Trail Uses: hiker in all places and then horses in some….NO BIKES Evans Road (SH 5) in the campground. 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. Here Chicago Creek is dammed to form the Idaho Springs Reservoir. Be careful to stay on the correct trail when you reach the wooded area between lower and upper Chicago lake. This will be the easy part of the hike for the trail then climbs upward the remaining three miles. The scenery is mountains and trees, and the lakes were quite pretty with the mountains in the backdrop. Trailhead Lat/Long: 39.665430 N; 105.631540 W Managing Agency" U.S. Forest Service Fee: None S. Chicago Creek Trail Map (Google Maps) Directions: From Idaho Springs, take Chicago Creek Road south towards Mt. 12:45. With the paths in the snow we easily went the wrong way (embarrassing to admit as I’ve done this hike a handful of times before), up a rocky area and ended up in what seemed to be a mountain lion den (tracks and fresh kill). Find a multiday wilderness trip within an easy drive of the windy city. Chicago Basin can be reached by trails from several directions. In the beginning, the trail descends about 300 feet (meaning you have to ascend that coming back...not ideal). Looking for hiking trails near Chicago? The scenery is mountains and trees, and the lakes were quite pretty with the mountains in the backdrop. The FS has you park on the east side of the Mt. Description: The Chicago Lakes Trail is a great hiking opportunity and location in the Mount Evans Wilderness Area. Yes, you read that right: There are indeed backpacking trails within striking distance of Chicago. Beautiful hike! Chicago Lakes Trail May 2016 pt1 - Duration: 12:45. Origin. Gorgeous views and good mix of different types of terrain! 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. 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. BigDirty 901 views. Leaves are blown out so that’s kind of a bummer. Great views both direction, one of the close mountains then a bunch of peaks on the way back. 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. Post-holed a bit on the push to the upper lake, but was worth it. Author: Erica Zazo Updated: Jun 25, 2020 Original: Apr 20, 2018. You’ll essentially skirt the southern boundary of Echo Lake. Intended a quick hike to the reservoir but was in a groove and didn't realize it was a turn around point. On your way, you’ll go through a 400-acre burn area that caught fire in 1978. The Chicago Lakes Trail is a delight from start to finish. Download the free Georgetown topo map. The Great Lakes, on Chicago's doorstep boasts beautiful beaches, tranquil state parks like Sleeping Bear Dunes in Wisconsin and charmingly quaint towns such as Mackinac Island in Michigan. Lower Chicago Lake is 3.5 miles from the trailhead at Echo Lake; the entire round-trip is 9.8 miles. The upper lake is a great place to rest and have lunch. 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. 14mi total. It’s worth mentioning that you hike along a paved road with several foreboding “private property” signs for a mile and a half which is kind of odd. I took it easy for the first 5 miles, and reached the upper Chicago lake after 2 hours. 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. You’ll essentially skirt the southern boundary of Echo Lake. For the next hour and a half, the four of us trekked up switchbacks that rarely leveled out. The trail starts off steep, dropping into a valley before running flat, then climbing steeply up again. 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. They are open Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. The upper lake is a great place to rest and have lunch. This sometimes steep and rocky trail starts at Echo Lake Park south of I-70 in the Mt. 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. Gorgeous views and few hikers on a Saturday, compared to the number of people I’ve seen on this trail in the summer. 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. The overlook platform is half a mile round trip along a wheelchair friendly path. Head lamps were a must for much of the hike to the first lake. The plan was to be at the Lower Chicago Lake by sunrise; a 4 mile hike one way. Few individuals wore masks, but most kept a respectable distance while passing. You pass through an old burn area where 400 acres burned in the 1978 Reservoir Fire. Trailhead starts at Echo Lake. Chicago Lakes Trail makes for a fantastic but long day hike or perfect 2-3 day backpacking trip. There was only one other vehicle in the parking lot. 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. 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. From the trailhead, pick up one of the numerous social trails heading southwest. Both lakes offer excellent views of surrounding peaks. Make a right (west) onto Hefferman Gulch Rd, a good dirt road. From I-70, head west towards Idaho Springs. 12-05-2020: This is one of my favorite hikes in the area and this was my first time hiking it in winter. So awesome. Trailhead GPS Coordinates › N 39° 39' 33.23", W 105° 36' 22.76" USGS Quadrangle › Idaho Springs. The trail will diverge away from Echo Lake and will traverse along a scenic valley with mountain views off in the distance. Trail has both smooth and rocky terrain. This will be the easy part of the hike for the trail then climbs upward the remaining three miles. I ended up scrambling up the ridge to Mt Warren, avoid the horny goats along the way. Extremely foggy in the morning but it cleared up early afternoon. Turn right down the first dirt road on your right and continue.25 miles to the parking area. Chicago’s scenic Lakefront Trail is an 18-mile paved path that follows the Lake Michigan shoreline on the city’s eastern edge. There are several social trails in the area, simply choose the one that heads southwest. The trail begins at Echo Lake Park, quickly descending for the first mile, then back up to the lakes for the next 3. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Chicago Lakes is a 5 km black diamond singletrack alpine trail located near Clear Creek County Colorado. Follow the switchbacks down and across Chicago Creek. You can also head to the summit of Mount Evans from Chicago Lakes. Tags : Arapaho National Forest, Chicago Lakes, Chicago Lakes Trail, Colorado, Mount Evans, Mount Evans Scenic Byway. Don’t forget... what comes down must go up! The trailhead is located at 10,600′; the final destination is at 11,800′. 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. Didn't get to the top lake due to running out of daylight. The weather didn’t seem to be particularly cold, but it was snowing a little when we set off. Mount Evans Resthouse Trail to Lincoln Lake, Idaho Springs Reservoir via Chicago Lakes Trail [CLOSED], Cascade Creek to Saxton Lookout OHV Trail, Summit Lake to Upper Chicago Lake via Chicago Lakes Trail, Warren Gulch Trail [CLOSED / PRIVATE PROPERTY], Mount Spaulding and Mount Evans via Summit Lake - Standard Route, Gray Wolf Mountain via South Chicago Creek. On the trail to the Chicago Lakes in Colorado. 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. 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. Chicago's Top 5 Backpacking Trips. I appreciated a quiet hike on a weekend. The Chicago Lakes are extraordinarily scenic. Leaving Echo Lake, Chicago Lakes Trail travels downhill for the first mile, here Chicago Creek is dammed to form the Idaho Springs Reservoir. The hike is steep (very steep) and a mix of rocky areas and loose scree, but it is fun, short, and spectacular. Turn right and begin following the Chicago Lakes Trail #52. Alpine lakes and stunning vista are not always locked away in the back country. The Chicago Lakes are extraordinarily scenic. The trailhead is located at 10,600′; the final destination is at 11,800′. The AllTrails map actually leads to Summit Lake which I didn’t attempt, but the recording came to 11.3 miles / 2260 elevation gain. It wasn’t too crowded towards the last couple of lakes. Traveled: Traveled: Chicago Lakes Trail (6,234′) “Hushed now is the life that so late was beating warmly. You then must walk west, across the Mt. Restrooms are available nearby. The first mile of the trail switchbacks down to a creek crossing. The views of the surrounding peaks – Mount Evans, Mount Warren, and Mount Spalding – from the trail are outstanding. 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. Receiving around 100,000 visitors per year, the basin is one of the most popular destinations in the Weminuche Wilderness. From I-70, exit #240 and head south on HWY 103 (toward Mt Evans) for 13 miles to Echo Lake. 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