Explore the most popular nature trips trails in Echo Lake Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

hiking
7 days ago

Did this hike on October 8, 2018. First snow of the winter. It was magical, nobody after the first two miles. saw moose! The mountains and meadows we're gorgeous with a couple inches of snow.

This is one of my favorite trail to date. Ample amounts of parking at trailhead, and beautiful scenery throughout. Very long hike close to 18 miles long, but we'll worth it. Didn't make it up to the top of the summit, due to rainstorms moving in. Would recommend.

Had a blast out here a few weeks ago. Managed to complete the out and back with 1 arm in a sling. I will do this hike again no doubt.

https://youtu.be/PQPeVN17gpc

hiking
22 days ago

This was my second time doing this hike and it was better than the first! Although the views leading up to the lakes are not amazing, once you get within a mile of the first lake, things really open up and make everything worth it. After the reservoir, the elevation gain really kicks in. The first mile of the trail is down hill so dont forget that you have a short hike back up to your car(up hill both ways!). The first Chicago lake has no defined trail but there are plenty of paths to get down there. The yellows, greens, and blues really make this lake stand out. The hike to the upper lake is all gain. There are a few spots of loose dirt which make it slow going but the climb is about 500ft in less than a mile to the top lake. Once you're up there, it all pays off. We had an amazing blue sky day with some gusts of wind rolling through to cool us off. Mount Evans sits behind the lake and offers amazing mountain views and a great place to relax. With the side routes to the lower lake and walking around, the total trip was roughly 11 miles but the trail itself is about 9 miles as it is listed here.

Beautiful hike!

Awesome

Beautiful and a perfect distance. Amazing views

hiking
1 month ago

What a beautiful hike! It is at the base of Mt. Evans 14er, so you get great views of the peaks around you as well as three lakes! At the top you get a great view down the valley; definitely worth the climb. We arrived at the trailhead around 7:30AM and got great parking, and only started seeing others towards the end heading back to our car. Definitely recommend this hike, it is one of my favorites in Colorado!

hiking
1 month ago

This is my favorite hike in Colorado. I typically only see one or two people/groups after you’ve made it up to the upper Chicago lake. But everyone you run into along the way is always very friendly & respectful. Echo lake itself gets VERY congested but most people remain there & don’t venture off to the Chicago lakes.
I went up yesterday & while hiking around the lower Chicago lake I noticed an abandoned campsite. It had been totally thrashed by time & weather. Just some bits of tent, garbage and boots... It was very odd. I thought it was worth making an account here to mention it. Never seen anything like that before on this hike.

Awesome hike. It goes downhill at first, which stinks for the hike back, but the lakes, views and colors are amazing. We went up to the second lake which made the hike closer to 10 miles

beautiful views of the aspens changing color and the reservoir was calm. I did lose the trail looping around from the trail side around to the dam, so be careful and make sure you stay near the water. great hike with my pup and not a ton of people - tho it was getting busy on our way back to the car!

Go before 2:00 when the storms start to come in. This was truly amazing. The bristlecone pine were just stunning and the views were incredible. You can even see Denver when you get above tree line! It was rocky but our 3 and 6 year old loved it and did great. We went sept 1 and were comfortable wearing a hoodie or long sleeved shirt. After this hike, drive up to the top of Mt. Evans on the highest paved road in North America! It closes after Labor Day. Dinner or lunch at the lodge was also nice with a great view of Echo lake (one of Colorado’s oldest lakes) if you can get the right table. :). They also have a campground at echo lake!

Nice trail. For the first part you can hear the cars going up mt. Evans since this trail is so close by, but the farther you go into the forest the less you hear. While my husband and I did not do the entire trail, we noticed the trail hikes up then down, then up again. The incline was pretty consistent and was a good workout. We only did about 4 miles out and back, and only came across a few people. Not a lot of clearing for views but regardless it was a pretty good hike. We brought our 4 year old pug and he was fine because the temperature stayed relatively cool.

hiking
1 month ago

Love this hike, go to the second lake for stunning views. It’s not far past the first lake. Once you get out of the forest and past the private property the mountains are gorgeous. Parts of the trail are strenuous and you do have to climb towards the end of the hike when you’re a bit tired but on the whole a great experience. I was there on a weekday and only saw 6 others. The only downside is the mile on the gravel road on private property.

Pretty moderate hike. Start early to avoid crowds.

hiking
1 month ago

I thought it was such a great hike. Gorgeous throughout a great workout. Beautiful views. I’d recommend it to anyone.

backpacking
1 month ago

Challenging trail if carry a heavy backpack. Worth the effort. Make sure to go to the Upper Lake.

hiking
1 month ago

One of my favorite hikes consisting of lovely forests, peaceful streams, beautiful lakes and sweeping mountain views. This hike has it all! The trail is easy to follow and the hiker population is reasonable. That last incline to the final lake is short but intense so you will feel like you’ve really earned a rest by the peaceful waters and epic view at the top!

hiking
1 month ago

Great workout. Different views all the way to the lakes. Very pretty but the trail is lots of up and down both ways. Hiking poles are useful . Long hike, GPS showed over 10 miles round trip.. Views are worth it. Did not find the hike difficult just long and rocky. Took some careful footing on rocks.

This trail was amazing but I'm not sure how it's showing that it's 8.7 miles, I logged almost 12 miles round trip from the Echo Lake campground to the second lake.

hiking
1 month ago

Definitely an amazing trail. Took my Husky up and she loved it! This was my first real hike and even though it’s though on the feet, it’s definitely worth it!

hiking
1 month ago

Chicago Lakes trail is fantastic.

The views heading down the mountain and at the reservoir were impeccable.
Trail was a bit rocky with a fairly narrow passage here and there.
Wouldn’t recommend going for snow shoes.


Didn’t continue to the other two lakes.

Loved the hike and the peaceful lake.

hiking
2 months ago

UPDATED: The hike from Echo Lake to Idaho Springs Reservoir was beautiful, and only moderately challenging. Rocky, rooty and some elevation. We hiked to Idaho Springs Reservoir to fly fish Chicago Creek as it enters, but there was not much access and the creek was very small, so not worth the hike. We did catch a few small trout in the actual reservoir while we were out there, but overall, we won't be heading that way to fish again. If you are going to fish the reservoir, I'd recommend a spin rod to go after fish farther out in the lake.

hiking
2 months ago

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 months ago

a beautiful hike

hiking
2 months 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.

hiking
2 months 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

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

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