Chief Mountain Trail on Squaw Pass Road
Updated on May 22, 2012 by Mary Norton
DifficultyModerate. Elevation gain approx. 900 ft.
Trail Length2 Miles Round trip
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!!
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).
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.
DirectionsFrom Denver take I-70 west. Exit Evergreen Pkwy (exit #252). Go about 3 miles to Squaw Pass Road (Hwy 103). Go right on Squaw Pass for 12 miles to Echo Mountain Ski Resort. Look for parking area on right side of the road near mile marker 18. The lot is just past the ski area. The trailhead is on the opposite side of the road (south side).
AttractionsWhere Squaw Pass Rd. and Evergreen Pkwy intersect, try eating at Tuscany Tavern - they offer wonderful fresh Italian food (the fresh Mozerella and tomatoes with basil are wonderful). http://tuscany-tavern.com/
About Mary Norton, Contributor of this Hike
Mary grew up here, so she knows all the best places to go! With a family of 6 children and no lack of enthusiasm for the outdoors, Mary is well qualified to give you tips and hike spots that will challenge you as well as delight your whole family. Whether you have kids, dogs, or are just looking to enjoy nature by yourself, Mary will show you where to go to find what you are looking for.