Chicago Lakes Trail (#52)


Directional sign of Chicago Lakes Trail No. 52. Tundra yellow and white flowers are along trail.

Leaving from Echo Lake, the trail goes downhill for the first mile. Here Chicago Creek is dammed to form the Idaho Springs Reservoir. This will be the easy part of the hike for the trail then climbs upward the remaining three miles. You will pass through an old burn area where in 1978, 400 acres burned in the Reservoir Fire. Abundant wildflowers stand out against the burned trees. Darting back into the trees, the first Chicago Lake sits at treeline. The trail to the second lake, above treeline, is difficult to follow at times and is very steep. Both lakes offer excellent views of surrounding peaks. For a longer hike you can continue hiking south to Summit Lake and on up to the summit of Mount Evans. See Mt Evans Trail - West Ridge via Mt. Spalding for more information. Click here for more information about dispersed camping near Idaho Springs and Georgetown.  

At a Glance

Permit Info: * A mandatory free self-issuing permit is required for the Mount Evans Wilderness. * Free permits are available at each trailhead or entry point into the wilderness.
Usage: Light
Restrictions: Mount Evans Wilderness * Dogs must be on a hand held leash * No motorized or mechanized equipment * Camps, campfires and stock, where allowed, at least 100 feet from water and trails * Group size limited to 15 people and/or 10 pack/stock animals per party * Certified weed-free hay is required for stock
Closest Towns: Idaho Springs, CO
Water: Lakes and streams; treat water for drinking.
Restroom: Vault Toilet at Resthouse Meadows TH
Operated By: U.S. Forest Service

General Information

Directions: I-70 westbound, Idaho Springs exit #240 - Hwy 103. Go south for approx. 12 mile to the junction of Hwy 103 and 5, the trail starts behind the Echo Lake Lodge. * There are several social trails in the area, simply choose the one that heads southwest. * This trail can also be easily accessed by the Denver Mountain Parks picnic area and scenic path around Echo Lake.


Camping & Cabins

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Winter Sports

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Areas & Activities


  Area/Length : 
3.5 miles to Chicago Lakes (one way) 7 miles to Mount Evans (one way)

  Elevation : 
Trailhead: 10,600' - Destination: Chicago Lakes 11,800' Mount Evans 14,264'