Visit Nomad Colorado’s complete list of Colorado hiking trails for hundreds of great hiking options in the Centennial State! So awesome. Get off on Highway 103 (exit 240) and head south. Easy peasy. Turn right and begin following the Chicago Lakes Trail #52. Yes, you read that right: There are indeed backpacking trails within striking distance of Chicago. On any given day activity along the trails includes people commuting to work, training for marathons, caregivers with children in strollers, tourists on rental bikes, and people taking a leisurely stroll. You can get to the lakes from Summit Lake Park by following the Chicago Lakes Overlook Trail 1/4 mi from the parking area and climbing down the Chicago Lakes Trail down to Upper Chicago Lake. I climbed a steep grassy slope (.6 mile, +1200 FT) out of the Chicago Lakes basin, and down a gentle 200 feet drop to Summit Lake. From the trailhead, pick up one of the numerous social trails heading southwest. This route description is for the Chicago Creek trail up to Summit Lake (5.7 miles 1 way, 14 miles round trip to the summit of Evans). Fortunately, the fire stopped short of the lakes themselves, and it is the last mile of the trail that really makes the hike worthwhile. It should be noted that our suggested place for parking and accessing the Chicago Lakes trail is different than that recommended by the Forest Service. Leaves are blown out so that’s kind of a bummer. Holy crap. A beautiful drive up to Echo lake to start. Until May 27th, 2021 at 11pm. Access to the Chicago Basin is tricky and expensive. Hence, not my favorite trail to hike on, though the view is pretty. Trailhead starts at Echo Lake. Chicago’s scenic Lakefront Trail is an 18-mile paved path that follows the Lake Michigan shoreline on the city’s eastern edge. Description: The Chicago Lakes Trail is a great hiking opportunity and location in the Mount Evans Wilderness Area. Awesome hike! The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, nature trips, and backpacking and is best used from April until October. From the trailhead, pick up one of the numerous social trails heading southwest. Description: The Chicago Lakes Trail is a great hiking opportunity and location in the Mount Evans Wilderness Area. Didn't get to the top lake due to running out of daylight. Starting Elevation: 10,650 ( Lowest point of the hike 10,320). Snowshoeing the Chicago Lakes Trail in the winter provides a greater sense of solitude. Good to Know. I ended up scrambling up the ridge to Mt Warren, avoid the horny goats along the way. Lincoln Lake Trail, accessible from Echo Lake year-round, is not as glamorous as its sister trail, Chicago Lakes, but is a wonderfully private and scenic trail favored by backpackers, horseback riders, snowshoers, and skiers. The trail begins near the scenic and touristy Echo Lake and winds its way past Idaho Springs Reservoir, and eventually up to an old, bumpy forest service road. This is also a wonderful summer trail that’s just an hour drive from Denver. The FS has you park on the east side of the Mt. Looking for hiking trails near Chicago? From the trailhead, pick up one of the numerous social trails heading southwest. Mount Evans West Ridge via Chicago Creek is a 15.6 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Idaho Springs, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as difficult. Definitely worth the hike all the way to top. This Midwestern mecca is bordered by forest preserves, the beautiful shoreline of Lake Michigan Trails, and plenty of urban and rural opportunities to hike, bike, and cross country ski throughout the year. As a heads up, when you cross the bridge at the bottom & come to the dirt/gravel rd - make a left and you’re walking on a dirt rd for your last mile to the Res. Took about 2 hours 15 mins to get to Upper Chicago Lake and 1.5 hrs back down. Starting from the Echo Lake Trailhead, follow the west side of Echo Lake until the trail splits. Coming in by trail will lengthen your trip by one or two days each way. The trail to the second lake, above treeline, is difficult to follow at times and is very steep. Many people on the trail, and when I got back to the parking lot, there were a lot of cars in the parking lot and on the road. The trailhead is located at 10,600′; the final destination is at 11,800′. It wasn’t too crowded towards the last couple of lakes. You can also head to the summit of Mount Evans from Chicago Lakes. Origin. The trailhead is located at 10,600′; the final destination is at 11,800′. Chicago Lakes Trail is a 18.2 kilometer heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Georgetown, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as moderate. Evans. Colorado Tourism Office, 1625 Broadway, Suite 1700 , Denver, CO, 80202, Phone: 800-COLORADO. 11/23/20 - Packed snow and ice on the trail. Download the free Georgetown topo map. Lake Chicago was a prehistoric proglacial lake that is the ancestor of what is now known as Lake Michigan, one of North America's five Great Lakes. Chicago Lakes Trail. Activities: Hiking, Camping, Skiing, Snowshoeing, Closest City / Town: Idaho Springs, Colorado. Take this road to the end and you'll find the trailhead. Compare elevation, range, calories and other trail … Really enjoyed this trail. Not much smoke at all, you start at Echo lake to the Chicago TH - stop at Idaho Springs Res, then follow the trail up to Chicago lakes. Some of these routes have already been described on this page. Colorado Hiking Trails: Are you looking for other places to hike? Experience balance at Indian Lakes Hotel, located just 28 miles from downtown Chicago and 30 minutes from O’Hare International Airport (ORD), this hotel blends the comfort of hospitality with the vast landscape of the Midwest prairie. Chicago Lakes in Mount Evans Wilderness. Directions: The trail to the Chicago Lakes starts at the Echo Lake picnic area. Total elevation gain approximately 2000ft) Trail Length: Officially I saw everything from 9-10 miles, my fitbit said we went 11 miles but we did walk around the upper lake a lot. Gorgeous views, good mix of different types of terrain, I will definitely be recommending this hike to everyone! You won’t be alone as this popular and conveniently located trail attracts many residents and visitors year-round. Boat Taxi. I took it easy for the first 5 miles, and reached the upper Chicago lake after 2 hours. You get an appetizer of a view of the Chicago Lakes basin from the trail, just a taste of whats to come in 4 miles. There are several social trails in the area, simply choose the one that heads southwest. Make a right (west) onto Hefferman Gulch Rd, a good dirt road. Airport (ORD), 24.4 mi (39.3 km) from central Algonquin • Chicago, IL (DPA-Dupage), 18 mi (28.9 km) from central Algonquin • Chicago, IL (PWK-Chicago Executive), 21.2 mi (34.2 km) from central Algonquin If you’re looking for a butt workout – this is the trail for you. It is all part of the Chicago Lakefront Trail, an 18.5-mile-long path located along the western shore of Lake Michigan that is used for walking, jogging, cycling, scootering and skateboarding. Follow the switchbacks down and across Chicago Creek. Worth Noting: Snowshoeing this trail in the winter provides a greater sense of solitude than hiking it in the summer. You will pass through an old burn area where in 1978, 400 acres burned in the Reservoir Fire. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. This will be the easy part of the hike for the trail then climbs upward the remaining three miles. The Chicago Lakefront Trail (LFT) is a 18.5-mile-long (29.8 km) partial shared use path for walking, jogging, skateboarding, and cycling, located along the western shore of Lake Michigan in Chicago, Illinois.The trail passes through and connects Chicago's four major lakefront parks along with various beaches and recreational amenities. The snowfall caused me to lose the trail a few times especially toward the upper lakes. Unique Cave Bar on-site located in our atrium . For a longer hike you can continue hiking south to Summit Lake … Trailhead: Echo Lake Starting elevation: 10,300 ft Ending elevation: 12,000 ft Total elevation gain: 2,500 ft Mileage: 11.5 miles round trip. This will be the easy part of the hike for the trail then climbs upward the remaining three miles. On the trail to the Chicago Lakes in Colorado. The Chicago Lakes Trail begins at Echo Lake (west side), 13.25 miles south of I-70 on HWY 103. Trail has both smooth and rocky terrain. Trail Uses: hiker in all places and then horses in some….NO BIKES From the picnic area parking on the west side of Echo Lake, walk south along the lake-shore path to the SW corner of the lake and keep going south to intersect Trail #52. The FS has you park on the east side of the Mt. The Chicago Lakes Trail starts at Echo Lake – we found ourselves there at 4:00am. It took about 5 hours (a little under 3 there including several breaks, about 2 back) at a moderate pace, went a little past Upper Chicago Lake until there was a "closed for restoration" sign and I couldn't really see the trail anyway. I rate this trail a 4 for several reasons. On my first weekend in Denver, we broke in the hiking legs. The route follows the Chicago Lakes trail up to the higher of the two lakes. The entrance to Chicago Basin is obvious after six miles, but don’t stop there. Most of the birds have gone down below the snow-line, the plants sleep, and all the fly-wings are folded. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash. Chicago Lakes Trail (#52) Leaving from Echo Lake, the trail goes downhill for the first mile. The Chicago Lakes Trail #52. The first lake is tucked away in the back of a steep glacial valley with thousand-foot granite cliffs plunging down to its eastern shore. I walked across frozen Echo Lake towards the Chicago Lakes trailhead, and was surprised to find the snow deeper than I expected and needed to stop and put on my snowshoes. How to Get to Algonquin Lakes Trailhead Flights to Algonquin • O'Hare Intl. Accidentally hiked this, and it was fantastic. Great day trip hike. The trail is fairly steep after about 3/4 of a mile and leads to an unbelievable overlook. Trailhead GPS Coordinates › N 39° 39' 33.23", W 105° 36' 22.76" USGS Quadrangle › Idaho Springs. The most convenient trailhead for Lake Aloha is at Echo Lakes just a mile off Highway 50 at Echo Summit, west of South Lake Tahoe. The Chicago Basin in the San Juan Mountains is one of the first recommendations hikers receive when searching for backcountry destinations in the sprawling mountain wilderness of southwestern Colorado. Echo Lake is really pretty, and the hike to the Chicago Lakes is alright. Find a multiday wilderness trip within an easy drive of the windy city. went on Friday aand started maybe 1130 at echo lake it was crowded, but there was parkingfairly shady but also sunny spots! Receiving around 100,000 visitors per year, the basin is one of the most popular destinations in the Weminuche Wilderness. See all the news, and events for Chi-town hikers. Follow the switchbacks down and across Chicago Creek. I wanted to find somewhere I could feel some elevation but not go for a 14er right off the bat. 12 mile to the junction of Hwy 103 and 5, the trail starts behind the Echo Lake Lodge. Be careful to stay on the correct trail when you reach the wooded area between lower and upper Chicago lake. The next morning, we woke up, made some eggs and bacon and headed out on the Chicago Lakes Trail. The trail begins at Echo Lake Park, quickly descending for the first mile, then back up to the lakes for the next 3. Darting back into the trees, the first Chicago Lake sits at treeline. Evans Road (SH 5) in the campground. South Boulder Creek Trail. Chicago Lakes Day Hike Leaving the Carpool location at 9AM Leaving the Trailhead at 10AM The Chicago Lakes sit below Summit Lake on Mount Evans. Evan’s Wilderness. Both are small, with the Upper Lake only a short distance uphill from Lower Chicago Lake. The trail to the second lake, above treeline, is difficult to follow at times and is very steep. The views of the surrounding peaks – Mount Evans, Mount Warren, and Mount Spalding – from the trail are outstanding. The rest of the trail is mediocre with lots of deadfall. And finally, there were some places where I had to scramble quite a bit in random parts of the trail. Nice terrain and always great to be out! Leaving Echo Lake, Chicago Lakes Trail travels downhill for the first mile, here Chicago Creek is dammed to form the Idaho Springs Reservoir. Here Chicago Creek is dammed to form the Idaho Springs Reservoir. Post-holed a bit on the push to the upper lake, but was worth it. Description: The Chicago Lakes Trail is a great hiking opportunity and location in the Mount Evans Wilderness Area. West Chicago Creek is accessible only from Hells Hole Trailhead. Chicago Lakes Trail makes for a fantastic but long day hike or perfect 2-3 day backpacking trip. Chicago Lakes Trail #52 Map/Location. From Idaho Springs take W. Chicago Creek trail south to Echo Lake. Then I walked back down Mt Evans Rd. That will lead you to another sign about.5 mile later directing you to the trail. 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. Description: The Chicago Lakes Trail is a great hiking opportunity and location in the Mount Evans Wilderness Area. Purgatory Flats Trailhead: Access from the northwest Purgatory Trail (#511) – approximately 4 miles, 1500 ft descent Summit Lake Park provides easy access to the popular Summit Lake and Chicago Lakes Overlook. Evans Scenic Byway. You’ll essentially skirt the southern boundary of Echo Lake. Dispersed camping is allowed near the Chicago Lakes Trail, and all entering the Mount Evans Wilderness need a self-issued permit available at the trailhead. After crossing the creek, follow the sign indicating that the trail follows the dirt road and hang a left; from here, you'll reach the Idaho Springs Reservoir is a little over 1.5 miles. On your way, you’ll go through a 400-acre burn area that caught fire in 1978. Just be sure to leave yourself plenty of time to get back up. Traveled: Traveled: Chicago Lakes Trail (6,234′) “Hushed now is the life that so late was beating warmly. From Evergreen, take Squaw Pass Road to Echo Lake. Gorgeous views and great water features! The trail was packed and icy in some places. Cons: I found the actual trail frustrating. However, the serenity of the lakes is well-worth the butt-busting effort. TRAIL IS CLOSED AS OF 10/24 DUE TO FIRE RISK. Author: Erica Zazo Updated: Jun 25, 2020 Original: Apr 20, 2018. This will be the easy part of the hike for the trail then climbs upward the remaining three miles. 12-05-2020: This is one of my favorite hikes in the area and this was my first time hiking it in winter. You will pass through an old burn area where in 1978, 400 acres burned in the Reservoir Fire. Chicago Lakes is a popular hiking trail in the Mount Evans Wilderness that has two magnificent lakes with stellar views towards the foothills and of Mount Evans. The trailhead is located at 10,600'; the final destination is at 11,800'. From I-70, head west towards Idaho Springs. Beautiful views, the aspens are glowing gold right now. Both lakes offer excellent views of surrounding peaks. Gorgeous views and good mix of different types of terrain! Running between the shore of Lake Michigan and Lake Shore Drive, the trail passes through several notable parks with many sightseeing stops along the way. Many people on the trail, and when I got back to the parking lot, there were a lot of cars in the parking lot and on the road. Turn right down the first dirt road on your right and continue.25 miles to the parking area. Follow the sign towards the Chicago Lakes Trail (west). Don’t forget... what comes down must go up! What's more, they're downright wonderful. The second lake rests 400 yards further south above a 300-foot wall of broken cliffs and steep grassy slopes. Both lakes offer excellent views of surrounding peaks. Snow packed and icy for a lot of the hike, but beautiful and quiet. You'll essentially skirt the southern boundary of Echo Lake. Here Chicago Creek is dammed to form the Idaho Springs Reservoir. Post navigation ← Drive Up Cottonwood Pass and Family Days in Evergreen. Both lakes offer excellent views of surrounding peaks. 12:45. The scenery is mountains and trees, and the lakes were quite pretty with the mountains in the backdrop. Toward the end, there’s a fallen tree across the trail and you have to do some guesswork to figure out how to get around and back on the trail. While the views from there are spectacular, Summit Lake itself is a wonderful example of the alpine environment. Chicago's Top 5 Backpacking Trips. Description: The Chicago Lakes Trail is a great hiking opportunity and location in the Mount Evans Wilderness Area. The Chalet has lodging, a store, a marina, a deli, and post office. Highest Elevation: 11,740 ( Lower lake at 11,420ft. Evans Wilderness Area and ascends to a pair of high alpine lakes below Mt Evans (14,265′), Mt Spalding (13,842′), and Mount Warren (13,307′). So, got here at 9am (Monday) and was the 4th car thank goodness! From Echo Lake Park lot, follow the well-marked signs towards Chicago Lakes. The area sees heavy use in the summer due to the its close proximity to Mount Evans and numerous picnic areas. Chicago Lakes Trail (#52) Leaving from Echo Lake, the trail goes downhill for the first mile. Minimal smoke on the far horizon. The backroads have private property signs, so stay on the designated route and follow signs to Chicago Lakes. They also noted that the relatively narrow, low-lying, frequently swamped Lakefront Trail, juxtaposed with eight-lane Lake Shore Drive several feet above it, is a metaphor for our national transportation priorities. Definitely required micro spikes. Consult guidebooks and maps and carefully plan your route before you arrive. The first of the two Chicago lakes is right at treeline. Darting back into the trees, the first Chicago Lake sits at treeline. You’ll essentially skirt the southern boundary of Echo Lake. The paved Lakefront Trail skirts the Lake Michigan shoreline, leading visitors on a walking tour of downtown Chicago. Good hike on hazy day. Head lamps were a must for much of the hike to the first lake. We started Friday (oct 16) around noon and planned to camp but bailed around 10 pm due to the crazy wind! This sometimes steep and rocky trail starts at Echo Lake Park south of I-70 in the Mt. Parked around 1 on a Saturday, very crowded but road and parking lot have a high capacity, might be a short walk from the car to the start. Evans Road (SH 5) in the campground. The Chicago Lakes Trailhead and Trail: Park at the Echo Lake lot, where you’ll find the sign for Chicago Lakes Trail 52 on the west side of the lake. Fed by retreating glaciers, it drained south through the Chicago Outlet River. You’ll essentially skirt the southern boundary of Echo Lake. I started around 7:15 and didn’t run into many people on the way up. The hike is steep (very steep) and a mix of rocky areas and loose scree, but it is fun, short, and spectacular. The best campsites are (lamentably) on the far end of the basin, just as you start to flirt with treeline. The scenery is mountains and trees, and the lakes were quite pretty with the mountains in the backdrop. A large parking lot is available on the hillside above the Echo Chalet. The downside of the Chicago Lakes hike is that in includes a mile of monotonous road walking followed by another mile through the scorched remains of an old forest fire. Just be aware when you reach this point so you don’t make the same mistake we made!
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