A couple of weeks ago my friend J took me on one of her favorite hikes, Chief Mountain. We were planning to go snowshoeing but unfortunately there wasn't enough snow for snowshoes. Micro-spikes would have been great to have, and I regretted that I didn't have my own pair. So... a few days later I gave REI more of my money and bought Kahtoolas which were highly recommended to me by several people. I can't wait to break them in :).
Chief Mountain with its peak at 11,709' is a fairly easy, though steep, hike. The short distance classifies this as easy, but I'd call the trail moderate. The trail is 3 miles round trip, with a gain of 1,100' in 1.5 miles. We were rewarded with spectacular views for being a measly foothill peak! I think this is my new favorite trail to take out of town visitors :). That is, if I can find the unmarked trail on my own. The trailhead for Chief Mountain is ~11 miles west of Bergen Park on Squaw Pass Road... there's a wide shoulder pull off across from an abandoned ski area below.
We could definitely feel the altitude but we took short breaks to catch our breath and take pictures. It was really cold and windy at the top so we didn't stay long. In fact we did an about face and immediately headed back down! Here are some pictures from our hike, it was a bummer that the clouds hid most of the peaks.
We had a great time, I know I'll be going back again and again during different parts of the year.