Chimney Gulch to Lookout Mountain Summit

Challenging ascent of Lookout Mountain from its base in the town of Golden.

Hiking Difficult

Distance
11 km
Ascent
487 m
Descent
487 m
Duration
3-4 hrs
Low Point
1.8 km
High Point
2.2 km
Gradient
Chimney Gulch to Lookout Mountain Summit Map

To get to the top of Lookout Mountain, you could take the easy way (driving the road), or the hard way—hiking Chimney Gulch. This route is a linkup of three trails that makes a determined ascent from the town of Golden to the 7,372-foot mountaintop. It’s a challenging but highly rewarding workout and an easy trip from Denver.

Description

The summit of Lookout Mountain has a parking area, visitor center, historic buildings, and a lofty overlook of Golden and Denver. You’ll feel like you really earned this vista if you make the human-powered ascent of Chimney Gulch, however, rather than taking the drive. Points throughout the hike provide broad views of the surrounding landscape, including Clear Creek Canyon and peaks of the Front Range in the distance.

The trail travels through a mix of sunny, brushy slopes and shady pine forest. It is a steep and steady uphill on mostly dirt, but occasionally rocky, surface. The trail is shared with mountain bikers, who may come downhill at high speed. They should know to yield to hikers, however.

The hike is mapped here from Highway 6 to Lookout Mountain Summit. Note that it crosses Lookout Mountain Road in two places. Either crossing makes an intermediate trailhead if you want a shorter hike, but parking is scarcer at both spots than along Highway 6. From the second crossing of Lookout Road, in Windy Saddle Park, you will be following Lookout Mountain Trail for almost a mile. The final half-mile to the summit is on the hiker-only Buffalo Bill Trail.

Sources: https://www.cityofgolden.net/play/recreation-attractions/trails/chimney-gulch-trail/ https://www.visitgolden.com/listing/chimney-gulch-trail/3967/ https://www.jeffco.us/DocumentCenter/View/9388/Windy-Saddle-Park-Map

Difficulty

Difficult

Hiking trails where obstacles such as rocks or roots are prevalent. Some obstacles can require care to step over or around. At times, the trail can be worn and eroded. The grade of the trail is generally quite steep, and can often lead to strenuous hiking.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.

Remoteness

1 out of 4

Close to help in case of emergency.

Best time to visit

January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

Features

  • Wildlife
  • Historical
  • Picturesque
  • Summit Hike
  • Dog friendly
  • Wild flowers

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area