Up, Up, Up in the Mountains above Idaho Springs

When your friends who live in the Colorado mountains offer up a spot in their driveway, you say yes with much enthusiasm. You know it might be a bit chilly up there — after all, it is only the last week of May and 9,300 feet is pretty high up — but how cold could it really be? Well…it could snow within an hour of your arrival.

Idaho Springs, CO
This must be Tim’s fault. He’s the one who keeps saying he misses winter.

Fortunately, mountain weather is fickle and the snow didn’t stick around.

Idaho Springs, CO
Perched in our spot at the top of their driveway. Only a tiny amount of snow stuck to the ground.

The snow might not have amounted to much, but the cold, along with afternoon showers, persisted for much of the week. With plenty of propane to run our furnace, a fireplace in their cabin for extra warmth, big dogs to snuggle with, and a few adult beverages to warm us from the inside, we managed to survive.

Fun with friends in Idaho Springs, CO
Our generous hosts, Robin & Jeremy – Old man dog Hank – Hot dinner on the stove – Handsome Rufus – Margarita makings!
Idaho Springs, CO
We might be parked just off the road, but with an average of a single car per day driving past, this spot was less busy than most campgrounds.

On the sunny days, we got out a few times to explore the neighborhood. Robin & Jeremy live up above the town of Idaho Springs in a mountainous area where trails zig zag all around the dense forest. You really only need to step into the woods to find one.

Idaho Springs, CO
Trails, trails, everywhere
Upper Beaver Brook Reservoir
Upper Beaver Brook Reservoir
Idaho Springs, CO
The best neighborhood mountain view
Idaho Springs, CO
Mountains at sunset

Towards the end of the week, the rainy pattern subsided and the temperatures rose. Time to get outside! How does a hike to the top of Chief Moutain sound?

Chief Mountain Trail, CO
Just a little snow on the trail

Snowy. That’s how it sounds. I guess when a trail starts at an elevation of 10,700 feet and gains 1,000 feet, the chance that it will still be covered in snow at the end of May is fairly high.

Chief Mountain Trail, CO
Most of the trail looked like this.
Some of it looked like this.
Chief Mountain Trail, CO
But most of it looked like this.

While several feet of snow doesn’t make for the most ideal hiking conditions, it wasn’t difficult, just slow, and we all made it up and back down with only some minor slipping and sliding. We were also far from the only people on the trail and the snow was packed down and covered with debris which helped with traction.

Chief Mountain Trail, CO
As we climbed higher the mountains came into view.
Chief Mountain Trail, CO
Tim & Robin enjoying the view.
Chief Mountain Trail, CO
Above the tree line, the snow mostly disappeared.

By the time we got to the top, a thick bank of clouds had rolled in. So much for the abundant sunshine that was in the forecast.

Chief Mountain Trail, CO
Mt. Evans is still impressive even when partially covered by a cloud.
Grays and Torreys Peaks, CO
Grays and Torreys Peaks not quite obscured by clouds
Chief Mountain, CO
Proof that we made it!

Back down at the cabin, we celebrated our hiking victory with an afternoon/evening campfire. Robin even supplied us with s’mores.

Idaho Springs, CO
Saturday afternoon campfires with friends are the best.

Sadly, the next day it was time for us to move on. We’re determined to explore some new territory this summer, which means as much as we love Colorado, we only plan to spend a few more weeks here before heading north and west. Goodbyes were said, hugs were given, dogs were petted, and down the mountain we went.

Idaho Springs, CO
Down and around the switchbacks we go.

To save time (and because it seemed like fun) we took the most direct route into town — a switchback dirt road that winds down the mountain. Robin and Jeremy probably thought we were crazy. They always go the other way with their RV. But after driving the road a few times without the Airstream we felt confident that the wide turns and lack of traffic would make it a simple task. Also, how else are we going to get photos like this one?

Idaho Springs, CO
Extra wide pull-offs on some of the curves were perfect for photos.

Down at the bottom, we drove through Idaho Springs one last time before heading north in search of more mountains and more snow.

Downtown Idaho Springs

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5 Responses to “Up, Up, Up in the Mountains above Idaho Springs”


  1. Michelle R

    Looks beautiful!! I miss it! And I miss the snow, too!!

    • Amanda

      I normally claim to not miss winter, but even I can admit that the snow was beautiful!

  2. Jodee Gravel

    Definitely a sweet spot to enjoy friends and the beautiful mountains. Makes me short of breath just thinking about that elevation though! Greys and Torrey are stunning with their snowy mantles.

  3. David B

    Idaho Springs in Colorado? I will have to look it up on the net….Dave


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