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.
Park near the Echo Lake lodge and locate a trail which starts on the west side of the lodge parking area - Photo #1. Follow the trail west through the forest (Photo #2) for approx. 0.5 mile to reach a trail junction for the Chicago Lakes trail - Photo #3. If you started your hike from the Echo Lake Park, at the northwest corner of the lake, walk south past the lake to reach the Chicago Lakes trail.
Continue west and southwest to the side of a ridge (Photo #4) where you can look down into Chicago Creek. Switchback down 400 feet (Photo #5) to Chicago Creek and cross the creek using a log bridge (Photo #6) to reach a dirt road - Photo #7. Turn left and follow the road up to the Idaho Springs Reservoir at 10,600’ - Photo #8. Shortly after the reservoir, pass a couple of cabins (Photo #9) and the road ends at a trail kiosk - Photo #10. Fill out a wilderness permit and follow the trail into the Mt. Evans Wilderness - Photo #11 and Photo #12. After hiking over 1.5 miles in the wilderness, you’ll reach an overlook (11,550’), just uphill from Lower Chicago Lake - Photo #13. Your next goal is to reach Upper Chicago Lake, but you must get past the headwall which separates the two lakes. Continue southwest/south, weave past some large boulders (Photo #14) and ascend steep terrain on the far right side of the headwall - Photo #15 and Photo #16. After gaining the headwall, it’s a short walk to Upper Chicago Lake - Photo #17.
Your goal is to hike to the saddle between Mt. Warren (left) and Mt. Spalding (right), which is 1,100’ higher. Turn left, cross the stream outlet (Photo #18) and follow the trail to the base of Mt. Warren’s (13,307’) west slopes - Photo #19 and Photo #20. Climb steeply up the slope (Photo #21) and traverse south on the great trail - Photo #22. The trail approaches some cliff bands (Photo #23) but you’ll find that it is easy to follow and not that difficult. Photo #24 looks back on the ascent. Continue under the cliff bands (Photo #25) to reach the saddle (Photo #26) between Mt. Warren and Mt. Spalding, near the north end of Summit Lake (12,900’).
To reach the summit, turn right at the saddle/lake and use Mt. Evans - Route #2 (West Ridge via Mt. Spalding). To reduce the return mileage by about 0.75 mile, the Mt. Evans - Route #5 (Northeast Face) route can be used to return to Summit Lake.