Mount Chiquita and Ypsilon Mountain, Chapin Pass Trailhead, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Mount Chiquita and Ypsilon Mountain - 8.1 miles

Chapin Pass Trailhead

Traversing open tundra between Mount Chiquita and Ypsilon Mountain

Traversing open tundra between Mount Chiquita and Ypsilon Mountain

Round-Trip Length: 8.1 miles (distance and gains will vary by route)
Start-End Elevation: 11,040' - 13,514' (@ Ypsilon Mountain)
Elevation Change: +2,474' net elevation gain (+3,570' total roundtrip elevation gain)
Skill Level: Moderate-Strenuous
Dogs Allowed: No
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: No
Related Trails:

Mount Chiquita and Ypsilon Mountain - 8.1 Miles Round-Trip

Mount Chiquita (13,069') and Ypsilon Mountain (13,514') are accessible from Chapin Pass Trailhead on Fall River Road in Rocky Mountain National Park. No trail leads to these prominent summits in the Mummy Range, but a well-established route follows contour lines and saddles to each. Mount Chiquita is considered among the easiest 13ers in the Park, and Ypsilon requires a bit more effort at higher elevation.

Trail Map | Photo Gallery

Their distinct east faces drop vertically and form the headwalls of massive cirques, while the west sides are relatively moderate, grassy slopes up which the route runs.

Views are exceptional throughout, with western panoramas that extend from the Never Summer Range to the Medicine Bow peaks in Wyoming. Views north and east include the Desolation Peaks, Longs Peak complex and aptly named Spectacle Lakes.

Mt Chapin, Chiquita and Ypsilon form the venerable CCY route. Mt Chapin (12,454’) is excluded here for expediency in reaching the more distant peaks, and is arguably superfluous given its diminutive stature and proximity to Chiquita and Ypsilon.

Though well-traveled, the route is vague in places and basic navigation skills are required across rugged alpine terrain. Anticipate full exposure at high altitudes, and get an early start to avoid afternoon storms:

The trail climbs quickly to the split for Chapin Creek and all summits (.12 miles : 11,175’). It rises sharply in a thin forest to unmarked Chapin Pass (.5 miles : 11,407’), then moderates to a fork and sign for All Summits (.65 miles : 11,472’). Go right.

The left fork is a compelling alternative that dips across lower slopes (bypassing Mt Chapin) before rising steeply to the Chapin – Chiquita saddle. Some prefer this approach for milder terrain, but it does delay the inevitable climb, and adds more to the overall gain. 

The right fork edges moderately up contour lines with views down the Chapin Creek valley. It clears treeline (1.0 mile : 11,752’) and begins rugged talus intervals at 1.3 miles.

A variously clear path moves steadily to the Chapin – Chiquita saddle (1.75 miles : 12,114’). The Mt Chapin summit – right above you on this stretch - is accessible via several spurs.

Travel eases briefly on the saddle before pitching up the south flank of Chiquita. Grass gradually yields to talus, where the route braids into several viable cairn-marked paths.

The way is obvious even if the trail is not. You’ll see rock wind shelters around 2.6 miles leading up to the Mount Chiquita summit (2.7 miles : 13,069’).

To reach Ypsilon Mountain, follow the most established track 200’ down to the Chiquita – Ypsilon saddle (3.0 miles : 12,812’).

A variously clear path climbs steadily up Ypsilon’s south flank to a reprieve with exceptional views down couloirs to the Spectacle Lakes (3.85 miles : 13,360’). The couloirs form a distinct Y down the east face for which the mountain is named (Ypsilon is the Greek letter Y).

A short, final push leads to the Ypsilon Mountain summit (4.05 miles : 13,514’).

Though tempting to circumvent Chiquita on the return, consider retracing your steps back to the summit. Having some trail is more efficient than none at all in this terrain, and backtracking will limit your impact on delicate vegetation.

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Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

  • N40 26.086 W105 43.825 — 0.0 miles : Chapin Pass Trailhead on Fall River Road
  • N40 26.199 W105 43.770 — .12 miles : Chapin Creek Trail - Summits split
  • N40 26.124 W105 43.248 — .65 miles : Split for All Summits and alternative route
  • N40 26.166 W105 42.902 — 1.0 miles : Clear treeline on well-defined track
  • N40 26.187 W105 42.375 — 1.5 miles : Trail crosses talus on climb to saddle
  • N40 26.286 W105 42.136 — 1.75 miles : Mt Chapin - Mount Chiquita saddle
  • N40 26.400 W105 41.940 — 2.0 miles : Steady, steep climb to summit
  • N40 26.538 W105 41.679 — 2.3 miles : Trail fades in places
  • N40 26.623 W105 41.460 — 2.55 miles : First of several wind shelters on summit
  • N40 26.660 W105 41.355 — 2.7 miles : Mount Chiquita summit (13,069')
  • N40 26.747 W105 41.436 — 2.8 miles : Downhill travel to Chiquita - Ypsilon saddle
  • N40 26.852 W105 41.461 — 3.0 miles : Chiquita - Ypsilon saddle
  • N40 27.046 W105 41.370 — 3.25 miles : Moderate climb up west slope
  • N40 27.207 W105 41.095 — 3.6 miles : Grade steepens on upper slopes
  • N40 27.240 W105 40.996 — 3.85 miles : Reprieve with view of Spectacle Lakes
  • N40 27.442 W105 40.870 — 4.05 miles : Ypsilon Mountain summit (13,514')

Worth Noting

  • Much of this trail runs above treeline at high elevation. Carry versatile layers, sun protection and extra water. Get an early start to avoid afternoon thunderstorms.
  • Do your best to stay on established paths and avoid trampling delicate vegetation.

Rules and Regulations

  • A $20 Day Use Fee is required to enter Rocky Mountain National Park (or $30 for a 7 Day Pass).
  • Dogs are not permitted on hiking trails in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Directions to Trailhead

The Chapin Pass Trailhead is located on Fall River Road, 13.8 miles from the Beaver Meadows Entrance Station in Rocky Mountain National Park.

From the entrance station, continue on HWY 34 3.1 miles to the turnoff for Horseshoe Park | Lawn Lake | Fall River Road. Take this road 1.8 miles to the (left) turn for Fall River Road.

The paved two-way road becomes Fall River Road in 1.9 miles. Fall River Road is a one-way dirt road suitable for 2WD cars. Continue on Fall River Road 7 miles to the trailhead on the right. There's limited parking at the trailhead - do your best to economize space.

Note that Fall River Road is only open in the summer (dates defined by snow cover), and may be closed due to weather or maintenance. Call ahead for the latest travel information.

Contact Information

Rocky Mountain National Park
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Trip Reports

There are no trip reports on this trail.


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