Lincoln Lake Trail
Yesterday, we went for an extended excursion on the trail from Echo Lake to Lincoln Lake. The hike is about seven miles each way and took us about seven hours. We stopped for lunch and for an extended break at Lincoln Lake. It was worth every mile and every minute. Lincoln Lake is beautiful. It is nestled on the side of Mount Evans. The water is crystal clear and the trout were jumping.
The trail starts with a brief climb up from the Echo Lake campground, followed by about a mile long drop. The rest of the way is a slow steady climb up to Lincoln Lake. Most of the way is through pine forest but just before the turnoff to Lincoln Lake, it opens up into an old burn area with lots of beautiful silvery-gray gnarled dead trees coming up out of a grassy meadow. The grass and underbrush was starting to show some nice fall color. In fact, the mountains in the distance looked almost orange below treeline from the combination of green and red grass and brush. It was beautiful.
We left at about 11:00 and got back just after 6:00. We saw a total of seven people on the trail. One couple got to Lincoln Lake shortly after us. We passed another couple and then a solo hiker who were returning about a mile before we got to the lake. Then, on our way back, we passed a couple of backpackers who were heading out to camp for the night. On the whole it was extremely quiet and we had the trail – and the forest – to ourselves.
Chicago Lakes Trail
About a month ago, we hiked the Chicago Lakes trail with a good friend who was visiting from Washington, D.C. We estimated that hike to be about 10-11 miles (round trip) with about 1,700 feet in elevation gain (although with the initial down and then up, the number was probably closer to 2,000 total elevation gain.
The Chicago Lakes trail was one of the most beautiful hikes we have ever done in Colorado – and certainly the most impressive of the summer. With all the rain we have been having, the fauna was still very green.
The initial climb of about a mile opened up to the Idaho Springs reservoir. We stopped there for a little bit, but there were a lot of people coming and going, so we quickly moved on. There were more people further on up the trail, but it definitely thinned out.
We thought about turning around about a mile before the first of the Chicago Lakes because we were planning to hike Torreys Peak the next day, but we pressed on. When we finally made it to the Lakes the beauty of the scenery made it all worthwhile. That is one hike that definitely want to do again.
We do have one more hike in the Mount Evans area planned for later this fall when the aspen start to turn. That is Hells Hole. Good friends of ours have done it in previous years when the aspen were peaking and rave about it. Their pictures back up their story. I can’t wait!