Chicago Lakes Hike

Difficulty
This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
Hard
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
5.5-7.5h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
17.1 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
846 m
User Ratings
These ratings are completed by users who have completed this trail and not subject to reviews by 10Adventures.
Overall Rating
This is the average user-submitted overall rating on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest.
10.0
Physical Difficulty
This is the average user-submitted rating on the physical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Technical Difficulty
This is the average user-submitted rating on the technical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
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Directions to Trailhead
Panoramic view of Chicago Lakes hike near Denver, Colorado

The Chicago Lakes Hike, near Denver, takes you to Colorado’s high country! The trail winds though the wilderness to beautiful alpine lakes nestled in a glacier cut valley at the base of Mt Evans!

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Route Description for Chicago Lakes Hike

The hike to Chicago Lakes is a great hike near Denver, taking you to pretty mountain lakes and into the high country of Mt. Evan’s Wilderness.

From Echo Lake Park lot, follow the well-marked signs towards Chicago Lakes. The trail will diverge away from Echo Lake and will traverse along a scenic valley with mountain views off in the distance.

Follow the trail which parallels Chicago Creek towards Idaho Springs Reservoir. From here, enjoy the views of the glacier cut valley at the base of Mt Evans (4,348 m). Continue along the beautiful trail, heading further and further back into the valley.

Eventually making your way to the base of Chicago Lakes, with Rogers Peak to your left and Mt Warren directly in front of you.

Hike around Lower Chicago Lake and follow Chicago Creek up to the Upper Chicago Lake. From this high alpine lake, you will be surrounded by a spectacular mountain cirque.

Many hikers continue to hike around Upper Chicago Lake.

To return from Chicago Lakes, hike back the way you came.

Check out some other great hikes around Denver:

Insider Hints for Chicago Lakes Hike

  • The Chicago Lakes hike can be busy in summer, so start early.
  • Echo Lake Park is a great destination for day use activities.
  • Echo Lake Lodge and General Store are a great place to stop for lunch!

Getting to the Chicago Lakes Hike Trailhead

From Denver, take I-70 west towards the mountains. Take Exit 240 in Idaho Springs towards Mt Evans via Mt Evans Rd. Trailhead parking is at Echo Lake Park.

Route Information

  • When to do

    April to November

  • Backcountry Campsites

    Camping is allowed at Echo Lake Campground

  • Toilets

    Yes, primitive pit toilet

  • Pets allowed

    Yes - On Leash

  • Route Signage

    Good

  • Crowd Levels

    Low

  • Route Type

    Out and back

  • Family friendly

    No

Chicago Lakes Hike Elevation Graph

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Chicago Lakes Hike Reviews

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