Hike to Lower and Upper Chicago Lake

9.8 miles 2390 ft gain  - Out-and-Back Trail

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).

Read More

Tags

Camping
Photography
Backpacking
Hiking
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Groups
Lake
Scenic
Wildflowers

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

🥈 Contributor

almost 3 years ago

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.

Explorer

🥇Top Contributor

over 5 years ago

The trail can be extremely muddy and boggy during the spring, with the last push up to the upper lake covered in ice and snow. The trail is usually pretty doable by Independence Day

Stay Nearby

Evergreen, Colorado

Echo Lake

Overview Echo Lake Campground is located on the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests in central Colorado near its namesake lake at the base of Mount Evans along Hwy 103. Visitors enjoy hiking, fi...

Idaho Springs, Colorado

West Chicago Creek

Overview West Chicago Creek Campground sits along its namesake creek at the base of Mount Evans and is located off Highway 103 on the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests in central Colorado. It ...

Central City, Colorado

Denver West / Central City Koa

Black Hawk, Colorado

Pickle Gulch

Overview Pickle Gulch is a group picnic and camping facility located just off the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway/Highway 119. Visitors enjoy the area for its scenic and off-road driving, and nearby hiki...

Nearby Adventures

  • Hike to Idaho Springs Reservoir

    This is a great hiking area an hour outside of Denver, Colorado. It's still easily accessible in the winter and most of the time it can be hiked without snowshoes. Starting at the Echo Lake parking lot, hike around the right side of the lake until...

    3.9 miles 800 ft gain

  • Explore Echo Lake Park

    Located at the base of Mt. Evans Road, Echo Lake sits next to Squaw Pass Road, providing a great jumping-off point for numerous adventures. The park serves as a trailhead for hiking or snowshoeing into the Mount Evans Wilderness, offers picnic ar...

    1.2 miles 88 ft gain

  • Hike the Resthouse/Lincoln Lake Trail

    While the Mt. Evans Wilderness never has a shortage of visitors, thanks to its proximity to Denver, it is possible to find a more private hike if you know where to look. Lincoln Lake Trail, accessible from Echo Lake year-round, is not as glamorous...

  • Photograph Ancient Bristlecone Pines on Mt. Goliath

    On the way to the summit of Mt. Evans sits a small 160 acre preserve of some of the world's oldest living trees. The Mount Goliath Natural Area protects a rare site of Bristlecone Pines that make excellent photographic subjects.Immediately after p...

  • Inspire Your Fall Aspen Trip!

    Autumn days in Aspen are filled with sunshine and nights with crisp cool air. Watch the mountains and valleys turn gold with the changing Aspen trees. Take in the scenery while enjoying scenic drives, hiking through forests, road biking, and exploring our IMBA Gold Level Ride Center recognized mountain bike trails. 




    Learn More