Chinns Lake Trail is a 2.7 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Idaho Springs, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, fishing, and mountain biking and is best used from June until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 2.7 miles Elevation Gain: 728 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

fishing

hiking

mountain biking

walking

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

snow

Directions from Idaho Springs: Take I-70 west to exit 238. Take Fall River Road to the Fall River Reservoir Road, 6.5 miles from I-70. Go 2.5 more miles on this road to Chinns Lake turnoff. The trail begins here.

snow
30 days ago

Impassable at 39.81036, -105.66492 due to massive snow drifts. Lifted 4Runner, 33s aired down to ~12psi and no luck.

hiking
1 month ago

My car got stuck before made to the trail. Would not recommend until summer

snowshoeing
snow
3 months ago

hiking
snow
5 months ago

Road to trail head is extremely snowed in. We are in a Ford Explorer with using 4-wheel drive could not access trailhead. Definitely would have gotten stuck. We turned back. Snowmobile access only

hiking
snow
6 months ago

Tons of snow right now, definitely great for snowshoeing! Made it up to the lakes with just spikes, but would bring snowshoes next time. 11/16/19

hiking
7 months ago

The road leading up to the trailhead is extremely rocky and you definitely would need 4WD. Once I got up to the lake it was super beautiful, but then I continued hearing gun shots pretty close nearby so ran down and it kind of ruined the experience!

hiking
rocky
8 months ago

The trail is on a Jeep road the entire time, and there’s tons of cars coming by passing. There was also a van stuck in the middle of the trail, so be sure you have a high clearance car. We had to park a mile before TH because of this. There isn’t much coverage, and the cars kick up dust. The lakes are beautiful though and you can take a trail along the side of the lake on the way back through the trees. Wouldn’t do this hike again.

hiking
rocky
8 months ago

ohv/off road driving
blowdown
9 months ago

camping
bugs
rocky
9 months ago

ohv/off road driving
bugs
rocky
10 months ago

Drove up to Chinns lake and then hiked to Slater lake this weekend. The dispersed camping around Chinns was a *!&$-show. Every possible spot was taken, tons of people, really loud, crowded. Slater was a different story. Easy hike up on an obvious trail. Several good spots around the lake. Only saw a couple of other people camping up there. Several groups of hikers came through Saturday, families and so on. One college age group came up and made an ass of themselves, even leaving trash on the shoreline. Otherwise it was a decent place to get away. Bring bug spray, the mosquitoes are hungrier than the fish and relentless.

fishing
muddy
snow
10 months ago

Was up the trail on Sunday still covered in snow as previously stated to get to the lower part of the lake. Made it up fine on the right side by the Boulder with a 2019 Cherokee trailhawk, was sketchy coming back down, saw a Wrangler Hardrock rubicon parked right next to the lake. I definitely agree should be rated moderate based on just the road up and the hill to get to the lake.

ohv/off road driving
muddy
rocky
snow
10 months ago

7/7/19 Snow is still blocking the trail at the top just below lower Chinns res. Will need decent clearance to pass. I saw a newer jeep at the first campsite, but the trail is snowed over going around the lower reservoir. You can park at the switchback and hike the rest.

ohv/off road driving
11 months ago

Headed up Chinns Lake trail this morning and made it to about 11000 ft, to a big U-turn. The trail was impassable after that due to snow, This section of trail is definitely not EASY, but probably more like MODERATE. Headed back down the trail and turned left on Rainbow Road trail up to Fall River Reservoir. A beautiful trail and EASY. The reservoir area is a great place to picnic. It's at about 10,800 ft.

ohv/off road driving
blowdown
muddy
snow
washed out
11 months ago

We followed google maps to mackinaw lane instead of just following 275/rainbow rd. Super fun! But more difficult than you would expect. Very tight, washed out and big rocks to get over. It also say private property but we went anyway, oops. If you want easy go the real way. We tried to get through the snow towards the end of the trail before the switch back. No luck and thanks to the kindness of strangers they helped us not go over the cliff! There’s even more snow up further I don’t think you could make it with a vehicle right now. Hiking you could. The trail was not difficult so I’m sure in mid-July we could make it!

snow
11 months ago

Very narrow in places. We were in a JKUR with 2.5" lift and 33s and didn't really have much trouble. We only got one rock and it was on the way out where there was a tight turn that was hard to line up. Really beautiful but we only made it about 200 yards up after the last split from what I think is Fall River roadbefore coming to impassable snow drifts

cross country skiing
Sun Mar 17 2019

Couldn't even make it to the trail. Snow is too soft and had about three cars stuck along Rainbow Road (Jeep Cherokee, Nissan Xterra and Subaru Crosstrek). Single track currently with no turn arounds - tow trucks aren't sending trucks up the road due to conditions. If you really want to go, I advise parking at the fork and hiking the extra mile in as opposed to risking getting your car stuck.

Fri Dec 28 2018

Fun Jeep drive. Close to Denver but far away.

ohv/off road driving
Wed Oct 17 2018

4wd and some clearance needed. Truck or SUV recommended. Short trail, great views!

ohv/off road driving
Mon Oct 08 2018

Nothing difficult about this trail, suitable for most 4wd vehicles with only a handful of areas that require ground clearance. It’s short and easy enough to be perfect for someone getting familiar with off-roading or just looking for something quick to explore. The views at the lake are very nice and worth the trip. Would make a great place to pitch a tent for a night or two but you would definitely have company. Almost stock 1995 Jeep YJ 2” lift, 31” tires

ohv/off road driving
Mon Sep 17 2018

Very pretty drive in forested area. The lakes were very low, but it looked like very decent camping. Nothing spectacular.

hiking
Wed Sep 05 2018

Never found Chinn Lake. Asked a local at St Mary's Glacier and he told us to go back to an unknown road that he thought was the reservoir road. After finding it, drove only 1.4 miles before giving up and turning around as the road was so bad even in an SUV. The road is private for 3 miles before you can even park so we have no idea what existed further out. Good luck.

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