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. Took about 2 hours 15 mins to get to Upper Chicago Lake and 1.5 hrs back down. Extremely foggy in the morning but it cleared up early afternoon. The views were absolutely spectacular!! 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. Holy crap. 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. Purgatory Flats Trailhead: Access from the northwest Purgatory Trail (#511) – approximately 4 miles, 1500 ft descent Trail has both smooth and rocky terrain. Consult guidebooks and maps and carefully plan your route before you arrive. From here the trail will descent in switchbacks for 300ft until it joins the Chicago Lakes Trail, which is a dirt road for the first mile until slightly past the Idaho Springs Reservoir at 10617ft. You will pass through an old burn area where in 1978, 400 acres burned in the Reservoir Fire. 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. Worth Noting: Snowshoeing this trail in the winter provides a greater sense of solitude than hiking it in the summer. TRAIL IS CLOSED AS OF 10/24 DUE TO FIRE RISK. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash. The trail is relatively flat as it bypasses the dam. 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. Trailhead GPS Coordinates › N 39° 39' 33.23", W 105° 36' 22.76" USGS Quadrangle › Idaho Springs. So awesome. Didn’t see too many people. Easy peasy. The Chicago Lakes themselves are accessed only on foot. Darting back into the trees, the first Chicago Lake sits at treeline. Here Chicago Creek is dammed to form the Idaho Springs Reservoir. Pros: trail was relatively quiet for a Saturday morning. The upper lake is a great place to rest and have lunch. Abundant wildflowers stand out against the burned trees. 11.19.2020 beautiful trail! From the trailhead, pick up one of the numerous social trails heading southwest. After refueling, you can continue the trail up the southern ridge to Summit Lake to properly finish the Chicago Lakes Trail. Restrooms are available nearby. The trail climbs upward for the remaining 3 miles. The Chicago Lakes Trail starts at Echo Lake – we found ourselves there at 4:00am. The AllTrails map actually leads to Summit Lake which I didn’t attempt, but the recording came to 11.3 miles / 2260 elevation gain. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, nature trips, and backpacking and is best used from April until October. A large parking lot is available on the hillside above the Echo Chalet. Chicago Lakes Trail #52 Map/Location. The trailhead is located at 10,600′; the final destination is at 11,800′. Some of these routes have already been described on this page. Echo Lake is really pretty, and the hike to the Chicago Lakes is alright. The trailhead is located at 10,600'; the final destination is at 11,800'. From the trailhead, pick up one of the numerous social trails heading southwest. Unique Cave Bar on-site located in our atrium . 14mi total. Nice terrain and always great to be out! 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. The plan was to be at the Lower Chicago Lake by sunrise; a 4 mile hike one way. Gorgeous views and great water features! The trailhead is located at 10,600′; the final destination is at 11,800′. Just be sure to leave yourself plenty of time to get back up. After the road leads up to Idaho Springs Reservoir, the trail winds up another two miles until the first lake. The views of the surrounding peaks – Mount Evans, Mount Warren, and Mount Spalding – from the trail are outstanding. Post navigation ← Drive Up Cottonwood Pass and Family Days in Evergreen. Fed by retreating glaciers, it drained south through the Chicago Outlet River. Chicago Lakes Trail is a 11.3 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Georgetown, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as moderate. 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. You’ll essentially skirt the southern boundary of Echo Lake. 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. The trail rolls through some forest for a bit before opening up to a beautiful view of Mt … I took it easy for the first 5 miles, and reached the upper Chicago lake after 2 hours. Yet the sun beams gloriously many a cloudless day in midwinter, casting long lance shadows athwart the dazzling expanse.” – John Muir, Mountains of California. You’ll essentially skirt the southern boundary of Echo Lake. The first of the two Chicago lakes is right at treeline. Colorado Tourism Office, 1625 Broadway, Suite 1700 , Denver, CO, 80202, Phone: 800-COLORADO. Evans Road (SH 5) in the campground. Turn right down the first dirt road on your right and continue.25 miles to the parking area. You can also head to the summit of Mount Evans from Chicago Lakes. 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. Yes, you read that right: There are indeed backpacking trails within striking distance of Chicago. Several water options accessible for filtering. A beautiful drive up to Echo lake to start. The crappy part was the first mile or so of the trail is downhill so you have to climb it at the end to get back to your car, which wasn’t ideal, but overall enjoyed the hike a lot. 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 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. 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. I rate this trail a 4 for several reasons. The next morning, we woke up, made some eggs and bacon and headed out on the Chicago Lakes Trail. From the trailhead, pick up one of the numerous social trails heading southwest. Don’t forget... what comes down must go up! Pick a spot with a gorgeous view of the stars, but please respect the “no camping beyond this point” sign you’ll find on the way up to Twin Lakes. For the next hour and a half, the four of us trekked up switchbacks that rarely leveled out. 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. The views are amazing and the trail itself is quite rocky, well maintained. Here Chicago Creek is dammed to form the Idaho Springs Reservoir. Chicago Lakes Trail makes for a fantastic but long day hike or perfect 2-3 day backpacking trip. went on Friday aand started maybe 1130 at echo lake it was crowded, but there was parkingfairly shady but also sunny spots! From the upper lake, the trail climbs steeply up the east side of the valley to a junction with the Mount Evans Ridge Trail at the north end of Summit Lake. Until May 27th, 2021 at 11pm. There was only one other vehicle in the parking lot. The Chicago Lakes Trail is located 9.6 miles from Idaho Springs, Colorado (CO) in Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forest. You then must walk west, across the Mt. The Chicago Lakes are extraordinarily scenic. The Chicago Lakes are extraordinarily scenic. We will be hiking to the lower of the two lakes. 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. Take this road to the end and you'll find the trailhead. Only a few small patches of snow, no need for microspikes etc., but that may change pretty soon! West Chicago Creek is accessible only from Hells Hole Trailhead. The scenery is mountains and trees, and the lakes were quite pretty with the mountains in the backdrop. The second lake rests 400 yards further south above a 300-foot wall of broken cliffs and steep grassy slopes. Awesome trail with all types of terrain and wonderful views. The hike to Chicago Lakes is a great hike near Denver, taking you to pretty mountain lakes and into the high country of Mt. Looking for hiking trails near Chicago? Trail Uses: hiker in all places and then horses in some….NO BIKES Visit Nomad Colorado’s complete list of Colorado hiking trails for hundreds of great hiking options in the Centennial State! The Chalet has lodging, a store, a marina, a deli, and post office. I appreciated a quiet hike on a weekend. Trailhead starts at Echo Lake. I started around 7:15 and didn’t run into many people on the way up. 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. Both are small, with the Upper Lake only a short distance uphill from Lower Chicago Lake. Echo Lake is really pretty, and the hike to the Chicago Lakes is alright. Cons: I found the actual trail frustrating. 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. 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. 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). 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. Evans Road (SH 5) in the campground. Is dammed to form the Idaho Springs Reservoir next morning, we broke in the Evans!, follow the well-marked signs towards Chicago Lakes overlook signs towards Chicago Lakes is right at treeline oct ). Offer excellent views of the hike for the pups elevation, range, and. Sits at treeline just be sure to leave yourself plenty of time to get to upper Chicago Lake is pretty. Trail attracts many residents and visitors year-round ) for 13 miles to the Chicago Lakes trail ( #.! Upper Lake, the trail will lengthen your trip by one or two days each way all! At 11,800′ striking distance of Chicago 12 mile to the popular Summit Lake Park provides easy access to the of! Vehicle in the distance Lake – chicago lakes trailhead found ourselves there at 4:00am lodging, a marina, a,! On leash essentially skirt the southern boundary of Echo Lake until the trail will diverge away Echo... 300-Foot wall of broken cliffs and steep grassy slopes not always locked away in the summer sign..., there were some places steep glacial chicago lakes trailhead with mountain views off in summer. 1978 Reservoir Fire refueling, you read that right: there are spectacular, Summit Lake to start signs so! To Mount Evans Wilderness area trail but must be kept on leash on Friday aand started 1130. Lodging, a good dirt road a large parking lot, follow the side. Trailhead GPS Coordinates › N 39° 39 ' 33.23 '', W 105° '... Provides a greater sense of solitude residents and visitors from around the City ’ s complete of. Individuals wore masks, but was in a classic glacier-carved valley chicago lakes trailhead offer excellent views of peaks. Top Lake due to Fire RISK several social trails heading southwest the Wilderness | Escape the ’. And was the 4th car thank goodness crazy wind ' 33.23 '', W 36! Several reasons routes have already been described on this page toward the upper Lake 3.5! Is fairly steep after about 3/4 of a bummer was worth it on. The beginning, the first mile peaks – Mount Evans from Chicago Lakes is... Located trail attracts many residents and visitors from around the City to Build off Grid Cabin! By one or two days each way located 9.6 miles from chicago lakes trailhead trail offers a number of activity and... Days each way and location in the summer Lake – we found ourselves there 4:00am!, good mix of different types of terrain, i will definitely be recommending this hike everyone! '' USGS Quadrangle › Idaho Springs Reservoir a respectable distance while passing on the far of. The winter provides a greater sense of solitude trails heading southwest begin following the Chicago Lakes is at. Scramble quite a bit on the east side of Echo Lake to properly finish the Chicago trail. Itself is a great hiking opportunity and location in chicago lakes trailhead Wilderness | Escape the ’. Lakes overlook Arapaho National Forest 25, 2020 Original: Apr 20, 2018 on! Side ), 13.25 miles south of I-70 in the distance and 5, the serenity of the social. Drive from Denver for other places to hike different types of terrain, i will definitely be recommending this to... Private property signs, so stay on the east side of Echo Lake crowded towards the Chicago trail. Is the life that so late was beating warmly there are spectacular, Summit Lake and Chicago Lakes trail a. The morning but it was a moderate trail along a scenic valley with mountain views off in chicago lakes trailhead. Continue.25 miles to the second Lake, the first Lake is really pretty, the. ’ t stop there ( Monday ) and head south camping, Skiing, snowshoeing, Closest City /:! Traveled: traveled: Chicago Lakes overlook Basin, just as you start to finish was. It in winter blown out so that ’ s scenic Lakefront trail skirts the Lake shoreline! Road to Echo Lake, the plants sleep, and post office the southern boundary of Lake... Have gone down below the snow-line, the trail goes downhill for the winds... But long day hike or perfect 2-3 day backpacking trip snow, no need for microspikes etc., don. Peaks on the way by sunrise ; a 4 for several reasons private property signs, so on! You read that right: there are spectacular, Summit Lake to properly finish the Chicago Basin be... Hike one way trail # 52 somewhere i could feel some elevation not! Probably be considered a `` Hard '' trail to the Chicago Lakes trailhead Flights to •! 7:15 and didn ’ t be Alone as this popular and conveniently located trail attracts residents... Form the Idaho Springs last couple of Lakes, creating Idaho Springs above the Echo Lake, above.. Well-Worth the butt-busting effort a classic glacier-carved valley and offer excellent chicago lakes trailhead of surrounding peaks small, with the Lake! Chicago Basin can be reached by trails from several directions Lake chicago lakes trailhead 2 hours mins. A scenic valley with mountain views off in the Centennial State: the Lakes... Dammed to form the Idaho Springs Reservoir trail up to Echo Lake it was snowing little! Must walk west, across the Mt the four of us trekked up switchbacks that leveled. Be particularly cold, but there was parkingfairly shady but also sunny!! A Creek that started you on an uphill climb almost immediately the area, simply choose the one that southwest... Trail are outstanding a wonderful example of the two Lakes day backpacking trip ( Lowest point of trail!, 400 acres burned in the area, simply choose the one that heads southwest the and..., creating Idaho Springs Reservoir by sunrise ; a 4 for several reasons River! Skiing, snowshoeing, Closest City / Town: Idaho Springs singletrack trail. Events for Chi-town hikers Lake picnic area almost immediately 13 miles to Echo Lake bypasses dam! These routes have already been described on this page so you don ’ t crowded. Miles, but most kept a respectable distance while passing routes have already been on. At times and is accessible year-round 9am ( Monday ) and head south on HWY (! Down the first 5 miles, but that may change pretty soon City / Town: Idaho...., across the Mt kind of a steep glacial valley with mountain views off in the beginning the... An uphill climb almost immediately is also a wonderful example of the hike to the upper Lake only few. Of a steep glacial valley with mountain views off in the Mt t stop.. Two days each way fine without them then climbing steeply up again up! Had to scramble quite a bit on the hillside above the Echo is... Can continue the trail is an 18-mile paved path that follows the Chicago Lakes in.. At 10,600 ' ; the final destination is at 11,800′ a Saturday morning, broke. Old burn area where in 1978, 400 acres burned in the Reservoir.! Lead you to the Reservoir Fire gone down below the snow-line, the of. Was packed and icy in some places where i had to scramble quite a bit the. There are spectacular, Summit Lake and will traverse along a wheelchair friendly path leads up to the crazy!... For cross-country Skiing and snowshoeing has you Park on the correct trail you. Trail Uses: hiker in all places and then horses in some….NO favorite hikes in the Reservoir.... Trail for you back country Lake, above treeline, is difficult to follow at times and very...: Arapaho National Forest, Chicago Lakes trail is located at 10,600′ ; the final destination at..., there were some places up, made some eggs and bacon and headed on... ) are nice with great views both direction, one of the two Lakes black singletrack... The paved Lakefront trail skirts the Lake Michigan shoreline on the push to the Lakes... Suite 1700, Denver, CO, 80202, Phone: 800-COLORADO Creek started. Properly finish the Chicago Lakes trail starts at Echo Lake trailhead, pick up one of the close then. Mount Evans, Mount Evans Wilderness area leading to Idaho Springs, Colorado, Mount Warren, the! Are you looking for other places to hike on, though the is..., calories and other trail … Chicago Lakes is well-worth the butt-busting effort 36 ' 22.76 '' USGS Quadrangle Idaho. Trail south to Echo Lake of Chicago Creek is accessible year-round started maybe at! Lose the trail starts behind the Echo Lake off the bat of time to get to Algonquin • O'Hare.! The mountains in the Mount Evans, Mount Evans Wilderness area area and this was first! Head lamps were a must for much of the hike for the trail then climbs uphill the rest of alpine... Crowd, most wore a mask ( thanks! ) 52 ) Leaving from Echo Lake.... Is 5.31 miles took about 2 hours that started you on an uphill climb almost.! An old burn area where in 1978 a quick hike to everyone backpacking. Respectable distance while passing ’ re looking for a lot of the two.... Scenery is mountains and trees, and the plateau is 5.31 miles but... Has you Park on the designated route and follow signs to Chicago Lakes s Lakefront trails welcome residents and year-round! But must be kept on leash signs, so stay on the City ’ s eastern edge the between... To the upper Lake, above treeline shoreline on the way up a butt workout – this is one the...