Only an hour west of Denver, Colorado, Chief Mountain Trail is one of the most convenient hikes nearby that gets you above the timberline, and offers 360 degree views of the surrounding mountains from the top of Chief Mountain. The trail is only 3 miles round trip with a gradual incline that isn’t overly strenuous. It’s a great beginner's summit hike, and the pawfect way to spend some quality time outdoors with your canine companion!
The Chief Mountain Trailhead can be found on Squaw Pass Road just across from a small parking lot, near the Echo Mountain Ski Area. The trailhead can be easy to miss, so keep your eyes peeled for small sign that says “Chief Mt. Trail”. Once you’ve parked, the trail begins on the south side of the road just east of the parking area. From here you can start your adventure with Fido!
You’ll start by passing through a fir and spruce forest, until you quickly find yourself above the timberline and in alpine tundra. From here, the trail continues along a series of switchbacks, and becomes more demanding and steep, but you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views! From the top of Chief Mountain, you can enjoy panoramic views of snow-capped landscapes. This includes an overlook of the Bear Creek Basin, including Mount Evans, Mount Goliath, Rogers Peak and Roslin Peak.
This trail can be very popular on summer weekends, so try to go early in the morning or on weekdays. The trail is open year-round weather permitting, so you can watch the changing fall colors, or even enjoy the trail by snowshoes or cross-country-skis in a winter wonderland. Dogs are welcome to join their humans on this trail, as long as they follow proper petiquette. This involves staying leashed at all times, and being picked up after. Bring your own water and clean up bags.
The view from Chief Mountain Trail vastly outweighs the effort, and gets hikers raving and tails wagging every time.