Explore Short Snowshoe Hike (<4 miles) - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Short Snowshoe Hike (<4 miles) Map

Went up when it was frozen over with some friends. It's tough getting up and back down with all the snow, but so worth it. Some people hike up and sled / snowboard down. You get to walk around on a big frozen lake once you make it all the way. Really awesome.

Great starter trail, especially if you aren't used to altitude. Dog and kid friendly. Deep snow, waterproof clothing recommended but not needed. Saw a lot of families with snowshoes, but doable without snowshoes or spikes!

Fun day hike! Only downside would be the amount of dog poop everywhere.

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.

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.

13 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.

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.

Very easy, beautiful hike. If you’re looking for something non strenuous and short this is a good one. Fun to sled down the hill in the winter too!

14 days ago

the trail was really packed down at the beginning so could get away with just yak tracks, but about a mile in got a little looser and you would probably want snowshoes. Overall a nice mellow meander through the snowy forest.

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!!

15 days ago

Beautiful snowshoe hike. Extremely well marked. Has a 10 to 15% grade for first mile. Mostly packed snow up to the hut. After the hut, trail not marked and mostly powder but easy to snowshoe. Incredible views.

17 days ago

We hiked this on Sunday afternoon and it was windy, cold, and awesome. Be advised that there is . $5 fee to park in the nearby lots as they are on private land. Cash and checks are the only form of payment accepted. There are two lots, on one to the north and one to the south of the trail head. It's a quick walk to the top, just keep to the main trail and avoid what look to be off road vehicle trails that veer off to the right. I think there are two on the way up. The top was WINDY. I'm guessing around 50mph gusts and a steady wind of about 30mph. The kind of wind you can lean into and it will keep you upright. The temp was around 9 degrees and with the those kind of winds we didn't stay up too long- we didn't have the gear necessary to hang out in conditions like that. But it was beautiful up there. We shall definitely return for more exploration!

18 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.

Great snowshoe in January 2018!!

21 days ago

Well packed trail, we only used shoe spikes. Didn’t feel the need for snowshoes. Great view of Frisco along the trail, the lake at the end of the trail is beautiful!

Awesome views . Short and sweet

25 days ago

It’s great if you’re looking for a relatively easy trail with great views. The trail was a little packed down for snowshoes, but slick enough that you’d be better off with a bit of extra traction. Just be prepared for a lot of wind at the lake.

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.

it's fun and easy, doesn't take long. even kids do it.. but at the end the lake isn't too impressive and is usually crowded.

on Lily Pad Lake Trail

1 month ago

Great trail! Perfect length !

Snowshoed to the lake today and part way up to glacier. Lots of snow still, very windy. Beautiful views! Everyone says it's easy but felt it a bit challenging for us Minnesotans (but the cold didn't bother us), maybe since we are still adjusting to elevation. It was a steady climb to the lake and steeper to the glacier. Want to make a trip back in Spring or Summer. Ran into several people even on a Thursday afternoon.

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

1 month ago

So much powder! A steady incline, some parts steeper than others but the view was worth it. I wouldn’t recommend for beginner showshoers but a good challenging jaunt for intermediates. The parking is just past Berthoud Pass, directly off 40 and the trailhead is right there. No restrooms that I could see.

1 month ago

Nice hike along the forest road. Limited views until you get to the top. Was snowing when we got there but amazing views of Denver and the lowlands

1 month ago

Really nice little snowshoeing hike. Not too long and not too short. We had a blast. Weather was great!

1 month ago

Traction would have been nice, but not necessary. A go to when you only have an hour of free time to get in a good view.

1 month ago

Road is clear until the next snow, never even considered using 4WD. Brought up 8 people and a bunch of sleds, and had a blast! Ended up sledding down the glacier onto the frozen lake, sleds are a must here if you're up for the adventure!

Beautiful views! Of course, it was the Super Blue Blood Moon, so I was destined to be gorgeous! Light/easy hike, and as of January 30th, the snow is packed on trail so bring microspikes..

1 month ago

A great little trail good for all ages!

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