Chicago Creek

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 39.58860°N / 105.6428°W
Additional Information Route Type: Hike/Scramble
Additional Information Time Required: A long day
Additional Information Difficulty: Class 2
Sign the Climber's Log


This route description is for the Chicago Creek trail up to Summit Lake (5.7 miles 1 way, 14 miles round trip to the summit of Evans). From Summit Lake there are several options to get to the summit of Mount Evans, including the road, summit ridge, north face, and northeast face. Some of these routes have already been described on this page.

The trailhead for this route is at the northwest side of Echo Lake (Echo Lake Picnic Area) at 10580ft.

Route Description

Starting from the Echo Lake Trailhead, follow the west side of Echo Lake until the trail splits. Follow the sign towards the Chicago Lakes Trail (west). From here the trail will descent in switchbacks for 300ft until it joins the Chicago Lakes Trail, which is a dirt road for the first mile until slightly past the Idaho Springs Reservoir at 10617ft. On the south side of the reservoir you will first pass a few cabins and then cross into the wilderness area (there is a register to enter your group information and destination).

Once you are in the wilderness area, the trail goes slowly uphill for approximately 2 miles until you can see the first Chicago Lake (11410ft) to the south-east of the trail. To continue you will go around the lake to its west side, always staying between 100-200ft above the lake. After hiking for another 0.75 miles, you will pass treeline at approximately 11600ft and soon afterwards reach the second Chicago Lake (approx. 11700ft).

From here on the trail becomes significantly steeper as it climbs 1300ft in 0.75 miles to a point at 13050ft to the east of the Warren/Spalding saddle. This climb is Class 2, and an alternative route (Class 3), heading straight for the Warren/Spalding saddle is possible. (Be aware of avalanche danger during this part of the hike/climb.) Once you reach the ridge at 13050ft, it is an easy hike down to Summit Lake at 12830ft. From the lake, you can pick your route to the summit (Class1-Class4, depending on your choice).

Extra: It is a worthwhile climb to the top of Mount Warren (13307ft), which will provide great views of Evans, Grays, Torreys, Denver, and the Chicago Creek/Lakes area.

Essential Gear

During the summer there should be no special gear required. During the winter snowshoes, crampons, and ice axe might be required.


At the entrance to the Wilderness Area there is a sign that camping is permitted as long as you stay 100ft (or 100 yards, not sure) from any water source.

There are several great camping spots along the trail, in particular to the southwest of the first Chicago Lake. This camping spot is still below tree line, and the ridges to the east, south, and west provide almost perfect protection from the wind.

For winter trips, a 2 day trip is strongly recommended.

Miscellaneous Info

If you have information about this route that doesn't pertain to any of the other sections, please add it here.



Parents refers to a larger category under which an object falls. For example, theAconcagua mountain page has the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits' asparents and is a parent itself to many routes, photos, and Trip Reports.