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No trax needed, couple of icy spots no mud frozen falls beautiful trail low traffic start at 9 am. First trail sign takes to cliff loop come back other way

Steep hike so bring an extra pair of lungs if you’re built for speed, not for comfort. Great views with rock formations at top. Great place to hang out in the sun for a bit.

Hiked on 3/14. One of the most beautiful hikes I have ever done! The views are well worth the steepness battle after Loch Lake. Did it only using microspikes, and like someone before me I did not use the strap on the icy steep part, but instead crawled with my hands around the left side of the boulder that's there. Wind is pretty brutal at all of the lakes and the steepness after Loch is no joke, but well worth the efforts! Would highly recommend!

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 interval training, good views and not crowded

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.

Hiked this yesterday with my daughter. It was awesome! Some tough climbs at the end with ice and snow pack but well worth it. Micro spikes are a must. A frozen Glass lake and ice fall made for some great pictures.

Wow! The description of this trail is on point, as well as everyone's reviews. We had hiked Emerald Lake the day before and wanted something more challenging... we got it! We wore microspikes and used trekking poles the whole way up. We were hit by a snow storm about halfway to Sky Pond and pushed through. The most difficult part is right before you hit the pond. The trail is barely hiked and therefore you sink pretty deep at such a steep incline. The part where the strap is is extremely icy and therefore I "Spidermaned" my way up the left side of the boulder instead of the right (not using the strap). The pond was gorgeous and frozen solid. *caution** heard a bear as we began our decent down the steep incline. You should bring : snow shoes, microspiked, snow pants, and trekking poles at the very least. *** Also, I dropped our little fox somewhere around Loch Lake, when the snow melts and if he is seen please feel free to contact me via Facebook, he's a precious part of our lives ;(***

5 days ago

This is like the ultimate stair master on the way up. If you have bad knees, you’re definitely going to feel it but the views are really beautiful. A lot of cool rock formations to climb around on along the way. Path is nearly dry except for a couple spots. The lake is not grand at the end but I didn’t regret it.

Hiked 3/12. Only used microspikes for the entire hike. Someone has bolted a strap by the only sketchy part of the hike. Slid most of the way down on my coat. Definitely recommend if you are in shape for it. If you’re questioning it at the lock its best to not go up. It only gets steeper from there. If you take snowshoes make sure to also bring spikes for the sheet of ice you have to climb before glass lake

7 days ago

Great views of the peaks in RMNP, Longs Peak and Twin Sisters. Interesting rock formations along the way, and lots of steps. The lake was frozen but a nice place to stop for lunch and there was one stretch of snow/ ice that I was glad I had my poles for.. I imagine it gets crowded in the warmer months, but we will definitely go back and continue on to Balanced Rock (another 3 miles).

A couple of people didn’t have their kids on a leash and were flying up behind hikers on mountain bikes without saying anything. If my dog has manners, your kid can too.

But that was at the bottom. Other than that was outstanding. No need for spikes or anything

Hiked on 3/3 and it was spectacular! Minimal wind and plentiful sunshine. Not much need for snowshoes until you continue up in elevation. The ice on the falls made it difficult, so ditch your snowshoes and go with microspikes at that point. Make sure you download the map and have adequate GPS as the snow can often lead you astray from the main trail. I also misplaced my cell phone at the bottom of Glass Lake (Lake of Glass?) if anyone finds it in the snowmelt. :)

A quick steep climb. A good walk in the woods.

Hiked this a few months ago and was just as amazing as everyone says. Definitely a difficult hike and not for everyone. Getting above Timberline Falls was very sketchy and difficult with the ice and wind but is necessary to make it all the way. I can't wait to come back up here in Summer

Took a pack of flatlanders up for a morning hike and had an amazing time. Wind was brutal so make sure to bring a face mask and lots of layers. No snowshoes are needed but I would advise using boots this time of year at the bare minimum. Download the map to use offline as the trail splits in a few places that can be confusing. Amazing views, and a challenging but rewarding hike.

Started early in the morning to make sure I got a parking spot. Wore spikes and carried snowshoes. The trail was well traveled with hard pack/ice at times. No need for the snowshoes. The weather was absolutely perfect! Sun, blue skies and not much wind (relatively) at all. The Loch, Glass Lake and Sky Pond all ice with no/little snow cover. The climb up Timberline Falls not bad at all and someone placed a strap at the point where it there is ice. At the lakes, a lot of exposed rock, ground so easy to get around. On the way back, the snow was softer after the sun on it all day long. Hiked it in the summer and first in winter and both beautiful in their own ways.

14 days ago

Trail was pretty clear most of the way through, there were a couple snowy stretches close to the Lake. Take your time, especially coming back, and you'll be good. Lake is frozen. Awesome views.

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.

Such a stunning hike! You can’t go wrong with hikes in Rocky Mountain but on this hike you pass so many other falls and lakes there is so much along the way. We had our trekking poles and spikes on. I don’t think we could have competed this hike without them. Very slushy in some areas and ice in others.

16 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.

Yaktrax were needed. The falls are still frozen but was a great hike.

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!!

Steep climb with nice views from the top. Make sure when at the top go to all sides to get a 360 view.

21 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.

Slept in my truck to wake up to the sunrise. Well worth it! Beautiful views

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