The Chicago Lakes Trail resides in the Mount Evans Wilderness of Colorado. The Chicago Lakes are 2 alpine bodies of water, the Upper and Lower Chicago Lakes. A third body of water, the Idaho Springs reservoir, can be seen close by this trail as well. Along with creeks and streams, there are plenty of natural water sources for you and your pooch, though it's wise to treat the water for yourself. It's best to bring your own water for drinking.
This is a peaceful hike, not too busy, with furtastic views of the lakes, Mount Evans, and surrounding mountains and meadows. It even features a waterfall between the lakes, and informal paths leading down to the Upper Lake get you up close to this splendid, reflective sight, if you choose. The beginning mile or so of the trail is a steep descent, which means that you and your pup will have a challenging uphill climb back to the car at the end of your return trip. A half-mile walk along a private gravel road just past the Echo Lake Campground takes you to the trailhead, where there are no amenities offered. After the initial descent and walk over the Chicago Creek on a rough log bridge, the trail rises steadily and steeply over rocky and rooty terrain. This is considered a high-altitude hike, so flatlanders may find it especially difficult.
The flora and fauna here are abundant. In 1978, a forest fire burned about 400 acres of trees, and among the new growth is a showy display of wildflowers of every type and color. You and your furry mate may also spy moose, eagles and other birds, and bighorn sheep. Chattering squirrels will protest your presence in their home, but the goats and marmots will likely silently watch you walk by. Winter snowshoeing offers a unique quiet and perspective, as well.
At the end of the Chicago Lakes Trail, you will have the option of continuing on the Mount Evans Trail to the mountain's summit. This requires another 1,000-foot climb. Whether you choose to turn and head back, or move on, this trail might just become one of your favorites in Colorado! And your furry bestie's too!