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Chief Mountain Trail is a 3.1 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Idaho Springs, Colorado that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. 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.

Length 3.1 mi Elevation gain 961 ft Route type Out & Back

Dogs on leash

Kid friendly

Hiking

Mountain biking

Nature trips

Snowshoeing

Walking

Forest

Views

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Scramble

Description
Waypoints (0)
Contact
Getting There

Please note that there is no parking lot at the trailhead. This trail offers great views of the Rockies in the Arapaho National Forest. The hike is a steady incline through a pine forest, thinning out at the top, with breath taking 360 degree vistas. Prominent peaks such as Pikes and Longs are easily visible. The path is rocky, well maintained, and well marked. Roadside parking may be limited on weekends. Microspikes recommended, especially at the top.

Colorado Tourism Office, 1625 Broadway, Suite 1700 , Denver, CO, 80202, Phone: 800-COLORADO

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.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (2187)
Photos (1144)
Recordings (1543)
Completed (3566)
Dayna Willems
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Jul 13 2020
HikingRocky

Really an awesome trail! Short hike up through the forest, which provides much needed shade. Path is narrow and has lots of exposed roots. It’s a steady mild incline, not very strenuous. My 5 year old did this trail no problem. At the top you are just above tree line and it has amazing views! Lots of large boulders to sit on for lunch. Windy and cool at the top even when it was 95 degrees in Denver. Lots of erosion from people walking off the trail unfortunately. We had trouble finding the trailhead since it’s just a small opening off the road itself. If you’re going uphill and you pass the ski lift you’ve gone too far. But it’s a great little hike close to the city! Definitely recommend.

Texanna Coleman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMon Jul 13 2020
Hiking

Hiked 7/12. Saw lots of families on the hike today, so it’s good for all skill levels. It’s a very narrow, easy to follow path all the way to summit, but the hike got busy at times and was difficult to maintain distance from others. Biggest con: no parking lot and having to park on the side of Squaw Pass Road, which was really busy. Overall, great hike with amazing views that’s easily accessible from Denver.

Ariel Strickland
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSun Jul 12 2020
Hiking

Very crowded. No social distancing. Most people were not wearing masks. very limited parking. A lot of trash and forgotten poopie bags. otherwise it's a beautiful hike.

paul komyatte
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSun Jul 12 2020

Hordes of people. Almost no one wearing face coverings and even fewer making any effort to distance.

Andrea Arguello-Abramson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Jul 12 2020
Hiking

I went around 7:30am and it wasn’t too crowded. The majority of the people were wearing masks but on the way down, I noticed the later crowd had less people with masks on. Probably shaded half the time. The very top of the mountain there are rocks you can climb.

View Andrea's Recording
Courtney Keene
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Jul 12 2020
Hiking

Great trail with great views! Gets pretty crowded. Left at 9:30 and there were a ton of cars

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Lexi Vance
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Jul 12 2020
Hiking

Hiked early for the sunrise which was stunning! There were 2 other groups hiking at this time. Great short hike with incredible views!

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Kelson White
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSun Jul 12 2020
HikingRocky

Not a bad hike, however, it was very rocky. Only gripes I had was 1) Not many people wore face masks, the trail gets pretty narrow in places and 2) People don't pick up after their dogs.

Allison M.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Jul 11 2020
Hiking

One of my favorite hikes - I like the variety of the landscape and you feel like you are much higher up than you are.

Lauren Levenson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSat Jul 11 2020
HikingRocky

Nice steady incline with beautiful views at the top and fun rocks to climb to see some amazing mountains! Pretty high traffic on this trail. You have to park along the street for this trail, and the trail head comes off of the main road. Very nice trail.

View Lauren's Recording
Denise G
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Jul 11 2020
Hiking

I would recommend boots with ankle support. The elevation gain is indeed the entire way up, but the way back down is as easy as can be. Genuinely wish that we could rate the fellow persons on the trail like in that crappy episode of Black mirror. If you’re going to be outdoors, please brush up on your hiker etiquette. Clean up after yourself and don’t leave your trash on the trail or your dogs used poo bags. If you’re a runner don’t go plowing through people coming down the one person wide trail (whom also have the right way) And for the love of all that is holy — bring a face mask and be respectful of those around you.

V B
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Jul 11 2020
Hiking

Awesome hike!! Very busy though.

View V's Recording
Amy Giffin
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarFri Jul 10 2020
Hiking

My family of 5 with younger teenagers did this hike mid morning on a Friday. The path was well marked, and there was a decent amount of parking along the side of the road. It wasn’t super busy although we did see a good number of people during the hike. We aren’t hikers, and this trail was a good challenge for us mostly due to the altitude. It took us around 2 hours with some stopping along the way and of course pictures at the top. The views are incredible!

Rob G
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Jul 10 2020
Hiking

I'm not an experienced hiker, just an out-of-towner looking to feel like I experienced hiking in Colorado! This trail was perfect for my family and I. It was enough incline, rock/tree root/dirt trail to feel like we were really hiking, but not too difficult that we couldn't really enjoy it. As most have said, the view at the top is worth the effort. The drive up to the trail head was awesome too. It took us about 2 hours total, but that included a few stops for pictures and a good 20-30 minutes enjoying the view at the top. Probably not ideal for families with really young kids, but definitely doable for most ages and abilities.

Chelsea Brooke
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Jul 09 2020
Hiking

We loved this trail! Easier than most hikes we do but with way better views! Parking on side of ride, trail was easy to follow, gorgeous views, some wildflowers at this time.

David Lee
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Jul 08 2020
Hiking

awesome short hike with excellent 360 views from the top.

Mindy P
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Jul 07 2020
Hiking

A great hike- not incredibly long or strenuous but very rewarding views! Will in the future bring out of town friends to hike this trail. Parking was not difficult but the trailhead may be tricky to find.

Kailee Gritu Peters
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Jul 06 2020
Hiking

Beautiful 360 views at the top of the trail! Pretty busy on a Monday. The roadside parking was all full but we just parked on the dirt after the paved parking area.

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Davis Alexander
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Jul 05 2020
Hiking

Great trail with awesome views at the end!

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Amanda Papesh
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Jul 03 2020
Hiking

Great trail for a quick hike. Beautiful views. Definitely worth it. The drive to the entrance through Echo Lake is worth it too. It is a little hard to find on the side of the road but I would do it again.

Tyler McCurdy
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Jul 03 2020
Hiking

My first trail visiting Colorado, definitely worth the hike up; views are incredible. Side note, pay attention to the path, myself and my friend got a little lost for a few minutes.

Jenny Gritton
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Jul 03 2020
Hiking

What a lovely trail! Surrounded by pines the entire way up, with a clearing at the top and some scrambling to get to the highest point. Perfect for a cloudy Friday morning in July, took not much more than 2 hours total to hike and was never super steep. Parking isn't as tricky as I'd feared since the pull-out for parallel parking across from the trailhead is surprisingly long, and the drive through the canyon to get there was spectacular! And of course the view at the top was RAD. Would definitely recommend!! I'll be back here.

Steve Connolly
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarThu Jul 02 2020
Hiking

Had intended to climb this mountain but got on to the Squaw Mt. trail/road farther east instead. When I printed my map the level of zoom did not show the Squaw Mt trail at all. Just something to be aware of. Still a nice climb with excellent views.

Bridget Hogan
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarWed Jul 01 2020
Hiking

Awesome trail!! Wonderful views.

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Jenny Wise
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Jul 01 2020
Hiking

Perfect day! Fabulous views!

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Pamela Less
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Jul 01 2020
Hiking

This will always be one of my favorite hikes. Steady incline. Trees, open views and a little scramble at the top.

Emily Rhoades
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Jun 30 2020
HikingScramble

6.30- Tuesday, arrived at 9am. Parking is off to the side/across from the trailhead. No restrooms at the trailhead. But you pass a few Picnic Areas on the way up. Trail was an even terrain, steady incline during the entire trail. The last 30ft to the Summit was a little bit of a scramble, views were great! Trail was busy, but not crowded maybe passed 25 people during our hike.

julia oster
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Jun 29 2020
Hiking

Not very much parking, but wasn’t too busy. Great views. Lots of chipmunks!

View julia 's Recording
Toni Lapp
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSun Jun 28 2020
Hiking

Good moderate trail that’s off the beaten path, so to speak, with fewer crowds. No parking lot, just a pull-off area to parallel park. Got winded from the thin air. Great views at top.

View Toni's Recording
Renee Vincelli
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Jun 28 2020
Hiking

Awesome trail! Definitely keep an eye out for the trail head as it kind of sneaks up on you! It is beautifully shaded and has VIEWS FOR DAYS!!! Highly recommend!!

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