Chief Mountain Trail

EASY 320 reviews
#6 of 126 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 is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding 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

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.

hiking
3 days ago

4 days ago

Hands down the best hike close to Denver. It’s a hidden gem, so don’t tell too many people! It starts through the evergreen trees and then breaks open at the top and overlooks spectacular views of the mountain range. Hike all the way to the top - you feel on top of the world and get a 360 view! In November it was a little icy to start but don’t let that deter you. Bundle up, it’s worth it! Fairly easy hike and the views you get are breathtaking. I’ve already gone back!

hiking
15 days ago

The views are spectacular. 360 degrees of beauty. You can see everything from Pikes Peak to Longs. Really windy and cold at the top. Snow and a little ice covered the trail (11/24). Mileage seems to be a bit off. I tracked it as about 4 miles. Beautiful, worth the trip.

Love this trail for a number of reasons. It is only an hour from Denver. You approach the peak from the east face which means that most of the time you are shielded from the intense winds - first in the forrest and then from the summit itself towards the top. Finally, it is probably one of the best effort to payoff ratios on the front range. I rate it as a harder easy, but the views at the top are breathtaking. I counted seven 14ers from the summit and probably missed a couple. Highly recommend.

Just remember that it is over 10k feet so expect normal high altitude conditions - cold, high winds, exposure. So confused to see people in tennis shoes and hoodies on this trail. Watched several slips/falls and several folks looked quite cold!

hiking
17 days ago

hiking
17 days ago

hiking
19 days ago

Very easy hike with some great views. Some snow and icy spots but can easily make the hike without spikes. However if you don’t feel fleet of foot spikes will help.

I would suggest hitting the trail by 8am. We Had 10 mins on the Peak to ourselves and then past several groups going up as we headed back down.

19 days ago

Amazing 360° view at the top is well worth it!!

20 days ago

Beautiful trail! I would consider the last half mile closer to moderate because it is much more of an incline AND it's above trendline so the wind made it very difficult. I had a tough time finding the trailhead, and don't think I took the correct one but it worked. I started at Echo Lake and worked east 5 miles. Just before mile marker 18 there is a pull off parking spot and on the south side of the road there is a trail for "Old Squaw Road". Like I said, this wasn't the correct trailhead, but it worked because I couldn't find the right one. If you hike east about 3/4 of a mile it meets up with the Chief Mountain trail.

Either way, it was a beautiful trail with spectacular views! It had recently snowed so I didn't have to worry about the ice, but there were a couple of spots where the drifting snow made it tough to find the trail.

29 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

Hiked this trail today with a 4 year old and 2 1/2 year old. It’s pretty snowy (packed) and icy at times. Gorgeous trail, started off shaded which made for a chilly start. The trail opens soon after the start and the sun kept us warm after that. Family friendly and worth the elements!

hiking
1 month ago

It’s entirely uphill until the summit, and then an easy downhill on the way back. It’s pretty icy right now, we slipped a few times.
GORGEOUS views at the top.
Heavily trafficked on a Saturday night.

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

1 month ago

Great trail. Super easy. I went tonight and the current trail condition is pretty icy

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike.It's one of my favorites! This morning the trail still had packed snow and a lot of ice. We saw a few people fall. Be prepared and have good traction options with you. Windy up top, but absolutely GORGEOUS!

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
2 months ago

Trail conditions are pretty icy in some areas with a lot of snow and mud. I was having a hard time in hiking boots so crampons and walking poles would've helped a lot in this case. Great views at the top. Saw people hiking in sneakers, sandals, and shorts. Not appropriate at all and dangerous.

hiking
2 months ago

Great views... quick and easy.

hiking
2 months ago