep at times with loose rock, but well marked. We would definitely recommend!

hiking
22 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.

Absolutely beautiful view!

hiking
1 day ago

Just an awesome trail with a creek, giant waterfall, panoramic Mountain View’s, wildflowers, and the choice of 4 lakes. It’s a very good workout, so bring enough water and snacks. Enjoy!

hiking
1 day ago

Couldn't have asked for a better hike today. The weather was beautiful, we had to park at the Brainard Lake Lot after getting there at 9am. It wasn't nearly as crowded as I had expected
Everyone we did come across was super nice and very quiet. If someone can tell me of a place that is this easy of a hike and even more beautiful please let me know. I'm not sure there is a place.

Wonderful views. The trail was great for the kids (ages 6 and 9). Bring your bug repellant of choice. Lots of mosquitos near the lake. Soo beautiful!

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
3 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.

Wonderful hike! Beautiful wildflowers, creek and views!

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

on Lake Isabelle Trail

hiking
4 days ago

Beautiful BUT: The Lake is now drained. There's only little water left. no more waterfall, and compared to a month ago most of the wildflowers are now gone.
Still a nice walk/hike, would suggest going later in the day as it gets crowded in the morning.

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.

Wonderful views at the top and several different paths to get there. Right in the middle of a cute little town, too.

My sister-in-law and I hiked this trail late afternoon and it was great! I’m not in great shape, so it was challenging, but the view was well worth it. If you’re wearing “open” hiking shoes, like Keens or Chacos, be prepared to get some sand and dirt in your kicks. Also, since the trail is sandy, be ready for extra umph to get you up, and extra grip to get you down. I would 100% recommend hiking poles if you’re not fit or only slightly fit. Bring lots of water on a hot day!
We took the north loop up and south loop back.
Even in late August the wildflower foliage was very pretty. Not a boat load of blooms, but still good. In the end, the view from the top is gorgeous.
The hike down was super easy, but because of that rocks/sand don’t forget those good grip shoes.
Again, great hike!

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

Great little hike. Got there at 830 ish and had to park further away.

Beautiful stream and gorgeous lake

Did this hike with wife and kids (2 and 5), had hiking child carriers.

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

I’m honestly hesitant to give this a review because of how good it is. This is a hidden gem (from tourism) and perfect alternative to the emerald lake, dream lake, lily lake, etc. It’s also not only easy, but a great duration. I suggest an evening hike for the sunset at Lake Isabelle, absolutely incredible. Check weather though for any afternoon hikes, always.

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!

Definitely not an easy hike but we did pretty well. The views are incredible and we went right as it was about to rain so at the peak of the trail we were surrounded by clouds and fogs rolling in over the mountains. According to our fitness tracker it was about 3.2 miles up one side of the loop, up the full north path, back out and down the other side of the loop.

A challenge going up, but worth the view at the top.

gorgeous views from the top and great for fast running back down. last 1/2 mile up to the summit is a bit challenging but worth the twists and turns!

hiking
7 days ago

This trail was gorgeous but we went on a Wednesday and it was extremely busy. It was a pretty easy trail for an amazing view.

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

off road driving
8 days ago

Drove as far up as allowed in stock 4runner TRD off road. No problem but the road is pretty beat up and has only gotten worse with time. Would definitely recommended a good 10+ inch clearance if you are gonna go past the last parking section. Once to end of the 4x4 road it was about a 30-45 minute hike up rocks and steep incline. Did this at the end of the day saturday and it wasn't too busy. Any earlier and the trail is generally mobbed with people.

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