Chief Mountain Trail

EASY 499 reviews
#5 of 145 trails in

Chief Mountain Trail is a 3.1 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Idaho Springs, Colorado that features beautiful wild flowers and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
3.1 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
984 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

snowshoeing

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

Directions from Idaho Springs: Exit I-70 in Idaho Springs at exit 240. Go south on Colorado Highway 103. The trailhead is located 5 miles east of Echo Lake on Colorado Highway 103.

13 hours ago

Great trail. Incredible views. Worth the hike.

2 days ago

My daughters and I hiked this trail and it was breath taking! The way up can be a bit of a challenge if you aren’t used to the elevation but back down only took us 20 minutes. I can’t recommend this trail highly enough! You’ll love it!

hiking
3 days ago

This hike has a steady incline but nothing drastic. It is exposed in several parts, so start early and bring the sunscreen. The views at the top are just amazing!

hiking
7 days ago

Beautiful winding trail, with wild flowers and the occasional ground hog. Chief Mountain views are well worth the effort. I suggest getting there before 8am, the trails are kind of narrow and I starts to get pretty heavily trafficked late morning.

hiking
8 days ago

Beautiful day today on this short, but somewhat moderate (on the uphill) hike. Views half way and further towards top were amazing! In the midst of so many wildfires across our state, the skies were very blue with pretty white clouds. The parking area was very crowded at 9:30 today, lots of people on trail. Happy to see almost all dogs leashed and lots of families out! I love this hike (in ALL seasons) because it feels a little like a 14-er, but much easier and accessible for non-acclimated hikers.

8 days ago

Hike was relatively uphill the whole time but was a quick trick to the top. Would rate between easy and moderate; I’ve done hikes listed as moderate on this app that were easier (flatter) than this hike. But it is short and to the point and can be knocked out in about two hours. Great views at the top.

hiking
10 days ago

This is a great hike with stunning views. My adult sons picked this for us since it was "easy" and I'm not a regular hiker. The incline was a challenge for me so for someone not used to the mountains I would call this a moderate hike. We started the hike around 11:15 am and there wasn't many people there. It took us about 2.5 hours.

hiking
11 days ago

Wow these views are really beautiful! Pretty easy hike with a steady incline! Once you clear the trees you can break right for a cool lookout spot! We started later in the day right before sunset and only saw one other person!

hiking
13 days ago

I really enjoyed this hike. It was a nice steady incline, but not too steep. We started around early, around 7:30, and there were only a few people on the trail with us. However, by the time we started heading down there were a lot of people on the trail. The view from the top is amazing, just get there early.

hiking
13 days ago

Holy smokes that view is somethin else.

14 days ago

Short easy hike for beautiful panoramic views! Tons of flies on top of the mountain for some reason. Don’t leave your food, pack in pack out folks! Limited parking along the pass. Easy to miss the trailhead as it is directly off the side of the road.

hiking
15 days ago

I have hiked this trail 12 times over the years..eight times with my grandsons.At first they were carried up but by 3 they walked it. Gummy bear rewards helped. It was fairly crowded so parking spots on the side road were at a premium. Easy hike. Love the alpine tiny flowers and the Bristlecone Pines. And the views...amazing. Well worth your time...and so close

hiking
16 days ago

Short hike close to Denver with incredible views from the top and cool rocks to climb or just hang out! I do disagree with the “easy” rating. I hike once per week, usually 4-6 mile hikes that are rated moderate. I found this to be just as hard if not harder. It is short but you do climb almost a 1000 feet in a short amount of time, so for me not easy but very doable:...it was really hot today which always makes a bit more difficult:-)

hiking
17 days ago

Gorgeous panoramic views for a relatively short hike that is also close to the city. Wonderful route for the novice hiker or someone new to the area. A leisurely enjoyable route for an experienced hiker.

hiking
21 days ago

What a beautiful summit. If you’re acclimated to the altitudes this hike is as easy as it gets. If you’re from a low altitude place as me then it’s a good warm up for longer, harder hikes. I would recommend this hike to anyone. The granite boulders at the top gives you a perfect place to view and play landscape photographer. And the wild flowers are beautiful right now.

24 days ago

Beautiful views and light traffic on a weekday. I could see how parking and the trail itself could easily become overcrowded on weekends. I would not advise doing the trail if it’s been wet - it’s a narrow path and traction could be an issue in the lower part of the trail. I did it in about 90 min w a few stops and absolutely will be back. Climb the rocky outcrop at the end of the trail, the view is worth it and there’s plenty of spots to climb up on (I saw more than one person w a dog up there!)

25 days ago

Loved this hike as the views were breathtaking. Be mindful that you need to drive south of Idaho Spgs to mile marker 18 (18 miles) to reach the pullout on the side of the road to park. The directions state that the trailhead is 5 miles east of Echo Lake but we didn’t know where that was located until we drove by it.

hiking
25 days ago

Classic! Great views and easy enough hike. The only part that isn’t the easiest is the elevation can get ya a bit more tired than usual. This is where I take out of towners for a easier hike with beautiful views!

hiking
26 days ago

Fantastic hike, challenging enough to feel the payoff at the top. Stunning views and a few cool lookout points along the way. Super quick trip down, low traffic - highly recommend!

hiking
1 month ago

Started up the Trail at 10:30am Weds. 6/13/18 - ~8 cars parked & a little crowded at first until we let two groups go ahead of us by ~10 minutes. Trail seemed well maintained, and has a nice steady incline - good cardio-exercise mainly because of the altitude. Even with multiple short stops and a longer one at the top, we made the round trip in ~2hrs & 30 mins. Challenging altitude rewarded with awesome view above timber-line just before you get to the top makes this one of my favorite hikes near Denver.

hiking
1 month ago

Nice short mid-week hike without too many people. Got to the trail around 9:30 and there were only two other cars there, but by the time I returned to my car there were at least a half dozen more cars. Steady incline the whole way up, but then a pretty quick trip back down. Took less than 2.5 hours roundtrip.

I got very lost at one point when the trail opens up to an open space, but if you stay to the right the trail is fairly well-defined. Don't try to stay in the shade on the left and then veer into the forest for 20 minutes, like I did.

hiking
1 month ago

This is a great hike, although I am not sure that easy is the right rating. I would say the easy side of moderate might be better. that is because of the incline all the way in and the altitude. The views are stunning and well worth hike. Also not sure of the lenght, after you are in about 1/4 mile or more the sign says 2 miles, which would make it 4 1/2 round trip. I would recommend this hike to everyone though. So beautiful.

hiking
1 month ago

Incredible views!! Steady incline pretty much all the way up but not too strenuous. Can’t wait to come back and do this one again!

hiking
1 month ago

Quick, easy hike. Close to Denver. Great views at the top. Parking at the side of the road - no lot. Trailhead begins on side of the road. We missed it a couple times before catching our eye.

hiking
1 month ago

Get there early for parking. Currently snow and ice free. Great mountain for kids and families. Easy slow ascent most of the way up. Views at the top are fantastic, you can see most of the highest peaks in the Front Range.

hiking
1 month ago

Basically and incline the entire way up, however the panoramic pay off is worth it. Breathtaking really! The way down goes super fast and easy. I would probably say this was moderate based on the incline. Nice and shady most of the trail. We were glad we wore hiking boots, but saw others in tennis shoes.

1 month ago

My 16 year old son and I hiked this trail today around 8:00 a.m. conditions were perfect. The reviews are spot on. For us, it was the perfect hike. Amazing views at the top. A lot of fun. .

1 month ago

Tough climb, but beautiful!

hiking
1 month ago

Easy to moderate. Gorgeous 360 view atop the mountain. Would do on a regular basis if living around the Denver metro area. Also, chipmunks are very social.

hiking
1 month ago

Wow, we loved this trail. Relatively short, but steep out-and-back. The views are incredible in every single direction. There is no trailhead, but there is a pullout just across from the trail entrance. It isn't particularly well marked. I'd say this is a good entry-level trail to high altitude hiking, and could potentially be rated moderate. It got our blood pumping!

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