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

things to conquer  Map

Great short hike with stunning views in every direction at the top. Packed snow most of the way 3/17, spikes a big help. Gorgeous day!

I would give this a moderate rating in the winter! Steep incline and icy at spots until you get to the top. Great views! I recommend for a short hike outside of the metro area

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.

I gave this trail 5 stars because this place is beautiful. The trail is very easy but has some small obstacles. The trail runs along under canyons and a narrow river. Again, this place is magical. I will upload sone pictures.

7 days ago


I love this trail! It was difficult going uphill with the snow but hiking shoes and yaktrax were sufficient. I have hiked this in the summer as well and though I missed the beautiful lake at the top, it was cool to see the trail from a wintry perspective. The solitude was much needed and appreciated as I only saw a couple other hikers. Took about 3 hours round trip.

Perfect day hike. Good distance with some nice elevation gain. Had to go back down to grab the crampons we forgot but it’s doable with out them and some hiking boots. Great view of Coors and even saw about 10 deer. Parking lot was full and plenty of people on the trail but it was still enjoyable.

10 days ago

great hike, a bit steep but short with great views. very little ice/snow.

Nice, quick workout close to Denver! I agree with the review before me...The trail is mostly dirt, but the sections where there is ice it's super slippery!! I had to put my Yaktrax on because I could barely get traction without them. I also went super early in the morning so the icy sections might be softer later in the day. Happy hiking!

if you're afraid of slipping down a steep hill perhaps this isn't the one for you till all the snow melts :)

It’s a beautiful hike but quite treacherous if there is snow and ice on the trail. We saw a ton of people not wearing proper footwear that I hoped wouldn’t fall off the mountain. Definitely want to go back in summer when there is no ice.

Great hike with beautiful panoramic views of Golden. Tricky to follow the trail last weekend (3/4) due to snow coverage. The entire trail you will be on and off of ice, so bring crampons! They are easy enough to stick in your bag and you will be happy to have them. Saw lots of people falling without, and was so grateful to be able to grip into the ice as needed.

13 days ago

Our family’s first hike after moving to the Colorado Springs area. Loved it. I carried our 1.5yo toddler on my back with minimal difficulty and for not being in great “high altitude” shape yet. 6yo daughter did great as well. Most difficult part of the hike is the loose gravel coming down, just gotta take your time. Beautiful/very windy view at the top. Look for the Visitor’s Log inside the green ammo box at the summit.

Trail was icy, muddy, and borderline not enjoyable to many. this trail is amazing normally but good god people leave the locals alone and hike elsewhere. parking was near impossible 2pm on Saturday.

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.

Love this trail! Today’s conditions were perfect. Clear blue skies the whole hike. Some areas were super muddy. Crampons were definitely favorable in other spots along the way!!! Most of the hike was dry though. Fun times with my sissy!!

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.

I was not initially planning on doing the entire loop but ended up being able to! App says distance is 13.1 miles but my GPS said 14.6 by the time I was actually finished. Not any significant elevation gains or technical areas but the trail was not marked at all. Went clockwise and didn't see a trail marker until close to the dam. Popular trail but people weed out the further in you go. I am a novice hiker and would recommend a partner just due to the distance and seclusion.

18 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.

Would be a great hike without the snowy patches! It was way too slick without any kind of grip on my hiking boot- at several slick points I had to slide down on my heels. And it was way too crowded for my liking (maybe better during the week)- otherwise an enjoyable trail!

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.

18 days ago

March 3 hike was beautiful, but the last stretch towards Lower Mohawk Lake was a little too sketchy for me. Not much hard pack there. I regretfully had to turn around just after the cabin before the top, because there was nobody else around, didn’t seem very safe. Otherwise almost the entire trail and Spruce Creek Road are both super easy in boots without snowshoes. Highly recommend poles, got icy in parts especially on the way back in late afternoon.

thank you to the snowshoers and Intrepid hikers who came before me! I forgot my snowshoes in Denver and thought I would have to turn around! I hiked in mid morning on March 2nd and was able to stay and find the trail due to it being pack down. the first mile is straight-up and a great workout but the views are worth it!

Still my favorite front range trail! Went out at 10 am on 2.25, could not believe the parking lot was full in February. The expansive switchbacks make you feel way further from Denver than you are. Affords great views eastbound & westbound. Some sections snowpacked & icy, others rocky & muddy. Microspikes were perfect for a quick pace, although I saw many with just hiking boots who were doing fine!

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!!

I'd classify the hike as "Easy" rather than moderate. Not much of a challenge, not super captivating views, not many options to extend the hike to make it more fun. Still a fun way to stretch the legs though! Got by easily without spikes today, though I saw people with them!

22 days ago

Did this trail today. First mile can easily be done in just hiking boots, definitely need snow shoes the last half. Lost the trail, but headed up in the same general direction . Saw a few people on our way back.

23 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.

went up on 2/24 wind turn us away from the summit due to snow covering the trail. good climb around the mountain

Nice hike through a beautiful forest..

Load More