Location: Idaho Springs, CO
Distance from Denver: 45miles (~1hr) ♡ ♡ ♡
Hike: ~9miles ♡
Difficulty: Moderate ♡ ♡
Parking Situation: Large lot, but fills up quickly & you have to street park ♡
Parking Fee: N/A
This trail is L O N G. Chicago Lakes was on our list of hikes last year, but with all of the life changes (hello wedding!) we had to plan for, we did not have a chance to make it here.
However, there was a burro race in Idaho Springs that we decided to check out and wanted to stretch our legs in the mountains after - and Chicago Lakes was at the top of our list! The hike itself isn't very difficult, but the length of it makes it a trek. Be mentally prepared for a 3 hour journey to the lake, and you will be fine. The first 1.5miles are downhill and is pretty crowded so you will be yielding to hikers (just be prepared!). It then opens up to a stretch of land (private property) that is about a mile uphill to reach the Idaho Springs Reservoir.
The reservoir itself is gorgeous & most of the hikers we saw called it quits here. The reservoir is catch and release fishing and quite a few people took advantage of the stunning landscape. We continued past the reservoir, the private cabins, and into the heart of the Mount Evans wilderness area. Keep going friends, you are only halfway there! This is where the trail started to get muddy in many areas, most likely due to the early season runoff. The views here are STUNNING & can be a gorgeous campsite should you choose! We stopped at the lower Chicago Lakes given the "hike" (think straight up incline) to the upper Chicago Lakes was iced over.
We ran into quite a few puppers on the trail & loved the challenge of this hike so early in the season ♡
A few things to keep in mind: when we went over Memorial Day, the weather was SO iffy - it was hot during stretches of the hike but then cold and blistery during others. As you saw, we both wore our windbreakers (a must to bring) & I wore ear warmers.
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