The alpine meadows exploding with wildflowers, cascading mountain creeks, and adventures glissading down snowbanks with an old friend didn’t hurt either. But play out they did, and I was there with an old friend to watch it all unfold. If you want to save weight, pack a water filter to purify water as you go to avoid carrying heavy water bottles. Chicago Lakes Trail: Hike Colorado’s Stunning Mt. Generally, throughout the state, camping is available year round weather permitting Spring - Summer Camping (May 1 through September 30) Fall - Winter Camping (October 1 through April 30) As long as buildings, water and electrical service are available, regardless of … Oops. Base of Mount Evans- Chicago lakes route. Archived. Chain O’Lakes State Park is one of the most popular camping destinations in Northern Illinois. Rattlesnakes exist here, but they’re rare to come across. Camping is in a semi-wooded area of the park, and there are 150 Class A sites. Evans Wilderness. Trails accessed; Ben Tyler Trail south 606. Base of Mount Evans- Chicago lakes route. There are also a few dispersed camping areas which people are welcome to use, please check with the Hume Lake Ranger District office. The remainder of the hike back towards the parking lot was sunny and uneventful, the exact type of finish we needed. He had an idea. While following the directions given by the AllTrails app, my friend, Beau, and I headed to the Echo Lake Campground. About halfway down the slope, Beau lost control, his straw hat lifting into the air as he skidded to a bumpy stop at the bottom. Instead, we did backpack just to Missouri Lakes for an epic one-night backpacking trip. 0.5 mile to reach a trail junction for the Chicago Lakes trail - 3. It is 9 miles round-trip from the trailhead parking to the intersection with the Craig Park Trail 608 on top of the ridge. Campfires are permitted for dispersed backcountry camping, with potential seasonal and elevation restrictions. Red, yellow, green, white, pink, blue, purple — the full host of colors were on display for Beau and me. Years ago, I found this out the hard way as I was picking wildflowers for my girlfriend when a fellow hiker stopped to scold me. If you decide to backcountry camp along the Chicago Lakes Trail or beyond, get adequately prepared ahead of time. It looks FABULOUS. Dispersed camping can be a fun, last-minute alternative to making a reservation It was 7 p.m. on a Friday, and we needed to find somewhere to camp before the sun went down. We dropped our bags and soaked in the area surrounding Upper Chicago Lake. Dispersed Camping Dispersed camping is allowed on Hiawatha National Forest lands except developed recreation and administrative sites, campgrounds and designated campsites. When to Hike     B. Dispersed backcountry camping is permitted on the Resthouse Trail, Lincoln Lake Trail, and within the Mt Evans Wilderness Area. The following restrictions apply: Your stay is limited to 16 days. If you get lucky as Beau and I did, you might spot a bald eagle patrolling the crisp Colorado skies, staring down at the earth below, and hunting for its next meal. You two would love hiking in the Colorado mountains! “We should glissade down this snowbank,” he said. This sometimes steep and rocky trail starts at Echo Lake Park south of I-70 in the Mt. Worth Noting: Snowshoeing this trail in the winter provides a greater sense of solitude than hiking it in the summer. The trail begins near the scenic and touristy Echo Lake and winds its way past Idaho Springs Reservoir, and eventually up to an old, bumpy forest service road. I guess it’s hard to complain about such challenges when the trail I was hiking lead to a crystal clear glacial lake at the base of a towering 14,000-foot mountain as a bald eagle circled the sky above. Hey, I’m Noel Krasomil. Overview I took a less aggressive approach than Beau, spraying up snow as I worked my way down the snowbank at a slower speed. The hikers along Chicago Lakes Trail have taken care of the land, and it was nice to see. 14 comments. To view current trail conditions, visit the Chicago Lakes Trail’s AllTrails page for reviews and updates from fellow hikers. Be the first to leave a review! Park near the Echo Lake lodge and locate a trail which starts on the west side of the lodge parking area - 1.Follow the trail west through the forest for approx. You can also head to the summit of Mount Evans from Chicago Lakes. Scenes like this are supposed to play out in movies, not real life. An hour south of Chicago, Kankakee South KOA is a quiet retreat for anyone looking to relax. Stay tuned. It has been called Illinois' best fishing lake as well as the Muskie Capital of Illinois. The Chicago Lakes Trail is a delight from start to finish. Great campground host, Mike was very knowledgeable about the area. Within 100 miles of downtown, a wealth of campgrounds provide peace and quiet. Worth Noting: Snowshoeing this trail in the winter provides a greater sense of solitude than hiking it in the summer. Glassy alpine lakes reflecting a crystal-clear image of towering granite peaks in the background? Group size is limited to 15 individuals. We giggled like children and hiked back up to the top for one more round. The Chicago Lakes Trail exemplifies everything I love in a Colorado day hike, even if its high-elevation ascents had me pouring sweat and gasping for air. You also need to bring a 4-wheel drive vehicle with decent clearance because the roads around this area can get pretty steep. Right-click the trailhead signs to view a full-sized image in a new window, or read my summary of the rules below. Words can’t do the landscape justice. My husband and I were just saying how we can take flights from Asheville to Colorado now. The area sees heavy use in the summer due to the its close proximity to Mount Evans and numerous picnic areas. Evans Wilderness Area and ascends to a pair of high alpine lakes below Mt Evans (14,265′), Mt Spalding (13,842′), and Mount Warren (13,307′). Instead, head to the parking lot on the west side of Echo Lake Park as shown on the map above. South Chicago Creek: Located 9 miles south of Idaho Springs on South Chicago Creek Road, NFSR 247.1 there a designated area for dispersed camping. If you head all the way north on Interstate 75, you’ll cross the Mackinac Bridge onto the scenic Upper Peninsula in Michigan.The U.P. It’s a rather grueling commitment. We’d been poking around a side trail, foraging (unsuccessfully) for wild mushrooms when we got lost. Click here to view the complete essential day hiking gear checklist. After a few solid hours of hiking, snacking, and gawking at the glory surrounding us, Lower Chicago Lake appeared on the left side of our peripheral vision. Lake Name Number of SitesMaximum number of people per site Toilets Boat AccessLake Size (acres) Chicago Lake 4 Site1 (8) Sites 2-4 (1) YesBI188 Natural FeaturesAll of these sites are nestled in hardwood trees and pines. Required fields are marked *. For more information on leaving no trace, visit LNT.org. I pointed us back in the right direction, and we trudged our way through the thick shrubbery as sharp branches scraped our skin and tore at our clothing. We shoved our way through the bushes for a few minutes until I finally pulled out my phone to see where we were. The trail begins near the scenic and touristy Echo Lake and winds its way past Idaho Springs Reservoir, and eventually up to an old, bumpy forest service road. Several Hiawatha National Forest and Grand Island National Recreation Area camping facilities offer reservations through the recreation reservation system. Strap on your snowshoes and give it a shot during the off months, as long as the forecast looks good and you’ve adequately prepared. This will be the easy part of the hike for the trail then climbs upward the remaining three miles. Check out Backpacker Magazine’s article on bear safety to learn more. The learning never ends in the travel blogging universe. Here Chicago Creek is dammed to form the Idaho Springs Reservoir. The rustic environment offers a wonderfully serene and peaceful setting for your next campout A bald eagle soaring gracefully through the heavens above? You can also head to the summit of Mount Evans from Chicago Lakes. A few miles past Hefferman Gulch Rd, is West Chicago Creek Rd. Unfortunately, we don't have up-to date pricing data for this listing, but you can check pricing through Recreation Gov. The best months weather-wise to hike are July, August, and September when the winter snowfall has melted and uncovered the trail. From I-70, exit #240 and head south on HWY 103 (toward Mt Evans) for 13 miles to Echo Lake. These pictures are gorgeous, and holy awesome upgrading your website since the last time that I was on. There, we found incredible views of a tranquil, glass-like lake flanked by the massive granite behemoths that are Mount Evans, Mount Warren, and Mount Spalding. • 8.8 lb Ultralight Backpacking Gear List, Chicago Lakes Trail: Colorado’s Stunning Mt. When only serious wilderness will do, however, you’re in luck. Chicago Lakes Trail (#52) Leaving from Echo Lake, the trail goes downhill for the first mile. Lake Creek Road Dispersed Camping in Sawtooth National Forest, Ketchum Idaho. In Chicago, the trails and marinas along Lake Michigan provide a respite from city life. The small trail we were on eventually faded away, and we suddenly found ourselves neck-deep in shrubs. There is nice dispersed camping at the lakes. Booth Falls Trail to Booth Lake: Vail Day Hiking at its Finest, 4th of July Trail: Nederland's Gem (Arapaho Pass + Lake Dorothy), backpack full of quality, lightweight gear, My 8.8 lb Ultralight Backpacking Gear List, What to Bring on a Day Hike: 10 Essentials + Checklist, Budget Backpacking Gear: Affordable 10 lb Ultralight Kit, Backpacking Food: Meal Plan Tips & Ideas for Your Next Hike, Get Paid to Hike: 10 Jobs to Make Money on the Trail, Best Gifts for Hikers: Unique Hiking Gifts for Any Budget, Montbell Permafrost Light Down Parka: Women’s Jacket Review, 20,000 Steps a Day: My Exhausting 30-Day Step Challenge, Bukhansan National Park: Hiking Dobongsan’s Jaunbong Peak, Bikes, hang gliders, and motorized equipment are prohibited on the trail, Campfires are prohibited within 100 feet of lakes, streams, or trails, Camping is prohibited within 100 feet of lakes, streams, and developed trails. I parked my campervan in the where AllTrails said the trailhead would be, but we’d ended up at the Echo Lake Trailhead instead, which is an entirely different hike. Once at the top parking lot, there is a short, but rewarding hike to the summit at 14,264 ft. What to Bring     C. Trail Maps 2. Lesson learned. The hike to Chicago Lakes is a great hike near Denver, taking you to pretty mountain lakes and into the high country of Mt. There’s a decent chance you could have the trail entirely to yourself. Camp at least 100' away from any lake, stream, trail or road. What’s your favorite Colorado lake hike? There is nice dispersed camping at the lakes. Hiking. I rarely get to see the mountains and hiking has been rough in FL with the heat; we are excited to hike more now that the weather will be better (and maybe a few less poisonous snakes…sorta…ehhhh). You can access 18 super-dated pages of trail maps within Mount Evans Wilderness from the forest department website or visit the Mount Evans Wilderness AllTrails page to get more info on hiking and camping within the area. GPS to the camping area in these pictures: 39.360394, -105.684945. Hiking the Chicago Lakes Trail     A. Wildflowers in Bloom     B. Bald Eagles and Marmots     C. Arriving at Chicago Lakes     D. Glissading Down Snowbanks     E. Off-Trail Wanderings 4. There is some rocky trail and a little bog about 1.5 miles from the trailhead, but the rest is an easy trail. After about 15 minutes of maddening bushwhacking, we arrived back at the main trail, shared a chuckle and an eye roll, and started hiking on flat ground once again. What a gorgeous sight. Group size is limited to 15 individuals. Chicago Lakes Trail makes for a fantastic but long day hike or perfect 2-3 day backpacking trip. Leave No Trace 6. Located right off of County Highway 58 across from Sand Point Road, Tannery Falls doesn't see the larger advertising that many other falls see in the area, but is a hidden gem within the town. share. The trail will diverge away from Echo Lake and will traverse along a scenic valley with mountain views off in the distance. The awe-inspiring backcountry within Mount Evans Wilderness at times seemed too beautiful to be real. If you decide to camp in the Mount Evans Wilderness for one or more nights, check out my lightweight backpacking gear list and backpacking meal planning posts to prepare for your upcoming trip. If you hike the Chicago Lakes Trail at the right time of year — typically mid-July to mid-August — the scenery will reward you with ample amounts of blossoming Colorado wildflowers, in nearly every direction you look. Evan’s Wilderness. Moral of the story: Pay attention while hiking side trails. Pack out everything you bring with you, clean up after your pet, and do your part to leave the trail untainted for the rest of the world to enjoy. Dogs are allowed on the trail if leashed. To the east was a large waterfall with grand, sweeping views of Lower Chicago Lake. ... #1 - Chicago Lakes Trail. Campground Camping, or Developed Camping, describes places primarily meant for tent camping, but can include other types of camping as well. Chicago Lake Dispersed Campsite, Michigan - Camping & Campgrounds The Manistique/Rapid River dispersed campsites are located on inland lakes and are in a rustic forest environment with few, if any amenities. Don’t end up lost and engulfed in a thicket of dense bushes as Beau and I did. Set among lodgepole pines and aspens, close to rushing water and majestic Mount Evans, this campground is a popular but relaxed destination that'll soothe the weary soul. Listen for the bark (more of a squeak if you ask me) of marmots as you climb higher in altitude. There are some important rules and regulations to keep in mind when hiking the Chicago Lakes Trail and camping in Mount Evans Wilderness. This state park is a 1550 acre park located off of a nice lake. Flowers blooming in wild profusion. This campground has a pool… Located just 90 minutes north of Chicago, this is the largest concentration of natural lakes in the area making it a boaters paradise. I love the layout and how you integrated such helpful information into each post. The Chicago Lakes Trail begins at Echo Lake (west side), 13.25 miles south of I-70 on HWY 103. The trailhead is a bit tricky to find. I’ve used Maps.me’s offline maps for every hiking, trekking, and backpacking adventure I’ve ever written about on this website. I’m glad you appreciate all the hard work I’ve been putting in. From lakeside retreats to grassland getaways, this part of the midwest has it all. You can also head to the summit of Mount Evans from Chicago Lakes. Religiously check the skies for birds of prey soaring above. Send me some feedback with a comment below! It's only about an hour and a half west from Denver. The Mount Evans Scenic Byway is the highest paved road in Colorado, at 14,130 ft. Colorado’s “New Switzerland” opened by 1930. Rules & Regulations     A. There is nice dispersed camping at the lakes. It then travels 14 miles to the top. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Have you ever hiked the Chicago Lakes Trail? Hey, thanks! This 9.1-mile out-and-back gains 2,142 feet of elevation at a 10% grade, which rates it as a ‘challenging to difficult’ hike. I almost always travel solo -- it's the best way to see the world. Haven’t touched a wildflower since. The byway begins by Echo Lake, south of Idaho Springs, at around 10,600′. A detailed map for the entire Chicago Lakes Trail is available to download on the free smartphone app, Maps.me. Liliana Myers reviewed Chicago Lakes Trail. Preparing for Your Hike     A. After a short time on the road, the trail enters the real backcountry, and Mount Evans Wilderness starts to reveal its natural beauty. We were okay with that. Willow Chicago Creek campground has 16 sites. Close. The rustic environment offers a wonderfully serene and peaceful setting for your next campout. Worth Noting: Snowshoeing this trail in the winter provides a greater sense of solitude than hiking it in the summer. I can recommend the mushroom swiss cheese burger. Keep your eyes open for pikas and squirrels as they scurry about the forest floor at lower elevations. Use my trusty day hiking essentials checklist as you pack for your trip to ensure that you don’t leave any important gear or clothing behind. Had a really tasty lunch at Echo Lake Lodge. Going toward Idaho Springs, dispersed campsites can be found 4 miles north on Co 103 on Hefferman Gulch Rd. Four campsites and an improved boat launch can be found on Chicago Lake, all clustered around its north end. There are parking areas on both sides of the highway so even when the trail is busy you will likely find a spot. So, get out on the Chicago Lakes Trail and witness the beauty for yourself. While Beau and I chose only to day hike, opportunities for dispersed backcountry camping within Mount Evans Wilderness are plentiful and free. More Chicago Lakes Trail is a 11.3 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Georgetown, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as moderate. Posted by 1 year ago. Georgetown, Colorado. Herman Gulch Trail – 6.5 miles | 1,657 feet of elevation gain | Arapaho National Forest, 4th of July Trail – 7.2 miles | 1,942 feet of elevation gain | Indian Peaks Wilderness, Booth Falls Trail to Booth Lake – 10 miles | 3,051 feet of elevation gain | Eagles Nest Wilderness. It's 4.5 miles to the upper lake from the trailhead. The hike should at least five hours, so pack plenty of food (2,000+ calories) and bring a minimum of two liters of water. We’d heard the trail was socked in by snow, so it would have to wait for another day. For our entire hike, Beau and I enjoyed a trash-free trail as we enjoyed the sweeping scenery around us. If you get the timing right, you’ll be surrounded by wildflowers. Have you stayed here? Beau and his dog, Levi, went first. Pikes Peak Hwy is Colorado’s second highest road (not all paved), reaching 14,115 ft. Please pack out all trash, no services available. I’ll tell you what to pack, how to get to there, the down-low on backcountry camping, and I’ll share some details about my journey along the most scenic trail in Mount Evans Wilderness. I’d love to go here and will be looking back at your posts for ideas! Getting to the Trailhead 3. Hiking & Backpacking Resources, Fresh glacial runoff is abundant along the Chicago Lakes Trail. Glissading: a fast, foolish, and entertaining descent. The entire hike takes place above 10,000 feet in elevation, so hikers must acclimatize to high altitudes before starting the trail. We’d wandered really far off course. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash. Glissade recklessly down a snowbank, wander off on a side trail or two, and do your best to keep your jaw from hitting the trail. With a clear forecast, hiking the alpine forests up above 10,000 feet is glorious. Your email address will not be published. Missouri Lakes is made up of lots of small lakes with trails zigzagging between each lake and pond with large boulder outcrops. If you start feeling symptoms of altitude sickness, take a break, and analyze your options going forward. Park your car here (not near the Echo Lake Lodge). Ready to embark on a hike of your own along the Chicago Lakes Trail? Campfires are permitted for dispersed backcountry camping, with potential seasonal and elevation restrictions. Sprawling meadows glowing with blooming Colorado wildflowers? September 22, 2020. Have you ever tried glissading? Each site has table, fire grate, tent pad. The area sees heavy use in the summer due to the its close proximity to Mount Evans and numerous picnic areas. Please camp within the posted camping area boundary. But, as I mentioned earlier, this hike is not a walk-in-the-park. This route has a great trail all the way to Summit Lake and is considered the standard way to climb Evans from a lower trailhead. The lake was beautiful, but there was no trail leading to it, so we continued until we reached Upper Chicago Lake. “Let’s slide down the snow on our feet like we’re skiing.”, Glissading is a little reckless — proceed at your own risk. This is a shor… All of them are on small inland lakes, which offer a … I trek into the wilderness, geek out about gear, and travel with the least amount of baggage as I can. Stayed at West Chicago Creek campground (National Forest) for three nights. This Lake’s dispersed camping spots are some of the closest to Denver, but that doesn’t mean it’s the easiest to get to. Day Hiking Gear I Recommend 9. Take This Road Trip On Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. While it may be tempting, picking wildflowers is illegal and can harm the ecosystem. If your hike goes anything like mine, you’ll witness plenty of wildlife. 1. Dispersed camping is allowed near the Chicago Lakes Trail, and all entering the Mount Evans Wilderness need a self-issued permit available at the trailhead. It is possible to hike with snowshoes during off-season months, but doing so will be a more grueling endeavor. Chicago Lake Dispersed Campsite Even though Chicago Lake (188 acres) is a busy lake you can still see and hear loons. Dispersed backcountry camping is permitted on the Beartrack Lakes Trail and within the Mt Evans Wilderness. Damn. Don’t start your hike at the Echo Lake Campgrounds as AllTrails recommends. Chain O’Lakes State Park. Backcountry Camping 5. The Outbound works best with JavaScript enabled. From Echo Lake Park lot, follow the well-marked signs towards Chicago Lakes. © 2020 The Outbound Collective - Terms of Use - Privacy Policy. The second lake is above treeline. save hide report. The Chicago Lakes Trail just raised the bar for all my future Colorado day hikes. It was built as a result of Pikes Peak Highwayand Denver’s competition for tourists. The trail to Missouri Lakes is about 3.5 miles in so this was an easy hike in giving us plenty of time to explore the area. Guanella Pass Area - Geneva Creek … Three prominent developed recreation sites lie within Converse Basin Grove; the Boole Tree Trail, Chicago Stump Trail, and Stump Meadow. Maps.me’s trail maps system is incredibly helpful and accurate. Scout out potential camping destinations, research the route, study a forecast, start early, pack enough food, and bring a backpack full of quality, lightweight gear. Let me start by saying that hiking off-trail can be destructive to delicate ecosystems, and it was never our intention to wander astray. Final Thoughts 7. Looking majestic while searching for lunch. The Chicago Lakes Trail is an adventure worth taking. Mount Evans Wilderness isn’t known to have a strong bear presence, but if you’re wary, bring bear spray, wear a bear bell, odor-proof your food, or hike in groups. Book this listing through our partner Recreation Gov, The Rapid River/Manistique campsites are located on inland lakes and are in a rustic forest environment with few, if any amenities. The springs are a short 11.5 mile drive from the town of Manistique and are the perfect side trip for a UP getaway.Parking is plentiful at Palms ... Wagner Falls is an easy-to-reach waterfall right off of 94. Let me know if you ever plan a visit to CO and I’ll give you some ideas that aren’t on the blog! Description If hiking or fishing is the name of your game, West Chicago Creek Campground is the perfect place to do what you love all day. Hard to beat a sunny Colorado day in Mount Evans Wilderness. 74. See 22 traveler reviews, 53 photos and 4 blog posts Within 15 minutes, we came across a softening snowbank that piqued Beau’s interest. Your email address will not be published. Overall a very pretty, mostly covered trail with options for fishing and dispersed camping that's great for the day or a short couple day stint in the wilderness! Camping – Echo Lake campground has 18 sites, 11 for RV, 7 for tents. The campsites on the Rapid River/Manistique Ranger District are located on inland lakes and are in a rustic forest environment w... Kitch-iti-kipi is a beautiful and easily accessed attraction in the southern region of Michigan's UP. Turn right down the first dirt road on your right and continue.25 miles to the parking area. Camp at least 100' away from any lake, stream, trail or road. It was a hell of a hike. The Chicago Lakes Trail is a delight from start to finish. The air here is dry, so you need not worry about humidity add to your misery if it’s sweltering out. I pack light and explore the globe searching for awe-inspiring hiking trails, rich cultural experiences, and ways to continue traveling indefinitely. In the distance, the Chicago Lakes Trail snaked up steep rocky terrain towards Summit Lake, which rests at 13,002 feet. The portion of the trail leading to Idaho Springs Reservoir is a local favorite for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. I'm a minimalist traveler and ultralight backpacker. Hey, I'm Noel. Discover . Evans Wilderness. 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