DIRECTIONS: From Denver head west on I-70 to Idaho Springs and turn south onto 103 following the signs to Mount Evans. At Echo Lake, turn right onto Mount Evans Road and pass through the entrance gate (fee required). Follow Mount Evans Road all the way to the large parking area at Summit.
Summit Lake Park is a busy, but wonderful park. It sits high over 12,000 feet at the base of Mt. Evans 12,264 ft and two 13ers, Mts. Spaulding and Warren. The park is accessible by the paved Mount Evans Road, and while you have to pay to access the road, it is one of the few ways to reach the high country by car.
There are two short trails at Summit Lake Park but you can access various long trails from the parking area as well as climb Mt. Evans via the wonderful Mount Evans Trail. Within the park itself, you can access the lake shore via the Summit Lake Loop or walk to the incredible Chicago Lakes Overlook Trail.
The Summit Lake Loop is short but runs from the parking area to the lake and along a small part of the lake. There is no trail that loops around the entire lake, just the eastern shore. The Chicago Lakes Overlook Trail passes through a shelter and some educational signs to an overlook of the Chicago Lakes Basin. The view from the overlook is simply fantastic and you can hike down to Chicago Lake for a short but strenuous adventure. At the overlook, you can also stroll down to the sandy lake shore.
Visiting Summit Lake Park is less about hiking and more about being able to leisurely spend time at high altitude. If you visit in the early mornings or in the late afternoons you may just be able to find some solitude and solace in one of the Front Range's most iconic yet popular destinations.
HIKES BY REGION
NATIONAL PARK HIKES
- BENT'S OLD FORT NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
- BLACK CANYON OF THE GUNNISON NATIONAL PARK
- COLORADO NATIONAL MONUMENT
- CURECANTI NATIONAL RECREATION AREA
- DINOSAUR NATIONAL MONUMENT
- FLORISSANT FOSSIL BEDS NATIONAL MONUMENT
- MESA VERDE NATIONAL PARK
- ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK
- GREAT SAND DUNES NATIONAL PARK
- HOVENWEEP NATIONAL MONUMENT
- SAND CREEK MASSACRE NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
- YUCCA HOUSE NATIONAL MONUMENT
- HIKES BY CATEGORY
- $UPPORT GHC
- INTERACTIVE MAP
Summit Lake Loop &
Chicago Lakes Overlook Trail
Summit Lake Park
Date Hiked: August 30, 2017
Distance: .75 mi (RT)
Elevation Gain: 150 ft
Elevation Min/Max: 12,750 to 12,858 ft
Trailhead Lat/Long: 39º 35' 55" N; 105º 38' 27" W
Managing Agency: Denver Mountain Parks/USFS