Hike to Lower and Upper Chicago Lake

Chicago Lake Trailhead - Search Nearby - Added by Ryan Mckinney

Amazing views of Mount Evans Wilderness. You'll see moose, mountain goats, elk, and big horn sheep.

From the parking lot, stay to the right of Echo Lake and you will run into the Chicago Lakes Trailhead. Follow the switchbacks down and across Chicago Creek. 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. Continue past the reservoir and past the cabins to reach the Mount Evans Wilderness Area Boundary, and shortly after you will pass through the reservoir fire area that burned more than 400 acres in 1978.

You'll reach Lower Chicago Lake in just 3.95 miles. To get to the Upper Chicago Lake, head back to the Chicago Lakes Trail and continue another mile. This is a popular breeding area for big horn sheep and mountain goats in the late spring and early summer, so keep an eye out for them on the valley walls.

The weather in the Mount Evans Wilderness can change rapidly; be prepared for high winds, snow, rain, hail, and intense sunlight. Make sure you get an early start to avoid storms (and the crowds).

Distance

9.8 Miles RT

Elevation Gain

2390 ft Gain

Type

Out-and-Back

Activities

Camping, Photography, Backpacking, Hiking

Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Groups
Lake
Scenic
Wildflowers

Nearby Lodging

Denver West / Central City KOA

Central City, Colorado

From $40/night

Boulder A-Lodge Camping

Boulder, Colorado

From $149/night

Boulder A-Lodge Cabin

Boulder, Colorado

From $39/night

Boulder A-Lodge Hostel

Boulder, Colorado

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

The Climb Is SO Worth It.

10/10 would recommend this hike to anyone. Thought I was going to die but the view is so worth it. Went in December and the Lakes were totally frozen over which was magical. Definitely need yak tracks or spikes if you do it in winter as the trail is fairly icy!

Great Day Hike

This is a great day hike! Relatively close to Denver. Not too difficult, not too easy. Get a good, early start to avoid any potential bad weather. Make sure to bring water & a little snack. Really fun, great views at the top!

Great hike with lots of beautiful places to camp near both Lower and Upper Chicago Lakes. Upper Chicago Lake is above treeline, and can get very windy. There is tree cover just below Upper Chicago Lake with good views over Lower Chicago Lake. Great as a day hike, or relaxed overnight trip.

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