This is my favorite short Mount Evans area snowshoe/cross country trail. It’s a very scenic loop with enough up and down for a bit of a challenge, all in the space of a couple hours. The total length is just over 2.5 miles. You can ski or snowshoe this one, take your pick. Or snowshoe up and ski down if you prefer.
We start off on the Echo Lake Trail near the shelter house (you can park on the side of the road there). Travel around the back of Echo Lake to the opposite side, where we begin our uphill section by taking the right fork to Chicago Lakes Trail. After a few hundred uphill feet, the trail comes to a sign for Chicago Lakes Trail. Do not follow the Chicago Lakes Trail, but instead stay left following the tracks up to a ridge top with amazing vistas. From “Overlook2”, follow the tracks a few hundred more feet until you come to the “Turnoff” waypoint. You are now on the Mount Evans Road near mile marker 1. Follow the road back down until you see the “Turnoff2” waypoint. Turnoff2 is actually the true trailhead for the Chicago Lakes Trail. Follow the Chicago Lakes Trail until it branches toward Echo Lake at the waypoint marked “branch here at sign”, and take the Echo Lake Trail back to the starting point.
It might be somewhat difficult to find Mt. Evans Road from the ridgetop if you don’t have a GPS, so be aware that those of you without a GPS might have trouble with route-finding on this one. But, with a GPS, it’s easy.Download Echo Lake Tracks and Waypoints (33 downloads)
|NOTE: I have had to remove much of the information regarding the Mt. Tom wreck site including the hiking directions per the landowners request. The landowner does not want anyone hiking on his property without express permission. Unfortunately different landowners have different attitudes, and we have to respect the landowner’s rights regardless. |
Sometimes the real tragedy lies in the nature of the casualty…
On April 8, 1952, Capt. Hilton B. Wilcox, Jr. and Lt.Col Merrill E. Smith lost their lives in a B-25 bomber crash in the area of what is now Golden Gate Canyon State Park. This hike takes you to the crash site. Unlike most touristy war memorials, there are no concrete walkways, statues, and bronze plaques. What lies here is as real as it gets: raw plane wreckage scattered over a beautiful mountainside. There is no trail to the site, this is a backcountry bushwhack all the way. The journey through sawmill gulch might just be too much for you, but if you can make it through, you will be rewarded with a fascinating, if not solemn, experience. I ask that you remember what happened here and respect the area for what it is. Please leave everything as you have found it. At first this wreck may seem senseless, but if you ascend to the top of the wreckage area and look eastward, you can clearly see how this could have happened. Also, here is a link to another site about the plane wreck site: Colorado Wreck Chasing Site .