Explore Easier day hike - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Easier day hike Map

great trail with a steady incline pretty much the whole way up. I did this with my wife and two teen sons and enjoyed it very much. fantastic views once you break the treeline. it didnt seem to busy either.

Beautiful place to hike! We went 3/12 early in the morning. We did not do the full loop at the end as the wind picked up, but it was still a wonderful hike. We did read the recommendations to wear yaktrax but we did not, wished we would have at times but it was still doable without them, just need to be careful with the ice!

Used snowshoes on a well-packed trail to Naylor Lake. The trail to Silver Dollar is rocky and right near avalanche possibilities (that was our opinion, however, the amount of snow up on the mountains is not significant due to high winds.) It's a short hike up but with the help of alltrails.com, we were able to trek in the deep stuff off trail on the way down. We just had fun and meandered in the 3 ft. of snow off-trail. Thanks AllTrails! We didn't stray too far from the trail either but you don't want to get lost out there!

I did this hike on 3/8, it was a little windy but an otherwise gorgeous day. Didn’t see too many other people out hiking.

Trail is snow packed and flooded/frozen over in spots. Snowshoes are not necessary but micro spikes are definitely helpful.

13 days ago

Beautiful hike that wasn't crowded at all. Snowy in a lot of spots so I would highly recommend using your spikes for traction.

This is one of my fave go-to hikes. I do some pretty tough hikes so I’ll be assigning degrees of difficulty to this. But the reason I love it so much is its proximity to Denver, relative ease for most skill levels, and possibly the best view of Colorado’s Front Range you’ll encounter. On a clear day you can see every 14er in the Front Range. Some extraordinarily clear skies this weekend and perfection for this hike. Right now the trail is packed snow with some ice. Traction is absolutely necessary but will create a better experience getting up and down both. Snow shoes are too much but micro spikes are perfect right now in this trail. Again, not required but you’ll have a better day both ways using them. At least until you get above tree line. Go up. Enjoy. Take some gorgeous photos. Reward on this hike for the effort is just hard to beat. Dig it.

Spikes were very useful on hike out. Beautiful day in Idaho springs

The access to the trail is at the lower area of the parking area.. think “parallel parking” on north side (uphill) of the road. It’s technically not a “Easy” Trail, where elderly and young kids can hike, there is incline all the way up the top and somewhat of a rock scramble at the top. But it’s a great view and hike. Snowpacked trail about 95 percent so I’d recommend microspikes just so you don’t have to worry about any slipping.

14 days ago

Great hike! As other reviewers have noted the trailhead is a little hard to find. But Google Maps got us there. The trail was completely snow-packed, so boots appropriate for that were essential. The views at the top are stunning! It’s not a hard hike - but it’s definitely a decent incline. I can’t wait to do it again.

A beautiful hike!! Definitely need Yaktrax for now.

Slippery, but good. Wear spikes if you got em.

Super calm serene hike up a beautiful mountain side, the views after the initial incline weigh out any negative thoughts of inclines as well as altitude. Super suggest the hike any time of the year.

Seemed longer that 3.3 miles but well worth it.

The views at the summit of Chief Mountain are absolutely SPECTACULAR. I was actually speechless when I first came to the top and saw the 360-degree views of the Rockies. There were many 14ers in view. I will 100% be coming back to do this hike again.

I did a bunch of research for this hike and kept seeing conflicting points for directions, hiking distance, and difficulty of the hike. Let me be the one to clarify for future hikers:

There are actually two “trailhead” entrances between mile marker 18 and 19 that will get you to the second half of the Chief Mountain Summit.

1) The first is the one that I (mistakenly) took. This was just after mile marker 18 on Rt 103. There is a small parking area across from the entrance, which is unmarked. It is at the top of a hill, not the bottom. This (I believe) is the Old Squaw Pass Rd. It’s flatter and much easier for those weekend warriors who are actually expecting an easy trail. It also adds a mile R/T to your overall hiking distance - which is why some people on here clocked in at 4mi. This is a great cross-country skiing trail if you’re interested! If you take this, you will take a sharp right and start inclining about a mile in to your hike, where there is a wooden sign that says Chief Mountain with an arrow.

2) The second option is the actual Chief Mountain Trail, which is located just before mile marker 19 on 103. The Echo Park ski lifts are on the same side as the parking for the trail. The actual trail (on the other side of the street) is also poorly labeled, with a small wooden sign that says Chief Mountain trail. This is the way I walked back (and ended up a mile from my car...super fun!). This is about a half mile shorter than the other trail option, but I would absolutely put it in the moderate category. I’m not sure who designates whether a trail is easy or moderate, but I’ve noticed several trails that were much harder than their designations. For someone who isn’t used to 11,000ft altitudes or who isn’t hiking 3-4x a week, you’ll probably be out of breath for this. The good news is that it’s only 3mi. This trail is fairly narrow, and if you make the mistake of stepping off the path you will be in 2ft drifts.

Hopefully this helps prevent some confusion!!

I did this hike in trail running shoes and was totally fine without additional traction. You could probably use snowshoes but it’s not necessary. Definitely avoid tennis shoes or shoes without traction - the trail is totally snowpacked and slick at points. It was not windy when we went - it was about 25 degrees and sunny with maybe 10mph gusts that we could only feel above the tree line (for perspective, it was 57 and sunny in Denver when we got home).

We went at 10am on a Thursday and we saw a total of 6 people - one group of 4, 2 cross-country skiers, and 1 girl with her dog. It was super quiet and the snow was pristine off the trail. It was perfect!!

19 days ago

Stunning views. Did this hike on 2/25. No spikes needed but VERY windy conditions.

It’s a little hard to find at first. It’s directly across from the Echo Mountain ski lift.

Tough but rewarding winter hike. Got off trail really quickly and just decided to stay that way. Deep powder, wore snow shoes entire time. It’s crazy cold up top. Check the wind report. Must bring mittens with liners, hand warmers (seriously), head and neck protection, base layer/ maybe fleece under pants, glasses or goggles, poles. Incredible views and solitude. Would definitely go back.

Awesome views . Short and sweet

27 days ago

Great views along the trail and from Panorama Point. Didn't needs snowshoes, but traction devices increased speed and safety. A lot of time in the trees.

Went up on snowy trails today with yaktraks on my boots. Windy at the top, but the hike was easy, even in the snow. Out and back in just under two hours.

Hiked in snowshoes. Not heavily traveled today. Nice out and back to view the frozen lake. Highly recommend the trail.

Not enough snow to truly snowshoe - trail was pretty packed the first part and got super fun and deep back by the actual reservoir. We need snow!!!

it was so pretty! Definitely would have been easier with snowshoes, I did really enjoy it. Not overly crowded, nice short hike.

I did this in the summer. Fantastic views considering the relatively minimal effort needed to get to the top. Short, sweet and rewarding!

Hiked this on Sunday, 1/28 and had great time! Quick and painless with the climb only being 1.5 miles... LOTS of snow but it’s pretty packed down on the trail. Micro’s helped a lot but I wouldn’t have been mad if I brought my snowshoes, as well... not a necessity, just would have helped with traction. But there’s plenty of off-trail exploring to be done so bring your snowshoes if that tickles your fancy... BEAUTIFUL views. Great hike!

Hiked on a Saturday in January. Trailhead begins at the very touristy Echo Lake. When we pulled up and saw all of the cars we were admittedly bummed, but 90% of the visitors were just there to see the lake. The actual trail was pretty quiet. No need for snowshoes, microspikes were fine. In fact, there's a rather narrow ridge within the first mile, and it looked difficult to navigate in snowshoes. A pretty hike and a great workout! We hope to continue past the reservoir to Chicago Lake next time!

You know how the previous reviews mentioned “don’t sleep on the wind?” Yeah, well, do not! Staggering views from the start that keep getting better. No protection from elements, which only adds to the fun.

Always a great go to! Has a little bit of everything you'd want in a day hike!

1 month ago

Me and my pup went on 1/18. It did have snow on the ground, but I had regular hiking boots and me and my dog were fine and able to make it to the top. But,A little icy in some spots so be careful. Closer to the top there wasn't any snow or ice. . At the top it had gorgeous views of the mountain range!!
When you do get there, there really isn't a parking lot (parked on the side of road) and the sign is small if your driving to it the first time. I drove back and forth trying to find it. The directions does take you to the spot, you just have to park your car on the side road and get out to cross over and find it.

Hiked 1/20/18 and it was a great hike. It was snow packed up to the tree line and then mostly snow free above the treeline. I did not need or use micro spikes until I had started down and hit the treeline, they made the trip down very easy. Great views at the top made the climb worth the short effort.

This trail features 360 views from WY, the entire continental divide and all the way to Pikes Peak! A definite must hike!!

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