Chief Mountain Trail on Squaw Pass Road

Chief Mountain Trail

Chief Mountain Trail is one of the most exciting climbs from parking lot to summit. This is a very popular day hike due to its mountain beauty, convenience to Denver, and its relatively short length to the summit. You are sure to meet many fellow hikers along the way or merely relaxing at the top.

Just off Squaw Pass Road is a small parking area; pullover on the enlarged shoulder and park (mile marker 18). The trail head is on the opposite side of the road up the embankment. The trail is marked with a white stake. The trail gradually winds up through pleasant forest for half the hike up into alpine-like surroundings above tree line. As the trail comes out of the trees, the views of the surrounding mountains to the north and west appear. At the summit are huge granite outcroppings that you can climb for a spectacular 360 degree view of the foothills, valleys, and Rockies to the west!!

Trees on Chief Mountain

Mount Evans is a close neighbor to Chief Mountain and if you look closely, you’ll be able to see cars slowly moving up the Mt. Evans road (the highest paved road in the USA).

Top of Chief Mountain

The end of the trail, at the top of Chief Mountain is ideal for picnicking with the family. There’s plenty of space to spread your feast – the atmosphere is great too!! Although there are usually many hikers, there is still plenty of space to eat with some privacy.
No restrooms available at trailhead or parking lot.

Top of Chief Mountain Trail

On top of Chief Mountain and snow caps

8 thoughts on “Chief Mountain Trail on Squaw Pass Road

  1. Guest

    Just did this hike with my dog, very nice trek and trail was clear with no litter/debris. Room to stand aside w/ dog and let others pass if needed, not too busy but enough people where I wasn’t worried to hike alone. Dogs are supposed to be leashed but we came cross a couple that were not; they were very well behaved however so no problems for my sometimes skittish collie mutt. Summit was quite pretty, good 360 view but very windy. We had to take a water/snack break further down the trail due to the wind. Would do this one again, THANK YOU!! 🙂
    trail is between mile markers 19 and 18, and as they said where the cars are is the spot!

    Reply
    • Tim Norton

      Glad you liked it! And by the way it always seems windy up there. This is one of our favorites, we would consider it a top 5 hike in this area. Thanks for sharing!

      Reply
      • marynorton

        We were up there a couple weeks ago and the snow is mostly melted. And Chief Mtn. Trail is open all year.
        The road (CO 103) is open and clear.

        If you want to check on the road conditions in the future, check http://www.cotrip.org/home.htm . All road closures are listed on that page. As you can see, CO Hwy 103 is not listed at this time.
        Have a great hike. It’s a nice one!

        Reply
  2. Lynn Therrien

    We loved this hike. Just the right amount of rigor for our family. Seth probably couldn’t do much more than this. He loved it too though. We played with squirrels at the top! Might still try to camp next weekend? Any suggestions where we might see colors or Elk? Miss you guys!

    Reply
  3. Chuy

    Awesome hike! Just did it yesterday December 29th in the snow. Squaw Pass road had a little ice on it but I made it up just fine in my Chevy Cobalt. The trail was snow-packed and while most people were wearing snow shoes, you really didn’t need them. The hike was moderate in the snow and is actually 5.8 miles roundtrip (.9 from the road to the main trailhead, and then 2 miles to the top, one way). Bring a camera.

    Reply

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