Chicago Lakes Trail (#52)


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

Length: 6 miles ONE-WAY

Elevation: 10,331 feet - 12,868 feet

Trail Description: Begin at the Echo Lake Trailhead. Leaving from Echo Lake, the trail goes downhill for the first mile. The trail then climbs upward and passes through an old burn area from the Reservoir Fire of 1978. 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, which is above treeline, is difficult to follow at times and is very steep. Both lakes offer excellent views of surrounding peaks.

View a Colorado Trail Explorer (COTREX) Map of Chicago Lakes Trail.

At a Glance

Current Conditions: Mount Evans Highway won’t open to motorized vehicles for the 2020 season due to impacts from COVID-19. Read the news release.
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: Medium
Best Season: Hiking conditions are best from July through September.
Restrictions: Wilderness regulations apply in the 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.
Unless seasonal restrictions are in effect, campfires must be attended at all times and cold to the touch with the bare hand before being abandoned. Collection of dead and down wood is allowed; do not break branches from standing trees for firewood.   
Closest Towns: Idaho Springs, CO
Water: Lakes and streams; treat water for drinking.
Restroom: Practice Leave No Trace principles.
Operated By: U.S. Forest Service
Information Center: Clear Creek Ranger District Visitor Services and Idaho Springs Visitor Center; 303-567-4382; Contact Us

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.



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