The Beaver Brook trail offers experienced hikers the chance to walk from the Mountain Front above Golden westward, deep within the Front Range foothills along the wooded south side of Clear Creek Canyon. The trail is a minimum of 9 miles long and does not cross a road from its eastern end at Windy Saddle Open Space Park to its western end at Stapleton Drive in Genesee Mountain Park. All the trail is on protected land, either as public parks or under conservation easements held by CCLC, but access is possible only at the two terminal trail heads.
Because the trail is long, most users only do short walks from the trailheads and the middle parts of the trail are only lightly travelled. Most through hikers do the trail one way by parking a car at one end, then getting a ride to the other trailhead and walking back to their car. A 5 mile loop hike can be done from the Stapleton Drive trailhead by going down the Beaver Brook trail for 3 miles down to and along Beaver Brook, then up the Chavez Trail from a signed trail junction just after the last stream crossing. The full Beaver Brook trail is not a loop and should be done one-way only. Truly intrepid hikers can lengthen their hike by doing the Gudy Gaskill loop at about 4.5 miles in from either trailhead or by continuing down to Golden from Windy Saddle at the east end.
Because it was originally constructed 100 years ago and parts are not heavily used, the trail can be steep and rocky in places, sometimes requiring use of hands for balance. Hikers should pay attention to trail signs and avoid following game or way trails that branch off and quickly become obscure. Because the trail is 9 miles long and gains and loses 2000 feet of elevation, hikers should be fit and well prepared with good trail shoes, at least 2 liters of water each, and proper clothing, including a sweater and raincoat. Completing the trail will take about 5 hours for the fit hiker, and there is no cell service or easy exit. It is also good to remember that wildlife live and move through the area around the trail, so it’s not uncommon to encounter signs of or see deer, elk, grouse, bears, mountain lion, and all manner of smaller creatures. These animals generally have no interest in us as hikers, but it’s always wise to take care around them, and if a larger animal is blocking the trail, consider turning around or waiting for the animal to move instead of shooing it away. The less they interact with humans, the better it is for their survival and our safety.
The Beaver Brook Trail is a premier Mountain Front hike, but the through hiker should be prepared and ready for what is essentially a wilderness experience. A trail map, prepared by CCLC and Jeffco Open Space, is available at the two trailheads and more information and an online map are available from the CCLC website. Be prepared and have a great hike!