Chicago Lakes Trail

HARD 363 reviews
#1 of 6 trails in

Chicago Lakes Trail is a 8.7 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Idaho Springs, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
8.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1860 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

birding

hiking

nature trips

snowshoeing

trail running

walking

forest

lake

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

Directions from Idaho Springs: Travel southwest on Highway 103 approximately 14 miles to Echo Lake Campground which is located at the intersection of Highway 103 and Highway 5 on the Mt. Evans Scenic Byway. The trail begins at the Echo Lake Campground.

hiking
17 days ago

Hiked this for the 2nd time on 11/25/17. Be sure to bring winter gear/traction during this time of the year. I encountered a lot of snow (1-2 ft) trying to access upper Chicago lake. Both lakes were pretty much frozen over. Also, the wind was kicking that day but made for an epic show around the upper lake bowl (think dust storm but with snow). Although rated as a hard trail, it's not that bad for beginners who want to get out of their comfort zone and catch some great scenery.

22 days ago

great day hike

22 days ago

This is a beautiful hike once you locate it. Note to future hikers: stay on Echo lake trail (start from the lodge) until the log fence ends then go left around the fence and take your immediate right. (There is a large log blocking the trail so hard to tell.) Don't go to your left up the wide steep, wide and icy hill. It dead ends at 1.77 miles. GPS will not catch from this map that you are off course until you have spent ample time. I wouldn't recommend sliding down the cliff to catch the trail although you are parallel to the trail below. I saw a lot of people including my group make this mistake. It adds time and may put a damper on you making it to the second lake. Also the trail does follow the road from the trail crossing to the reservoir. there is sign but could be packed with snow. Conditions were icy and windy. We used yack tracks most of the way both directions. The path is packed currently so we didn't need snowshoes. enjoy this hike there are lots of photo opportunities.

1 month ago

Hiked this today. A mix of snow, dirt, and ice on the trail. Made it up to the second lake without spikes, but wore spikes on the way down. Found ample parking at the trailhead when we began at 8:45.

hiking
1 month ago

Good overall hike. Made it to the second lake which was absolutely beautiful. Pretty much the whole trail was covered in a little bit of snow so you should have good waterproof boots or shoes but nothing too extreme. Getting to the second lake was a little steep and there was a little bit of ice so footing was slipping a bit. I was going at a pretty good clip and took me 2.5 hours up and 1.5 hours back. Good stuff.

1 month ago

Done this one a few times, it's one of my favorites. Make sure to make it up to the second lake! Definitely worth the effort.

hiking
1 month ago

No fresh snow meant a few spots were icy, and then muddy on the way back, but no traction or poles were necessary. The hike up to the second lake definitely has a better view. The trail follows a private road for about a mile, which might be the least pretty part of the venture.

1 month ago

Just went on this hike today. We hiked to the lower lake which was about 8.5 miles round trip. Took us around 4 1/2 hours including stops to take in the scenery. It was a beautiful hike! It was snowing when we got there and was pretty cold the first mile or so. Lots of wind as well. Definitely need good hiking shoes with good grip. The last mile on the way back is tough, because it's all up hill. It did Warmed up as the morning went on, but the trail was slippery at times and muddy.

hiking
1 month ago

This trail is nuts if you're not experienced. My husband and I came here a year ago in our honeymoon and hiked different trails all over Colorado throughout 6 days.
This was by far one of the toughest. We are from flat ole Texas and not used to climbing uphill so much. We did the hike again, after we moved here last week, for our anniversary. Still were only able to make it to the lower lakes! There is a rough bit right before the second lake that is basically a solid mile up a steep hill.
And while the lakes were gorgeous, there's fencing and cement walks when you get to them and that kind of takes away from it. We really enjoyed the forest last year in the snow though, definitelyrecommend going in the cold or else you'll be pouring sweat!

1 month ago

Tough hike. Ok lake

1 month ago

Did this trail with my dog, starting at 8am. It took us about 3 hours to get to the lower lake, with a break for food. Didn't see any other hikers until about 30 minutes into the return trip. Total trip took about 4:40. There were patches of snow and ice, but nothing demanding microspikes. I would say this is probably a moderate hike for seasoned Colorado hikers, but it was a welcomed challenge for me, since I moved here from Florida (pretty much below sea level) six weeks ago. Most challenging part of the hike is the last mile...save some energy :)

hiking
2 months ago

Gorgeous fall day to do this hike. Virtually no snow anywhere on the trail. Some small patches of ice and mud but nothing major - did not need to use the microspikes at all during the hike. Made it to the upper lake where it was a bit windy, but great views both at the top and along the hike. It was 10 miles round trip, with many sections that are virtually flat or have little gain. Be prepared for about a mile of uphill at the very end of your hike. Outhouses have no TP this time of year, so bring your own ;)

2 months ago

Amazing hike, worth every step!

hiking
2 months ago

Wonderful hike! Perfect mix of snow, fog, and fall foliage. We went to Upper Chicago Lake, no Trail that I could see and it was a bit risky climbing it after crossing the waterfall. I wouldn't recommend the upper Lake. Overall great experience.

2 months ago

Love this hike, great stocked reservoirs and great trails for hiking, snowshoeing, running

hiking
2 months ago

As a girl from sea level, this was a moderately difficult hike. Especially the last bit between the first and second lake. Gorgeous views

hiking
2 months ago

Gorgeous lake. Hiked in October of 2016 and snow was on ground but bearable. You get to see 4 total lakes: 1 at the trailhead, 1 along the way, then the 2 chicago lakes!

hiking
3 months ago

Hiked 9/16/17
Beautiful trail. Was substantially easier than i expected, moderate is more accurate for someone rather in shape. Was snowing when i started around 8am and then sunny and beautiful when i left around 2. Expect high winds and low temps at the upper lake. Didnt see much wildlife but plenty of gorgeous aspens to see. 4 stars because you can hear planes over head nearly the entire time.

hiking
3 months ago

Free and dog-friendly in Arapaho park! Pretty great hike up through a canyon and a climb to a waterfall behind the destination lake. Saw plenty of wildlife along the way

3 months ago

Beautiful

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