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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

backpacking
2 days ago

Difficult backpacking trip taking you around the amazing lost creek wilderness and the amazing and awesome refrigerator gulch with its massive granite boulders.

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.

Great views and a well maintained trail. We drive our Outback up to the trailhead parking lot no problem. Few spots where good driving was needed due to drainage ditches. Wouldn't want to take anything with lower clearance than an outback though. Started hiking at 0830 and saw only a handful of hikers. By the time we were done, the lot was full and the trail was quite a bit more populated. Totally worth the hike though!

I give this hike 3 stars in the summer and 5 stars in the winter. It's a great location, just over an hour from Denver and you get to go through Georgetown and past Idaho Springs which both have fun food/drinking options for post-hike. For summer, the hike is easy/moderate and isn't terribly exciting - ranging from 4 or 6 mi round trip depending on if you're able to take the AWD road or not. People mention wildflowers, but compared to most other hikes in CO, there were next to none. This is a lovely quick hike if you just want to get outside and move for a bit, but isn't particularly photogenic if that's what you're looking for. However, in winter it's spectacular for snowshoeing. We came on a Saturday in April and didn't see another soul til we got to the car. It's more strenuous on snowshoes, so that makes it a little more entertaining. The trees are beautiful in winter and you can't beat walking on a frozen lake.

This hike packs a lot in 4 miles, forest, meadow, great views throughout and three beautiful alpine lakes. Of course this also make it very popular. While there is not a lot of elevation gain it is over a fairly short distance so the trail is steep and rocky in a few spots. The last push to the top lake is short and up. Keep in mind you will be above tree line most of the hike so be prepared for whatever weather. This is a great hike for those who want a lot of beauty without a lot of mileage.

Wildflowers, snow pack, Alpine lakes! Awesome hike! It is a very busy trail that at times is hard to pass other hikers so come with patience. The road to the upper lot is very rough. AWD for sure with good clearance, but there was a Mercury Milan in the upper lot so maybe a regular car could make it carefully. Bring bug spray and sunscreen!

The view is amazing! Someone was also kayaking in the Silver Dollar Lake.

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.

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

Beautiful hike, great views and perfect weather!

Got there at 8am (Saturday), parked at bottom lot after questioning driving up the dirt road (on my way out there was a crew filling in the holes with dirt to make it more accessible). Only ran into a handful of hikers on my way up (I also try to hike at a faster pace). Could have made it up faster, but the views were too beautiful and I kept stopping to take pictures. On my way down is when I really started to run into hikers with their dogs. Also saw families with young kids and a trail runner. Round-trip took me 3 hours, but I didn't stop and have lunch at the top - only took in the views for a bit, took pictures and then headed back down. The higher you get the trail narrows in a few areas, but wasn't bad - still clearly marked.

If you park at the bottom lot it is a bit more challenging, but I enjoyed the challenge (for me it wasn't too bad). By the time I left both the top lot and bottom lot was full. I was the 2nd person in the bottom lot when I arrived. Within 15min it started to fill up. Agree with previous comments - stop in Georgetown to use a bathroom before you get to the trail - there are no bathrooms or trash cans. Also saw the issue with left dog poop. It was chilly when I started, but by the time I made it to the actual trail head I was fine and the day continued to warm up!

Tough ascent in the beginning but worth it. First hike only see from a view. Once out of the tree then nice view, stream crossing, snow crossing.

Silver dollar is nice but if you went this far then go to Murray. Some other guys made it to silver dollar and turned around (didn't think Murray lake would be better)

On the way to Murray, mostly uphill but here is where all the flowers are!! Making it up, it would have been great to be able to explore but we had rain concerns (caught in rain, hail on the way back).

Did this hike with wife and 2 and 5 year old with child carriers for both. 5 yr hiked once we got above tree line on way up. On my way down she was carried , as we were trying to get out of the rain.

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

Minus the 12 bags of dog poop on the way up. Was a good time.

Very nice day hike. **Would absolutely recommend driving up the dirt road to the actual trailhead if you can. Our hike up that road was exhausting. For context, even a Prius made it up that road.**
We are from Nashville, TN and are of average fitness (we were accompanied by my parents who are in their mid-60s). The hike from the bottom of the road to the second lake and back I measured at 7.5 miles. This was a very challenging hike for my parents and we took many breaks. We started at 10am and got back to our car at 3pm. The hike into the lakes is completely uphill but is very beautiful. First mile and a half is in the forest and then the rest is above treeline. There were lots of wildflowers and great views. Foot traffic on a weekday was very light. Trail was very well marked. We enjoyed this hike but was more strenuous than we anticipated.

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.

trail running
10 days ago

This a a great trail for running on a weekday.

Great hike! In two miles you get to see 3 alpine lakes with moderate incline! The wildflowers and blooming and I even jumped in for a quick swim. Would recommend to all since the trail is well marked and trailhead is easy to get to as well!

What an awesome day hike within a day's drive from Denver! Parking is free and easy, I think most cars could make it up the bumpy dirt road to the trail head. The dirt road is just past Guanella pass campground. Trail is easy to follow aside from one switchback in the forest, which we missed and another hiker. It is within the first half mile of the trail.

be sure to go all the way past the second lake. You will see a lake down below, but that is not Murray lake or silver dollar. Keep going past the second lake you see to the third, it is well worth the steep incline once you are able to view the mountains and two lakes below. The trail was not too crowded, lots of dogs. All total for us, it was about 5 miles, not 3.9. It took us 2.5 hours with a large break at the very top lake. We were the only people at the top and had the whole place to ourselves! I would def go again since it was a short drive, free, and not crowded! I'm going to check out some more hikes on Guanella pass this year.

great little hike, I would agree with the moderate rating (I'm not particularly fit), but we did see a trail runner, and a handful of young children. there are NO bathrooms in the parking areas, use the bathroom at Guanella Pass campground, or pee in the forest. the first 1/4 of the trail is in the forest, then you're out in the open. it was beautiful: streams, wildflowers, the lakes. definitely will do this one again!

Hiked today, 8/5/18, from the lower trailhead (off main/paved road) up to Murray Lake. Arrived about 9am to clouds/fog, lower lot across road still had plenty of Parking spaces. It was raining so we didn’t start hiking until about 930. Took us about 3 hrs and 20 minutes total, which included several stops for pics, snacks and playing doggies. We never stopped too long, but long enough. Recommend to all levels, as long as you are ready for the incline in the beginning or drive up to the actual trailhead to cut off a lot of time/energy. Beautiful flowers, views, lakes and streams. As others had mentioned, several dogs off leash, but all were great with making sure dogs got along just fine. No garbage cans or toilets, FYI, when packing out.

hiking
12 days ago

This is a great hike! I had difficulty finding the trailhead. You have to get to the west side of Echo Lake, through the campground, to find the trailhead. Definitely some tough spots and Oh Momma, the last mile back is uphill. The stretch from the lower lake to the upper lake is short. . .but very tough! Much of the trek is quite easy, so you can definitely catch a break here and there. Well worth it, to be able to sit on top of a boulder and enjoy the view!

hiking
13 days ago

We got to the Bear Lake trailhead at around 7am on a Thursday and the parking lot was about half full, but with cars streaming in. The hike to Lake Haiyiha was beautiful and generally well shaded. They weren't a ton of other hikers on the trail. Instead of backtracking, we hiked over to Mills Lake then retuned by Glacier Creek Trail. The Glacier Creek Trail was a mass of humanity, mostly going the opposite direction, so we had to stop a lot. It was also the only part of the trail with little shade. Frankly, we just tried to power through this section to get back to Bear Lake.

Beautiful hike and it is nice and easy if you're in decent shape!

Excellent birthday hike except I lost a treasured necklace while hiking. If anyone finds a heart necklace email me pollydrew@me.com UPDATE: I returned to the trail head the following day and FOUND the diamond necklace. :)

Beautiful. Wildflowers everywhere! even saw mountain goats. I give the hike 5 stars, but still had to carry out dog poop bags. Do your part people...hike it in, hike it out!

Great hike above tree line. The lake is beautiful, the wildflowers plentiful. Views in every direction!

Took our kid and dog here and it was a ton of fun! A bit chilly at the third lake but it went great!

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