Chihuahua Gulch Trail

HARD 61 reviews
#30 of 194 trails in

Chihuahua Gulch Trail is a 6.6 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Dillon, Colorado that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and trail running and is best used from June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

6.6 miles
1,643 feet
Out & Back

dog friendly


trail running


wild flowers



washed out

Directions from Vail: Travel 29 miles east on I-70 to Silverthorne. Travel east on U.S. Highway 6 past Keystone, turn right onto Montezuma Road,FDR 5. Follow this road for 4.6 miles, turn left onto Peru Creek Road, Forest Service Road 260. Go about 2 miles, to the Chihuahua Gulch four wheel drive road on the left.

3 days ago

Overall great workout! Minimally crowded for a Saturday hike. Start at 4wd road 263 and continue about 2 miles until you see a brown post with “no motor vehicles” labeled on it. At this point take a left to follow the trail. From there you just continue on that trail until you hit the lake. The last 0.5mile is pretty steep but totally manageable, even for dogs! Definitely worth the work to get up there. If you go to the lake and back it is around 8.2miles, the red trail on the all trails map goes into the gulch not to the lake.

4 days ago

Great hike. Saw a couple trucks driving up Chihuahua road, we hiked just as fast. Water was low so no wet feet for us. Pretty views the whole way, lots of different kinds of wildflowers. Not busy!!!

9 days ago

Beautiful views and wildflowers. Challenged my lungs on the way up till opened into beautiful meadow with wildflowers and amazing views.

21 days ago

tough hike up to the lake but worth it.

23 days ago

A lot of vehicles on the road.

24 days ago

Hiked today and was lightly traveled. Beautiful Mountain View’s and wildflowers everywhere. Suggest continuing to chihuahua lake, another mile, to admire the view of the lake. 1900 ft climbing to the lake.

1 month ago

Beautiful hike through meadows with lots of mountain flowers, crossing the stream several times. Steep scramble at the top to get to the lake.

1 month ago

3 hours to lake. 2 hours back, ish.
A tough one! Bring enough water.
Absolutely loved this hike!

1 month ago

I did this hike twice last year. The first time I got a little lost and veered right onto a different trail that goes toward gray's peak. The second time I didn't veer right and stayed left on the trail and there was the chihuahua gulch sign. The water was so blue and breath taking!! I highly recommend this hike to anyone. I will say if hiking sandals are your thing, this hike is perfect for them. You cross the river a few times. The road up was a little rocky but my car made it up(not 4wd).

1 month ago

This isn't the trail to chihuahua end up in a gulch (ruby?) pretty but no start on 263 but there's an off shoot trail to SW you must take to get to lake...wish someone would put a cairn there...I couldn't find it...bring a very good map to get to lake

2 months ago

Chihuahua lake is below Grizzly Mountain, not to where the map above guides you. Be prepared to cross the stream multiple times! The hike was stunning with 360° views of mountains. Near the top, there is hard packed snow (but some snow would sink you to your knees) and there is a scramble at the top. The trail is hard to follow at the top because of the snow but the trail runs flat around to the right (east) of the mountain. Definitely worth the effort and the weather was perfect. Great 4x4 off roading as well.

9 months ago

Beautiful trail! Take a snack to eat at the top!

10 months ago

This was a beautiful hike all the way around. We started hiking from Chihuahua Gulch road. We made it to the lake in about 3 hrs. However, the last trail to get to the lake was more like ROCK CLIMBING. It was hard, as the rocks were loose!! We made it to the top but the clouds were rolling in and it was freezing. So we started to head back. It was just as scary and hard going down the mountain, having to climb on unstable rocks .

11 months ago

Great trail with some challenging uphill at the end of the hike, and very rewarding mountain views.

11 months ago

Make sure you do not follow the map above (in all trails). This map is actually the ruby gulch trail.

If you want to go to chihuahua trail- as previous people have stated- stay LEFT and you'll find your way.

Whatever you do, do not follow this map on your gps. Make sure you are walking towards the lake if you are going to use the gps.!

Otherwise- beautiful hike, beautiful changes to the trees and colors.

11 months ago

Awesome hike! absolutely beautiful. Stay left when you come to the first fork and to the right of the stream is a board which makes crossing easy.

11 months ago

First time I hiked into Ruby Gulch instead of following left. Yesterday I finally made it to Chihuahua Lake. From the trailhead you follow upward until the path bends to the left and there's a nice camping spot. The first river crossing has a wood board bridge just to the right if you look for it, the first time I used the log. You follow on through a rock field that opens up into a gorgeous gulch with a rocky west wall (Mt Lenawee?) and to your right Ruby Mtn, Grays and Torrey's. Once you run into a stream that splits, head to the left, IF YOU GO TO THE RIGHT YOU END UP IN RUBY GULCH (in between Grays and Ruby Mtn, the Southwest Route to Grays) and the remnants of the Blue Danube Mine.
Next you follow north towards the lake (you can't see). I let our dog off the leash here. To the left in the rocky edge of the Mtn a coyote started barking at my border collie. Apparently this is a common reaction coyotes have to dogs as a warning of territory.
We followed on and the last mile stretch was the most difficult as you climb up with a little bit of scrambling the hillside and around to the lake. You head up left near the saddle between Lenawee and Torrey's and find a small pond. Just a little further on you will find the beautiful, turquoise, pristine, alpine lake. Once we were at the lake the clouds and wind made it chilly enough I put my beanie and gloves on. On the way down a man was heading up with his fishing pole. I tracked the hike as 8.08 miles, 3hrs 46min, with 1906.2 elevation gain. Not for the inexperienced hiker. Beautiful!! I live in Summit and want to come back next summer and try to find the century old cemetery on the east hillside. Apparently, Chihuahua once was a Silver mining town that thrived with about 200 people and 50 buildings. A devastating fire and the end of the Silver Rush put an end to this town.

11 months ago

This has now become my favorite trail. It's beautiful, the wild flowers were everywhere, the biggest valley meadow I've ever seen, you hike along the west side of Grays and Torreys, there's a beautiful lake at the top....need I go on

Monday, August 14, 2017

Had a great time. Loved all the amazing views! Not as hard as I thought it would be at all!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Super pretty and worth it! The lake is turquoise!! The views are amazing the whole hike up. You do have to hike through rivers so be prepared. The trail splits so stay to the left the whole way and you should see the chihuahua sign. Not that hard. I'd say moderate since there's a lot of flats

off road driving
Sunday, July 16, 2017

This is a very beautiful and difficult trail. You need good skid plates, 32"-35" tires would be best. You can get by with less but the large rocks will have you wanting as much sidewall as possible. Two deep river crossings 30" or so deep. Awesome views from the top!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Nice hike for family staying at Keystone.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

I loved this trail. I think it's rated Hard because if you go after some rains, there are two very swiftly moving wide streams and several large puddles you have to negotiate. But it's worth it for the views.

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Lots of water and still patches of snow up top. Still very manageable. Be prepared to get you feet a little wet and bring extra socks if that is a concern. Go early in the AM to beat the after showers and lightening. While it is ranked difficult, it is not. If you do any Mountain hiking it is moderate to easy. The water and distance increase the difficulty. Relatively easy 6 miles.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

We hiked up path (263) until we got to the crossing with Chihuahua Creek. Water was too high & fast for us, so we followed a faint trail along the creek up to the lake area. Good valley and meadow views. Roundtrip from trailhead was only about 2.5 miles and 650' elevation, but we parked about a mile from the start down the road.

Friday, September 09, 2016

Amazing place to do hiking with your dogs. It's hard at the beginning due to elevation, but you can take breaks all over the way. Excellent view, worth the effort.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Drove to the upper trail head and hiked on a whim without any prior research; crazy, I know. Was surprised to find you had to scramble over the top to find the lake, and what an amazing view it was. For me, it was jaw dropping. Saw no signs of fish in the lake; haven't checked the 'net to see if there should be any. It was fantastic; the fall colors were beautiful.

Monday, August 03, 2015

This trail was moderately difficult, but well worth the trouble for the amazing views. The trail has many water crossings, so bring some extra socks just in case. I had no trouble getting through with a good pair of hiking boots, but we had to carry the kid across a few of the deeper ones. There are a few really steep sections, but also a couple really nice fairly level areas of trail to give you a nice break. The view at Chihuahua lake is spectacular, but I think my favorite part is on the flat part of the trail right before the final climb to the top, the field is just full of flowers and offers amazing views.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Very difficult hike. As the stats say, it's a lot of elevation gain in a short distance. It was made worse by the immense run-off at this time. The creeks were very deep and hard to get across. Much of the trail was flooded by the water as well. I suggest hiking in some comfortable hiking sandals that can get wet without making your hike miserable. The hike was very beautiful so it was worth going up but we didn't make it to the lake because we were told that it was 100% frozen still (by multiple people) and decided that it wasn't worth the trek through the snow the last quarter mile. We did only see about 10 other people on our hike.

2 days ago

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