Hike to Lower and Upper Chicago Lake

Colorado Chicago Lake Trailhead

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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).

Pack List

  • Hiking gear (backpack, first aid, compass, and map)
  • Boots
  • Water (or a water filter)
  • Camera
  • Tripod
  • 10 Stop Filter (for long exposures during the day)
  • Shell jacket
  • Sunscreen
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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Activities:

Backpacking, Camping, Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:

Intermediate

Season:

Year Round

Trail Type:

Out-and-Back

Distance:

9.8 Miles

Elev. Gain:

2390 Feet

Rating:

Features:

Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Groups
Lake
Scenic
Wildflowers

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How to Get There

almost 2 years ago

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.

almost 2 years ago

over 2 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

over 2 years ago

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