Hiking Trails in Colorado | Chief Mountain Trail

Trail InformationHiking Trails in Colorado Chief Mountain Trail

Trail Name: Chief Mountain Trail

Location: Near Idaho Springs, Colorado

Date: November 24, 2019

Time at the Trail Head: 7:30 am

Trail Length: 3.1 miles

Elevation Gain: 984 feet

Elev. at Trail Head: 10,729 feet

# of Hikers Passed: 27

# of Mnt. Bikers Passed: 0

# of Horses Passed: 0

Mosquitoes: 0

Trail Research

I was talking to one of my colleagues in the office and he told me about one of his favorite trails to hike in the Rockies near Denver, called Chief Mountain. He told me it had some incredible views of the surrounding mountains and was he ever right.

I quickly did some research on AllTrails and learned what I needed to know and also checked the weather before I chose the day to hike the trail, as we have had several snow storms in the area recently.

AllTrails Map | Chief Mountain Trail

Everything turned out exactly as my friend had told me and what I had learned from AllTrails.

Drive to the Trail

There are several beautiful drives you can take to Chief Mountain. You can drive through the beautiful town of Evergreen or choose the magnificent dive up I-70 towards Idaho Springs, Colorado. You can reach the trail from two directions if you drive up I-70 but the one that takes you up closer and higher by Mount Evans may be more difficult in the winter months.

We chose to drive through Evergreen, Colorado, and that is a drive I never tire of. My wife are seriously considering buying a home there in the next year.

The roads were clear of snow and ice in Evergreen but it wasn’t long after leaving the area around Elk Meadow that we encountered winding mountain roads, where much of it is in the shadow of the mountain, which means packed snow and ice which doesn’t like to melt right away.

Hiking Trails in Colorado Chief Mountain Trail

My Day on the Trail

It was obvious that the trail would be packed snow the entire way. I told my kids that I would be using trekking poles and IceBreakers on this hike and they both laughed and said “not us.” Well, I made it to the top of a short incline, using my trekking poles but not my IceBreakers and that’s where I stopped and put my YakTrax on.

Leki Trekking Poles



Let’s just say that after pulling on my ICETrekkers and using my Leki Trekking Poles, I never fell even once, and don’t even remember slipping. Compared to my hike up Legault Mountain and falling 4 times, this trail was much more enjoyable to hike, due to the hiking gear.

ICETrekkers Diamond Grip Traction Cleats (1 Pair), X-Large (Men's 13), Black
  • Shoe grips designed to provide aggressive traction in winter walking conditions
  • Made of case-hardened steel alloy and strung on steel aircraft cable
  • Riveted to tough rubber sling that fits tennis shoes, boots and dress shoes
  • Sling remains elastic even in subzero temperatures to keep grips secure
  • Self-clearing design prevents snow and ice buildup

We were in the woods for most of the hike but it was a short hike and I knew we would be breaking out to see some incredible mountain views.

Hiking Trails in Colorado Chief Mountain Trail

Hiking Trails in Colorado Chief Mountain Trail


Now, things started to look up. It was cold but it was a beautiful day. The closer we got to the top of Chief Mountain, the colder it became and the stronger the winds blew.

Hiking Trails in Colorado Chief Mountain Trail


Hiking Trails in Colorado Chief Mountain Trail

This is the point where Ranger, my daughter’s dog, started to get wiped out due to his playfulness in the snow. I wasn’t sure if he would make it but we were not far from the summit of Chief Mountain so we kept going. The wind really started picking up at this altitude.

Hiking Trails in Colorado Chief Mountain Trail

Hiking Trails in Colorado Chief Mountain Trail

It was only a few more minutes before we crested the top of Chief Mountain

Hiking Trails in Colorado Chief Mountain Trail

Grace on Chief Mountain

Grace & Dad on Chief Mountain

It was time to put the trekking poles up and climb up the remaining 30 feet to the top of Chief Mountain. You don’t need to be a technical climber. You just need to have some determination and take a little care with the drop offs.

This was a spectacular hike and the views at the top of Chief Mountain were worth the pain as we stood atop the mountain and took in 360 degree views.

Hiking Trails in Colorado Chief Mountain Trail

Hiking Trails in Colorado Chief Mountain Trail

Hiking Trails in Colorado Chief Mountain Trail

Hiking Trails in Colorado Chief Mountain Trail

I wish we could have stayed there longer but the wind was really strong and our fingers were freezing off as we took our gloves off to take some pictures. I need to find a way to take pictures while staying warm.

I’ll leave you with this panoramic photo so you can see a little more of what we were blessed with.

Hiking Trails in Colorado Chief Mountain Trail

Trail Recommendations

This was a trail that I learned about from a co-worker and had meant to hike it for the last several months. I finally did hike it in the snow and I am so glad that I have made the decision to hike in all 4 seasons.

This trail is best hiked in the summer and up until September, when it is warmer. October and November are incredible times to go but be ready for colder weather and possibly some snow.

Lessons Learned

Leki Micro Vario Carbon AS Trekking PolesI learned that my kids are not the wisest when they refuse to wear the right gear to make their hike more enjoyable and safer. I guess we all have to grow up a little as we grow older and make some mistakes along the way that hopefully are just minor mistakes.

The Leki Trekking poles made the hike, up and down the mountain, much more enjoyable and not slipping and falling was so much nicer with the use of my ICETrekkers.

I did realize that I needed a face warmer, after my face froze off at the top of Chief Mountain. A smarter and more experienced hiker and photographer had a face warmer on and I wished I would have learned this lesson prior to this hike.

Seirus Ultra Clava Black SM/MD
  • POLARTEC FLEECE - Provides a thermal insulation with proven durability, lightweight warmth and fast drying characteristics. A versatile combination for all cold weather activity
  • WINDPROOF AND WATERPROOF - Seirus exclusive Weathershild tri-laminate fabric keeps you warm in the coldest, wettest conditions
  • COMFORTABLE - Weatherproof combination of Lycra outer and Fleece inner with a wicking lining keeps your skin dry
  • 4-WAY STRETCH - Will stretch to fit over goggles and central breathing holes provide increased ventilation
  • VERSATILE - 3-in-1 Ultra Clava can be worn as a face mask, neck gator, full hood, or a combination of these

You can see some of my hike in this YouTube video.

Please leave a Comment below or Email me. I would love to hear about great trails you know about.

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Chief Mountain Trail


Scenic Drive




Mountain Views


Lake or Stream Views


Well Maintained Trails



  • Breathtaking Mountain Views
  • Beautiful Drive
  • Short Hike
  • 360 Degree Views


  • No Creeks or Lakes
  • Parking Area at Trailhead

8 thoughts on “Hiking Trails in Colorado | Chief Mountain Trail”

  1. Interesting to see and know of. Though I hike too but it is usually once or twice in a year. It feels good seeing how much time and energy you have invested into this. I would be thrilled to give a go to this too. The views from the chief mountain trail are worthy and they look rather beautiful even from the pictures. However, I would love to see them myself too. Thanks

    • You know how it is, nothing is as incredible as seeing it yourself.

      It’s hard enough to describe the scenery but even harder to relay the emotions and smells on the trail. Some times I have to stop at a location and just breath in the fresh air, especially when there is that great smell from the pine trees.

      I hope you find time to get out more to some great trails where you live.


  2. Hi Rick, thank you very much for publishing a great article about “Hiking Trails in Colorado”. Trail is mostly packed snow. Some parts are icy but wore lightweight hiking shoes and got up and down fine. (Would still recommend spikes for an easier walk down.) awesome 360 views on top. cool and windy up top, be sure to layer up. I hope to get more great article from you in the future.

    • I am usually getting out to at least one trail each week, if not two. I am planning another hiking trip west of Colorado Springs in a few days.

      I love writing and creating videos about the trails I visit so don’t worry…the trail reviews will keep coming, even through the winter.


  3. Hi Rick. I had a fun time reading through this report of yours. I think the Hiking Trail in Colorado is one of the best I have read about so far. It is really amazing to see how beautiful it was out there and a good report you have brought on how you enjoyed it plus I also learnt some lessons from it too.

    Best regards!

    • Thanks. I am glad you enjoyed the trail review.

      I love getting outdoors and finding new trails, plus learning new things. I have always thought I was smart but I’m realizing at the age of 54, that I have a lot more to learn. I love talking to other people on the trail to find other great trails to hike and see what gear they use.

      Of course, I have to remember to also look up and enjoy the scenery from time to time.


  4. Wow! This is interesting and educating too as I had both fun and learning at the same time. Professionals don’t joke with safety and we shouldn’t joke with it either. It is okay to make mistakes only if we learn from them.

    Your Leki Trekking poles looks great as it has made your hiking enjoyable, fun and safe too.

    Thank you for sharing your experience with the Hiking Trails in Colorado (Chief Mountain Trail).

    • Thank you for the support. I will pass that on to my kids.

      I use to be young and stupid once, or maybe it is extreme confidence but I have learned a few things throughout my life. One of those things is to talk to others on the trail and see what gear they use and what works for them. 

      I have been doing my best to pass that information along but some people, like my kids, need to hear and learn from someone else, other then their dad.

      The Leki Trekking Poles are awesome, lightweight and fold up easily.

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.



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