Have you heard of Chair Rocks in Jefferson County? Like nearby Cathedral Spires, it’s a fascinating rock formation that can be climbed. However, non-climbers will also enjoy taking photos of the formations, enjoy the amazing view from the formation and maybe even enjoy some scrambling on the rocks.
Now the challenge — while there’s a trail to Chair Rocks, it’s not marked. I can give you pretty good directions, but you’ll need a map and/or a GPS to get you there.
Start your hike on the Colorado Trail. Park in the pull off on Highway 126 where there are markers for the Colorado Trail (Trail No. 1776) on both sides of the highway (directions below). Cross to the east side of the highway and start hiking.
This one-person wide dirt trail meanders near Highway 126, but in the trees. Cross one road and keep following the path about a third of a mile before it turns east and heads away from the highway. Now, you’ll feel like you’re on the Colorado Trail.
The trail starts in a fairly barren area. This is desert-like with just scrub brush and very few trees. The forest in this area was destroyed in the 1996 Buffalo Creek Fire.
The trail wanders up and down, before hitting a high spot about 1.1 miles from where you parked. There’s a trail split of sorts here, but no markings, so continue in the direction you’re heading and don’t turn off. The trail continues with some slight ups and downs as it winds through the old burn area and around the occasional rock outcroppings. If you notice a peak with a long, scraggy top, that’s likely Long Scraggy Peak to the southeast.
About 3.2 miles from the parking area, the scenery changes. Instead of hiking through a burn zone, you’re suddenly back in a forest. There are some areas where you could see the ground cover and lower part of the trees burned, but the trees are healthy here and there is some shade.
About 4.3 miles into the hike, there’s another unmarked trail split. THIS IS YOUR TURNOFF SPOT.
Take the left fork of the faint, dirt trail. It’s a short distance to a road. You should see a faint pulloff on the north side of the road and an old yellow sign. Cross the road and follow the faint trail up the hill and slightly right. It’s just a few steps to a fence with an opening. At this point, you should be on the right trail.
There’s a faint path that goes north from here, winding through the forest. Some would call this an emerging hiker’s or climber’s trail/path. The hard part is you really don’t see Chair Rocks until you arrive there, so there’s no landmark to follow. And because the trail is faint, I highly recommend a map and/or GPS to keep you on the right track.
About 0.6 miles from the Colorado Trail — you’ll reach Chair Rocks. From this point, wander over to the formation and start exploring. Just remember, it’s easier to climb up a rock formation, than to climb down, so be careful and don’t get stuck. There’s little to no cell signal out here and it would take rescuers hours to reach you.
While the rocks are fascinating, don’t forget to enjoy the amazing views in every direction. To the south, you may see Pikes Peak. To the north is Cathedral Spires. To the northwest is Mount Evans. The views are up here are great.
When you’re done exploring, return the way you came.
Find more Jefferson County hiking trails, Pike National Forest hiking trails and Colorado hiking trails in this extensive list. Don’t miss any of my trip reports, find the “subscribe to author” button at the bottom of this page and follow me on Facebook.
Details: The hike to Chair Rocks is about 4.9 miles each way. Add more distance for the exploring you’ll do at the formation.
Directions: From C-470 and Highway 285, take Highway 285 south about 20.5 miles to Pine Valley Road/Highway 126 and turn left/south. Take Highway 126 through Pine, through Buffalo Creek, about 12.6 miles to where the Colorado Trail crosses Highway 126. You should see hiker crossing signs just before you get to the trail. (The signs don’t say anything, but they have two hikers on them.) At this spot, look for a pulloff on the right side of the road and small trails with signs that say Colorado Trail. If you miss it, the official trailhead is just one mile down the road to Forest Road 550H. Turn right there and drive 0.1 miles to the Little Scraggy Trailhead and start your hike there. There is a free to park at that trailhead.