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Mount Chiquita via Chapin Pass Trail [CLOSED]

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Rocky Mountain National Park

Mount Chiquita via Chapin Pass Trail is a 5 mile out and back trail located near Estes Park, Colorado that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and running and is accessible year-round.

Distance: 5.0 miles Elevation Gain: 2,057 feet Route Type: Out & Back

hiking

running

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

snow

closed

no dogs

It has been reported this trail has a temporary closure due to COVID-19. Please see the park's website for up to date information.

hiking
rocky
8 months ago

Hiked this trail on Saturday Sept 7, 2019. Arrived at trailhead at 8am and there were already several cars at the trailhead but had no problem finding a place to park along side of the 1-way road. WARNING: this area is VERY windy. If it’s generally windy in RMNP on the day you head towards this trail, be prepared to bring warmer clothes. The temperature was 39/40-degrees and the winds were very strong, especially as you approach the saddle between Mt. Chapin and Mt. Chiquita. Absolutely beautiful views to the west and northwest of trail. Trail is generally easy to follow although you are walking through a well-defined path through a talus field below Mt. Chapin. About half way up to Mt. Chiquita, the trail becomes sketchy but the top/destination was obvious. There are two rock wind breakers at the top that are a welcome sight when it’s cold and windy. Nobody was attempting to continue onward to Ypsilon Mountain due to the cold/winds on this day. On the way back, encountered a few people strolling up the trail in short-sleeve shirts and no coats. I’m certain that their journey wouldn’t last very long once they got a taste of those winds further up! No luck seeing any elk on this day. Encountered one friendly photogenic marmot and saw a couple of pika.

hiking
9 months ago

This is a great hike. I am 54 years old in reasonable shape and from Alabama. The elevation is a challenge but not unreasonable. The drive up Fall River Road is amazing. We arrived at the trail head about 5:30 AM. Parking is very limited. We got up close and personal with two large bull elk early in the hike. There’s a good bit of climbing early then an enjoyable traverse across the backside of Mount Chapin. If you just get to the saddle between Chapin and Chiquita you have amazing views. Great way to summit a mountain in RNP.

hiking
no shade
scramble
9 months ago

Great hike this morning. Started around 6:40am from the trailhead. Saw some incredible elk on the way up. Trail is UP with quite a bit of rock scramble once you hit the back side of Mt Chapin along the way to the pass. Remarkable views all the way along. The ascent up Chiquita is tough. Very steep. Take your time. Follow the rock pilings once the trail disappears around 12800 ft to get your way to the summit.

hiking
scramble
9 months ago

hiking
bugs
off trail
rocky
9 months ago

Trailhead is 6.9 miles from end of pavement. As of August 3, 2019, there were still wildflowers on the trail. Mosquitoes and deer flies were bad. Heavy and slow automobile traffic on the Old Fall River Road.

hiking
snow
10 months ago

Climbed on July 6. Started at Alpine visitors Center as fall river road was still closed. This adds two miles each way and about 800 feet of elevation change. Once on the trail, there were several small areas covered with snow that had to be traversed or bypassed. The rock steps were a bit tricky, as very steep and partially snow-covered. The remainder of the hike is well graded. Two areas of snow cover on the flank of Chapin Which did not require cleats, only Poles. Left visitor Center about 730 and summitted about 11 with a nice lunch break at the saddle. Clouds are rolling in so we did not attempt Ypsilon. Heard thunder about a half hour after starting down. Beautiful trail, great views, lots of curious marmots and Picas , Loads of tiny intensely colored Wildflowers. Be very prepared for exposure and a sudden weather changes.

hiking
Sun Nov 25 2018

Some of the most beautiful hiking and scenery in RMNP. We included the summits of Mt. Chapin and Mt. Chiquita both 13’ers on this hike as well. Great views of the lower valley and park. Parking is limited on Fall River Rd. trailhead so get there early before 8 am.

Sun Sep 23 2018

9/22/18 - Wonderful views everywhere! Most of hike is above tree line. Trail somewhat marked mixed with trail searching/finding.

hiking
Mon Sep 17 2018

I loved this trail. I Had my kids with me and they thought it was great.

Sun Sep 09 2018

Great hike but had some steep sections that takes the wind out of you. Walking across the rock fields was a lot of fun. Great views from the top.

hiking
Wed Sep 05 2018

Epic trail but the last climb to the summit is no joke. I'd rate as strenuous. Leave early and bring plenty of protein and water.

hiking
Tue Sep 04 2018

I love hiking but am not in shape for it. I managed to get to 12960 elevation with .2 miles left and I almost vomited because of the elevation and exertion. All my electronics died because of the cold (it was cold enough to barely see my breath at the top) and I ran out of sun and had to run down the mountain. The first 1.5 miles is a 1000 elevation gain and the last mile Is 1000 straight up without many switchbacks. I loved every minute of this hike even though I was wrecked that night. Views are beautiful. Around dusk when I was headed to my car I saw a ton of elk and deer.

Mon Aug 27 2018

Attempted this hike last Friday (8/24). Arrived at trailhead around 6:30 with no problems finding parking. For 2 Midwesterners, we had little difficulty with the terrain, elevation, and scrambling along the trail however, not fully prepared with enough layers to combat the 30 something degree temp and atleast 40 mph winds coming up between Chapin and Chiquita. We reached the saddle between the two and turned back as we didn’t feel very safe continuing on with the gear we had. Beautiful views though and plenty of mule deer early on in the trail. Will definitely return again to complete.

Sat Aug 18 2018

Did this hike with my wife in a sleet storm. Fairly easy hike for most of the way until you turn up Mount Chiquita. Cold and exposed! Beautiful though........

Mon Aug 13 2018

A tough climb but so worth it! The air towards the top is pretty thin if you're sensitive to that. There's a bit of a scramble across rocks before you reach the saddle. If you want to avoid that, you can take the low road which branches to the left at the sign that says "all peaks this way (to the right)". That trail steepens drastically at the end though before rejoining the main trail. The climb up Chiquita is no joke! It's something like a 45% grade the whole way from the saddle but worth it. Would do again and budget more time (and food) for all three peaks. Saw huge herd of elk, several deer, and tons of pika and marmots.

Sun Aug 05 2018

We were coming from Grand Lakes, so we decided to park at the Alpine visitor center and walked down along Old Fall River Rd to the Chapin Creek trail head (2.1 miles away). This was only 40 min drive to Alpine center instead of 2 hr drive to trail head via Old Fall River Road. This trail head would be easier to get to from Estes park. The trail was beautiful. Got above tree line quickly. Then narrow rocky path along slope of mountain. We missed the trail junction turn up to Mt Chapin (turns out there is a small cairn but no trail sign) and we ended straight up Mt Chiquita which was a very difficult 1000 ft climb in the last mile requiring multiple stops. It got very windy and exposed too. The summit is very rocky (RMNP) but easily traversed. Took us 3 hrs to get up there. Coming down was easier but we got caught in light rain initially, which then turned into heavy hail storm in the last 1/2 mile as we were walking back up to the Alpine center. Should have hitched hike then.

hiking
Sat Aug 04 2018

We completed this trail today. The views are gorgeous most of the way. Loved it. You must go up the one-way Old Falls River Rd to get to the trailhead, part of which is beside a steep dropoff with no protection. Parking is limited on the road which is already narrow. You miss a parking spot, it isn't like you can turn around! My GPS registered a ways farther than 5 miles round trip, but maybe I was taking smaller steps...? It got a little strenuous on the last stretch with the incline. Many places you must be able to navigate over various-sized rocks, some of which aren't fixed into place. Bring plenty of water and extra layers as the wind was strong and chilly nearing the top. We noted elk, marmot, and pikas on this trail. There was a marmot at the top who obviously has been fed by people. Don't do it. I saw too many folks starting out too late and/or with little or no visible water. You don't want to be on this hike when bad weather moves in - lots of exposure. Start early and be done by 1pm.

Sat Aug 04 2018

Amazing views, very windy at the higher areas, we started early around 5:15am to get up the long road and get parking.

Fri Aug 03 2018

beautiful hike, and great views above treeline almost the entire way. We went to Ypsilon after Chiquita, which wasn't much longer, but the trail is almost nonexistent which made it a little tough. The views from the top of both are pretty since they're both 13ers, but Chiquita is a little flat on top which lessens the 360 views. When leaving, the one way road makes you drive all the way up to the scenic highway and then all around the park to get out. There was traffic on a Monday afternoon and it took us an hour to get out of the park.

hiking
Tue Jul 24 2018

Beautiful views of all of RMNP. The trail is well maintained. Lots of wild life—I saw a ptarmigan family above the boulder field.

hiking
Sun Jul 15 2018

Not too crowded and views are beautiful! It’s a climb at the beginning and the end but well worth it. Marmots and Pikas everywhere, so cute! It is summer so just be aware there may be some traffic and excited folks who are seeing wildlife their first time.

Wed Sep 27 2017

Great hike views are wonderful Worth the work to get to the top Winds get pretty strong on top so be Prepared

Mon Aug 28 2017

Great trail with exceptional views and lots of wildlife. We saw elk and lots of marmots.

hiking
Sun Aug 13 2017

Nice hike, there are two ways to go up the high hike across mount chapin, or valley hike up. We took the high way up and the valley hike down, no marked signs just follow the path. It was very windy and cold but was worth it, beautiful.

hiking
Thu Sep 08 2016

Awesome!

Thu Aug 25 2016

Great easy hike with amazing views

hiking
Sun Jul 28 2013

I also would not agree with "easy" but the views are spectacular! The beginning and end are pretty rough but the majority of the trail is not too bad, if you have gotten used to the altitude. Start early and continue on to Ypsilon.

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