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Chief Mountain Trail

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Arapaho National Forest

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.

Distance: 3.1 miles Elevation Gain: 961 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

snowshoeing

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

scramble

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.

hiking
1 day ago

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.

hiking
2 days ago

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.

hiking
2 days ago

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.

hiking
3 days ago

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.

hiking
3 days ago

Awesome trail!! Wonderful views.

hiking
3 days ago

Perfect day! Fabulous views!

hiking
3 days ago

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

hiking
scramble
4 days ago

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.

hiking
5 days ago

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

hiking
6 days ago

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.

hiking
6 days ago

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!!

hiking
muddy
scramble
6 days ago

6/27/20 5:30am start There were 2 cars at the trailhead when we got there. Nice and shaded 75% of the way. Steady incline and then rock scramble at the top. Peaked at 7am (took a lot of breathing breaks to acclimate). We had the peak to ourselves for 15 mins before a group came up and we headed out. We passed several groups (~10) coming down. Easy to keep distance and 50/50 on the mask situation.

hiking
6 days ago

This is a great trail! Little windy at the top but the views are worth it!

hiking
rocky
8 days ago

The trailhead is a little tricky to find. When going up after you pass the "Echo Mountain" sign, park off to the right side of the road the first chance you get and the trailhead will be right across the street. Arrived at sunrise on a Fri morning. Only encountered 5 other people when going up. The views at the top are breathtaking! But once you get closer to the top, be prepared for less shade and more windy conditions. Headed down around 8am and ran into 20 more people. Would definitely do it again!

hiking
9 days ago

It’s an easy to find and clean trail - no dog poop bags, good job people! But otherwise, quite a boring hike. It’s pretty cold and windy at the top, even when it’s 75 degrees at the trailhead so be prepared for that. Views are nice, just not any variation in the trail visuals. Parking was easy on a Thursday at 2 PM

hiking
rocky
9 days ago

This trail was nice! The entrance was a little hidden, but we parked on the side of the road and were able to find it. The incline up the mountain is moderate, and on top of the mountain is a platform type of area where you have to climb some jagged rocks to get to. The views are awesome all around, dog friendly, clean and pretty well marked. I would recommend to arrive early if you want to beat the crowds. We arrived at 7 and there were a few cars. Finished at 11:30 and street parking was full and plenty of people on trail.

hiking
12 days ago

Short and sweet

hiking
13 days ago

Amazing sunset hike!! Will definitely do a sunrise one in the near future. Highly recommend.

hiking
13 days ago

First time doing this one and it exceeded our expectations! Absolutely gorgeous in every direction. Heavily trafficked but there is room to spread out on the summit. Will definitely do again!

hiking
13 days ago

It was a great hike but I wish I was more prepare than “little wind at the top”. It was SO WINDY and SUPER COLD, you need like full winter clothes (gloves, hat, warm coat). We started at 7:10am and finished back in the car at 10am. We took our time, but we couldn’t stay too long at the top because it was terribly windy and cold. I know people say “easy hike” but for my outsider lungs it wasn’t that easy. At the same time, I felt very safe going up, it’s very good maintained trail. If I was able to do it, you’re able to do it, just bring water and snacks and stop to breathe. View at the top is incredible.

hiking
13 days ago

Great views, cold at the top per usual, busy but can maintain social distancing if necessary.

hiking
rocky
14 days ago

hiking
14 days ago

It was a nice short out and back with awesome views at the top! Lots of different places to take a break and check out the view when you reach the summit. Very crowded on the weekend, there wasn’t much time when we weren’t seeing people so if you like seclusion I would go on a weekday for sure. Minimal mud in a few shady spots. Chilly at the top!

hiking
rocky
scramble
14 days ago

Great quick trail not far from Denver that is a moderate challenge with a great payoff at the end. Steady incline all the way and a small scramble at the top but A+ views. I arrived at 6:30pm to do a sunset hike and there was plenty of parking available.

hiking
14 days ago

One of my faves for a quick hike close to Denver with gorgeous views. It’s windy at the top so be prepared! Also, I lost my black Whoop strap (looks kind of like a Fitbit) somewhere on the trail today. If anyone happens to find it please let me know!

hiking
14 days ago

Fabulous hike! The views at the top were incredible. The trail was a little muddy and 95% of hikers weren’t wearing masks. There are no trashcans.

hiking
14 days ago

We got there at 5:00 to hike up for the sunrise. There was only 1 other car there before us. Amazing views at the top but bring a windbreaker. By the time we came down at 7:00 there was 6 more cars parked.

hiking
muddy
rocky
snow
14 days ago

Parts of the trails were muddy from the snow (what’s left of it), but it’s superficial. Beautiful 360 views as you make your way to the top. Short hike, good workout though for the incline and altitude.

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