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Chicago Lakes Trail

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Mount Evans Wilderness

Chicago Lakes Trail is a 9.1 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Georgetown, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, running, and snowshoeing and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 9.1 miles Elevation Gain: 2,142 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

hiking

snowshoeing

running

forest

lake

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

rocky

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
11 hours ago

Great trail. Was at the trailhead at 7:15 and was very quite. Didn’t see anyone until I headed back down and the parking lot was packed. Lots of wildflowers. Tiny bit of snow at the top but easy to manage. Lakes and creeks were running nicely.

hiking
muddy
snow
1 day ago

We got a bit of a late start at 9 AM. Had to park along the road. Enjoyed the variety of terrain, views on first part of trail and beginnings of wildflowers. The upper part of trail between lower and upper lake is slushy snow and muddy. Boots helpful for the terrain. Very steep climb up to 2nd lake with a few rocks to scramble would be tough for kids or anyone with balance difficulties. Good views. I enjoyed a quick dip in the lower lake. Very cold but nice and accessible shoreline and gets deep quickly. Trail was very crowded with lots of people passing close by.

muddy
snow
2 days ago

We started out on the trail around 8:30 am. There is a lot of mud in some areas. We went up to summit lake as well. The lake is still frozen. Was going to summit evans but a storm was in the process of forming. We did the 9 miles plus the extra distance to summit lake.

hiking
muddy
rocky
snow
2 days ago

Arrived at Echo lake around 6:30ish (5/31) and there were only maybe 10-15 cars.. the trail has amazing views all throughout. A lot of tree roots and rocks along the path so watch your step. A few places were really muddy so be ready for that. On the way down the summit were a ton of people and it was hard to get through some of the narrow parts so be ready to continuously stop and go on the way down!

hiking
2 days ago

Hiked on a Sunday morning, arrived early as suggested, close to 7:15am. Parking was already getting a bit tight and by the time we got back around 1:30pm parking was out of control up and down the road. My friends and I hiked the full 9 miles and were quite exhausted by the time we reached the car. The trail had multiple spots riddled with mud and water so be prepared to get a bit dirty. We reached the summit and enjoyed lunch, views were nice. On the return the trail continued to get more congested the closer we got back to parking. I do not recommend this for younger children as you trail a steep cliff in the beginning and end.

hiking
2 days ago

Completed the full hike on 5/31 (Sunday). Arrived at the parking lot around 7:10 am and it was already very full. If you plan on arriving late on a weekend be prepared for large crowds. The trail was pretty forgiving, begins with a serious decline that you will have to muster the strength to return on after the 9 mile hike. The last lake was a little disappointing, but the views at the top were rewarding. Recommend bringing plenty of water and snacks for your lunch break at the summit. Still incredibly muddy in parts close to the race to the summit. Fun hike, would recommend, but don’t plan on doing it again.

hiking
rocky
2 days ago

soooo beautiful. enjoyed all of it!! not to many people and parking wasn't terrible. Got there at a decent time. so it wasn't unbearable.

hiking
2 days ago

Went up on Sunday, 5/31, and arrived at 7:30am to a half full parking lot. Only about 15-20 people near the trailhead. The trail is in good condition and pretty easy to follow. Beautiful views throughout the hike. Started running into a lot more people as I made it closer to the summit lake. There’s an ice patch on the way to the top but it’s pretty easy to get through. The view from the top is worth the trip. Ran into loads of people on the way down and found echo lake packed with people and the parking lot/highway lined with cars. Overall great hike, too many people on the weekends, took about 5 hours total with a lunch break.

2 days ago

Our plan was to hike Mt. Evans today. The road to Summit Lake is still closed so we hit Chicago Lake trail instead. We started just after 8 with limited traffic on the trail. We made it to the second lake. Spectacular views and loved seeing all of the young people with their families and dogs. What a great day!

hiking
3 days ago

Arrived around 5:30 with little to no one else on the trail. Muddy in a few areas with light runoff, but super manageable. By the time we descended around 9:00, the trail was pretty packed. Just get there early and you’ll be fine!

hiking
muddy
3 days ago

The hike to Chicago lake was really nice. There were portions of it that was slightly muddy. The push to the summit is slightly icy but other than that this hike is definitely doable! We backpacked and stayed over at Chicago lake and it was a blast.

hiking
muddy
rocky
snow
3 days ago

Beautiful morning for a hike... got there just after 7 with parking still available... trail in good shape... a few muddy sections and the trek up to the second lake was still snow covered for a section... we were gonna continue to summit lake but the clouds were rolling in and we had all 4 pups with us.... got back to the car just before it started raining... amazing views: loved it. can’t wait to do it again!

muddy
no shade
3 days ago

Get to the trail no later than 7am so you don't have to deal with the crowds. We didn't see anyone on the way up, but tons of people on the way out.

I did this hike today (May 29). Started shortly after 8 am and I got perfect parking spot (like 10cars when we got there). Going up, we only saw like 5 people. Coming down probably between 15 to 20. Great weather, there are few parts with mud, but not much. The snow is almost all gone until Chicago Lake. No real snow on trail at this point. Didn't make it to the upper lake. By the time I left just pass 1 pm there were a ton of cars (40+). Perfect day hike, with amazing views if you make it to the lake.

hiking
muddy
private property
rocky
4 days ago

Hiked 5/29. Started hike at 10. There were quite a few cars but enough space to park. The trail is in great shape most of the snow is gone except a small section between the lower and upper lake. Most of the muddy section is on the way to the upper lake. The route is pretty rocky wear shoes with ankle support. All in all a great hike.

hiking
muddy
4 days ago

hiking
5 days ago

Hiked on Friday 5/29: Got to the trailhead at 9:00 AM, the lot was full but there were spots on the road just across the lot. The trail is in good condition and easy to follow. Some sections of incline but the toughest part is going back up the first mile of the hike as you initially drop down for a while. The view from the upper lake is beautiful. We hung out around the lake and ate lunch up there while enjoying the grass on our bare feet (recommend trying that after hiking up). Overall a nice hike that challenges the legs a little with some solid views at the end.

hiking
muddy
5 days ago

Truly, an amazing trail! Hiked on Thurs, 5/28 - arrived with plenty of parking at 8:20 AM. Trail well-marked & shaded in the early hours. Patches of snow towards the 2nd lake, & a bit muddy in spots, but managed fine in my hiking shoes. Lovely views throughout, & would highly recommend! I ended up doing 10.7 miles & finished in 5.5 hrs. I rolled my ankle while running down, however, so my pace the last 4 miles was quite slow, haha. Thank you to the kind gals who shared some Ibuprofen, & to all the other hikers who offered help! Much love. <3

hiking
6 days ago

Wow what a beautiful trail! Starts off going down along the side of the mountain, then some downhill switchbacks and to a road that you follow for about a mile. After that it is all uphill. Made it to the first lake but had to go back due to some altitude sickness. The last mile going back is all uphill and it is TOUGH. Overall a really great hike just be prepared for going uphill at high elevation - it’s not easy. Finished 8 miles (out of 9.1 total) in just under 4 hours.

6 days ago

Echo to Summit lake presented unique challenges. In my opinion this hike requires certain equipment to complete at this point in the year. I would strongly suggest bringing supplemental oxygen, wearing waterproof boots, and bringing a pair of spikes for the bottom of your boots. Im sure some of y'all can gut out large elevation gain without extra air, but why put your body through that kind of trauma. Waterproof boots are an absolute, as you will be trekking through 6-8 inches of snow in some places, plus plenty of mud puddles. I managed to do the hike without spikes, but once i got to the snow line I was Tootsie sliding all over the damn place and that brought the sketchiness of this hike to a solid 7/10. Overall, Im proud that I did the whole hike, but disappointed in myself for doing this solo. Not the most responsible decision.

hiking
muddy
rocky
6 days ago

we had beautiful weather today for a great hike! there were a number of places in the trail where it was flooded and muddy and so a small challenge to get around. lots of places with slushy snow, but they were disappearing. The trail to the upper lake was steep and rocky and muddy and near the top, totally obliterated by snow. The trail folks had made over the top of the snow ended up in a course bushy area that led to nowhere, but it wasn't terribly difficult to find your way around.

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