Panoramic view of Chicago Lakes hike near Denver, Colorado
Panoramic view of Chicago Lakes hike near Denver, Colorado

Chicago Lakes Hike

Denver
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Chicago Lakes Hike

Distance: 10.6mi
Elevation: 2,777ft
Time: 5.5-7.5h

Difficulty Rating:

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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!

Chicago Lakes Hike hike Map

Getting there

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.

I’ve done this 46 people have done this
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About

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


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 (14265ft). 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

  • 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!

Comments

CandyJ 2 years ago

It is a great way to immerse yourself in the wilderness.

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Stevie M 2 years ago

This was a tough trail that is steep for most of the way there. It was challenging and I was wiped out afterward but the views are amazing!

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Tiffany Swift 2 years ago

Start early and you'll have most of the trail to yourself on the way up. Save some energy on the way back. The scenery at the top are amazing

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Jane Lewitt 2 years ago

Lovely views, worth every step!

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6h 30m Time Taken
Sammy L. 2 years ago

One of my favorite hikes near Denver! the last part of the trail to get to the Upper Chicago Lake was very rocky

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Earl M. 3 years ago

Good weather. The trail was in perfect condition. Had some nice stroll.

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Kelsi Honet 3 years ago

Cool trail. We had a fantastic time traversing along the beautiful valley. It's not that easy, but it's well worth trying.

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Jay Adams 3 years ago

Decent moderate hike with few rugged trails. The thriving forest looks so beautiful.

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Jethro P. 3 years ago

Trails were neat and not complicated. Chicago lakes look stunning.

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Lux L. 3 years ago

After the hike we also visited the Echo Lake Park. It was a nice place.

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13 Comments Show all

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