GPS Coordinate: N 38 40.914. W106 20.845
Rating - 7
The Forest Service have reduced the difficulty of Iron Chest over the past few years by moving many of the bigger rocks in the boulder field to the side of the trail. Even though Iron Chest is not as difficult as in the past it is still recommended you do not attempt this trail in a stock vehicle. You will be presented with the signature obstacle of the trail right away, a significantly sized boulder field. The boulders are the size of an ottoman and the boulder field is about .25 mile in length. The trail is relatively short about 3 miles in length but due to the technical nature of the boulder field a trip up Iron Chest can take more than a couple of hours.
From Colorado Springs take Hwy 24 west for approximately 76 miles to Hwy 24/285. Turn left (south) on Hwy 24/285 for about 14 miles until the highway passes over the Arkansas River then turn left (south) onto Hwy 285. Go 5 miles to just past Nathrop and take a right (west) on Chafee County Rd. 162. Travel for about 15 miles to just before St. Elmo and take a left on FR295. Travel on FR295 for about .5 mile and take a sharp left hand turn.
Iron Chest is a relatively short trail and is about 3 miles in length. Along the trail you will enjoy some beautiful vistas and a stretch that is very difficult and will stress the suspension of your vehicle. At the end of the trail is a historic mine that is in very good condition considering it is 12K feet above sea level and is over 100 years old.
At the beginning of the trail is a very large boulder field with of course some very large boulders. Unless you have a vehicle with a significant amount of clearance you should expect some damage to the under carriage of your vehicle. While the boulder field seems to go for a very long stretch it is only a little over a .25 mile in length.
After the boulder field you will pass through a stand of trees on a narrow stretch of road. After this the road will become even more narrow on a bumpy shelf road. If you have a fear of heights this stretch will get the heart to racing, for the rest of us its opens some incredible views across the very beautiful Chalk CreekValley.
At the end of the trail is a historic mine that is privately owned and is over a hundred years old. The apex of the mountain is only a couple hundred feet from the mine which opens up some more sights of the surrounding area. From the top of Chrysolite mountain look to the southwest and you can see the Pomeroy Lake's trail and Mary Murphy mine.