Hike the Resthouse/Lincoln Lake Trail

Colorado Echo Lake Trailhead

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Quiet, less-traveled trail in Mount Evans Wilderness. Up to 10.6 miles round-trip. Easy to Moderate difficulty. 2,140’ total elevation gain. Accessible year-round. Alpine lake at tree line. Recovering burn area is full of wildflower meadows. Meadows attract wildlife such as mountain goats, bighorn sheep, and more.

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 as its sister trail, Chicago Lakes, but is a wonderfully private and scenic trail favored by backpackers, horseback riders, snowshoers, and skiers.

Depending on how far you want to go, you can hike the 5.3 miles from Echo Lake to Lincoln Lake, or you can shorten the trip, as I did, to Vance Creek, which is 2 miles from the trailhead. This first portion of the hike is through a healthy forest, with occasional views of Mt. Evans from outcroppings or openings in the trees.

Past Vance Creek, you will come upon a large burn area from the 1960s. The standing dead wood lends an ethereal feel to the landscape. Because it has been several decades, the new growth is now coming in nicely; also, the burn resulted in large meadows rife with wildflowers in the summer. These meadows are prime feeding ground for wildlife such as mountain goats and bighorn sheep, while moose and elk prefer the willowy areas along the creek bed.

Lincoln Lake is visible from the Mount Evans Scenic Byway, 800’ above. If you get as far as the lake, you will enjoy beautiful lake views at tree line, with Mt. Evans towering above. Keep an eye out for wildlife, as well. One of my favorite things about hiking the Mount Evans Wilderness is getting there: the drive from Evergreen to Echo Lake along Hwy. 103 is breathtakingly beautiful. You will enjoy stunning vistas before you ever leave the car.

Pack List

In winter, snowshoe or ski gear

  • Sturdy hiking boots or trail shoes
  • Weather appropriate, layered clothing
  • Day pack with plenty of food and water (Vance Creek and Lincoln Lake are the only sources of water)
  • Dry pair of socks
  • Sunscreen, hat, sunglasses
  • Camera
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Activities:

Survival, Camping, Fishing, Photography, Running, Skiing, Snowshoeing, Backpacking, Hiking, Fitness

Skill Level:

Beginner

Season:

Year Round

Rating:

Features:

Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Food Nearby
Forest
Groups
Lake
River
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

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How to Get There

over 1 year ago

I ran this at night during a meteor shower and it was fun. Fairly smooth trail with some great night sky views in the burn area.

over 1 year ago

Added by Amy Kesic

A mom who decided to get fit a few years ago, I took up running and hiking to keep myself moving. Since moving to the Front Range foothills a year ago, I've spent my free time discovering all the trails I possibly can. I'm in love with Colorado and the Rocky Mountains; I also like to take pictures, and I share my adventures here on The Outbound and on Instagram at @run2themountains.

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