Chief Mountain Trail

EASY 348 reviews
#6 of 135 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.

4 days ago

Awesome views . Short and sweet

hiking
4 days ago

Went up on snowy trails today with yaktraks on my boots. Windy at the top, but the hike was easy, even in the snow. Out and back in just under two hours.

hiking
16 days ago

I did this in the summer. Fantastic views considering the relatively minimal effort needed to get to the top. Short, sweet and rewarding!

25 days ago

Hiked this on Sunday, 1/28 and had great time! Quick and painless with the climb only being 1.5 miles... LOTS of snow but it’s pretty packed down on the trail. Micro’s helped a lot but I wouldn’t have been mad if I brought my snowshoes, as well... not a necessity, just would have helped with traction. But there’s plenty of off-trail exploring to be done so bring your snowshoes if that tickles your fancy... BEAUTIFUL views. Great hike!

hiking
1 month ago

Me and my pup went on 1/18. It did have snow on the ground, but I had regular hiking boots and me and my dog were fine and able to make it to the top. But,A little icy in some spots so be careful. Closer to the top there wasn't any snow or ice. . At the top it had gorgeous views of the mountain range!!
When you do get there, there really isn't a parking lot (parked on the side of road) and the sign is small if your driving to it the first time. I drove back and forth trying to find it. The directions does take you to the spot, you just have to park your car on the side road and get out to cross over and find it.

hiking
1 month ago

Hiked 1/20/18 and it was a great hike. It was snow packed up to the tree line and then mostly snow free above the treeline. I did not need or use micro spikes until I had started down and hit the treeline, they made the trip down very easy. Great views at the top made the climb worth the short effort.

1 month ago

This trail features 360 views from WY, the entire continental divide and all the way to Pikes Peak! A definite must hike!!

snowshoeing
1 month ago

I snow-shoed this trail at the end of December. It was snowpacked until the last half mile. We took our snowshoes off and hike to the summit, which is just stunning! It was great to be in the trees for most of the way to break the wind. at the top it's exposed and windy, but worth the views. It's nice and steep for a good workout, but not long.

hiking
1 month ago

Awesome hike! The trail itself was packed snow, ice in just a couple of spots. We hiked with our mother in law and 2 dogs with Salomon hiking shoes...I would’ve liked to have some sort of traction for my mother in law but it was doable without! Verrrrry cold at the top. Will definitely do it again!

hiking
1 month ago

Not too long but feels like a workout after. Great time!

hiking
1 month ago

Went early on New Year’s Day! Quiet. Needed spikes until the top. Gorgeous 360 views of the mountains.

hiking
1 month ago

Very little snow up on the trail today, hard pack w icy spots. Recommend spikes but probably not critical. Very windy at the top but great views w 2 kids and a dog.

1 month ago

fun for an easy day

hiking
2 months ago

Such an amazing hike!!! We had the trail to ourselves until we were at the bottom. I was a little worried about the condition of the trail, but the snow was packed really well and wasn’t too slick until you got near the top where it was mostly ice, not snow. If you have trekking poles and/or spikes I would recommend bringing them, but I’m sure you’ll be fine without them. It is definitely worth the trip! Happy hiking!!!

2 months 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
2 months 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.

2 months ago

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
2 months 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.

3 months ago

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

3 months 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.

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