“A more rugged route than most, offering a new perspective on Rocky Mountain National Park.”
— Nathan Jamieson
Fall Colors · Views
This route gets a bit scrambly at the top, but it makes for some great high alpine running until you reach that point.
Start from the Chapin Creek Trailhead which is off Old Fall River Road. This road is a one-way unpaved road that is only open from early July through September.
From the Chapin Creek Trailhead, you'll run a short distance until you see a sign for the Mt. Chapin summit pointing east. The trail winds through the forest until you are almost at the tree line where the trail splits. Continue a gradual climb on a well-traveled but exposed trail on the back side of Mt Chapin. Once you get close to the saddle between Mt Chapin and Mt Chiquita, there is a faint trail I didn't take to get to the summit of Mt Chapin. Continue straight uphill toward the summit of Mt Chiquita and you'll follow an obvious but steep and rocky trail.
Toward the top of Mt. Chiquita, the trail is hard to follow but you can easily step from rock to rock to reach the top where you are rewarded with incredible 360-degree views of Rocky Mountain National Park from just over 13,000 ft. There are several man-made wind breaks which are a welcome relief from cold winds.
From here you can continue to Ypsilon Mountain on the Ypsilon Summit Route, or you can return the way that you came. If you want to shake things up on the way down, the Chapin Pass - Lower Fork
will lead you along a similar route, though the shorter spur is the faster way to reach treeline. Both trails eventually meet back up, so you have nothing to lose!
Flora & Fauna
Keep an eye out for elk, marmots, and pika!