The Best Local Hikes: Chinns Lake
For those of you that want to get out into some nature over Memorial Day weekend but have no idea where to go, I’m here to help. Since moving to Colorado I have tried to explore as much of it as I can. My favorite part is you really don’t need to venture far to find some gems. Just outside of Idaho Springs lies a magical road called “Fall River Road” or exit 238 off I-70W for the technical person.
Fall River Road not only showcases amazing mountain properties but also a vibrant system of lakes, creeks, hiking trails, miles of off-road trails and more camping spots than you should try to count. If I had to guess though I’d say, there’s roughly 18,279. Out of all those places to camp is my favorite and go to for any out of town guests, Chinn’s Lake.
Starting late May to Early June this wonderland gives way to one of the most beautiful sights you’ll see. Getting there however can be tricky, unless you have a high clearance 4x4, then you’re good to go. If you don’t the hike is a decent one, mostly uphill, but definitely worth it. Once you get to the top you’ll see two lakes, one lower than the other. Campsites dot the first lake on both sides. Drive in and camp right next to a lake. Its an experience you won’t soon forget.
For those feeling more adventurous there’s yet another surprise to behold. A THIRD LAKE!! That’s right. If you go to the farthest you can drive around the trail, through the lakes, there’s a trail that will take you to the third and final lake of Chinn’s. The hike there is honestly my favorite part. Not only do you get waterfalls, but you’re forced to walk through open areas completely filled by wildflowers. This all leads to the third and final lake which has an almost infinity pool effect.
Still not enough nature for you? Chinns isn’t going to disappoint. Above the third lake lies a massive rock outcropping you can climb on. When you do you’ll be able to see a narrow trail along the ridge up to the top of the mountain. The granddaddy spot of them all. You can see all three lakes from up here PLUS the huge Fall River Reservoir area to the left! You’ll want to be sure to bring a good panoramic camera with you. I’m not including the picture from my trips with this one as its worth the surprise but if you’d like to see what you’re in for I can gladly email you!