Denver, CO: Beaver Brook

One of the Front Range's best hikes, this 10.1-mile point-to-point offers solitude, mountain views, and a couple of thigh-burning climbs.
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One of the Front Range's best hikes, this 10.1-mile point-to-point offers solitude, mountain views, and a couple of thigh-burning climbs.

This 10.1-mile point-to-point begins in Genesee Park and turns downhill toward Beaver Brook—there’s a set of steep downhill switchbacks at mile 1—and follows the bottom of the river briefly before turning up the route’s first major climb. There is a rest-worthy rocky outcropping at mile 1.8, but the trail winds along the hillside past several outcroppings offering equally great views of Clear Creek, Centennial Cone and distant, snow-covered peaks.
There is another major climb just before mile 6, but near the top of the hill, you’ll catch motivating views of Golden’s radio towers and Lookout Mountain. Beaver Brook Trail’s eastern reaches are rocky and there are a few hand-over-hand and stone-hopping sections through outcroppings before the trail hits Windy Saddle. The final 2 miles follow well-worn multi-use trails though Chimney Gulch, skirting several houses and crossing a flood-control ditch before ending at the trailhead lot off US-93.
Drop a shuttle car if you can, but if you’re planning this hike as an out-and-back consider starting at Windy Saddle and hiking west (uphill) first, or adding the Gudy Gaskill trail loop as a turn around.
-Mapped by Kristy Holland and Lisa Ventimiglia

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 16.2

Waypoints

BBT001

Location: 39.7161663, -105.3107357

Though relatively low elevations make this trail accessible much of the year, the road is closed below this point during winter. Expect to trek an additional 0.6 mile if the main trailhead is off limits.

BBT002

Location: 39.7199085, -105.3182864

Follow either branch of the Nature Trail downhill from the trailhead. The upper branch is dotted with interpretive signs, but both lead downhill to the beginning of Beaver Brook.

BBT003

Location: 39.7218817, -105.3197602

Bear left just before the picnic area and descend a steep set of steps. This marks the end of the nature trail and the beginning of the Beaver Brook Trail. Look for red and white blazes marking the way.

BBT004

Location: 39.7312302, -105.3265715

Stay straight at this 3-way junction with the Chavez Trail. This flat, signed section of trail follows the river for a few minutes and rolls over a rocky face before turning right, uphill and into the woods.

BBT005

Location: 39.7312234, -105.3245439

It's possible to jump the distance across this rocky creek. The trail is marked on the creek's far side and heads uphill to the right. In this area, you'll also see yellow diamond blazes in addition to the Beaver Brook ones.

BBT006

Location: 39.7334984, -105.3219053

It is over 500 feet from Beaver Brook's banks to this rocky outcropping at mile 1.85. Stop to rest, admire the view and peek at cars on US-6 just north of here. The trail continues uphill another 0.7 mile to the route's high point.

BBT007

Location: 39.732373, -105.3155422

A small bench flanks Charm Spring to the left side of the trail. The trail winds gently through relatively open forest and occasional rocky outcroppings with stunning views to the north across Clear Creek.

BBT008

Location: 39.7303969, -105.3059882

Stay straight on the Beaver Brook Trail at this mile 3 trail junction. The Gudy Gaskill Trail loops 2.48 miles toward Clear Creek Overlook and joins the Beaver Brook trail 0.75 miles east of here.

BBT009

Location: 39.7283305, -105.3024737

Follow the doubletrack uphill for 100 feet and turn left, back into the woods, up ahead.

BBT010

Location: 39.7281165, -105.2955274

The Gudy Gaskill Trail re-connects to Beaver Brook at mile 3.8. The trail continues gently downhill following the contour of the hill and dropping briefly into stream-cut ravines.

BBT011

Location: 39.7307278, -105.2698935

There are a few unstable logs thrown over this creek crossing at mile 5.8. From here, the trail heads up and to the left for one of the hike's toughest climbs.

BBT012

Location: 39.7344522, -105.2658462

After climbing out of the ravine, look east for your first glimpse of Windy Saddle, Golden and North and South Table mountains before the trail turns back into the woods. Signs up ahead indicate private property lines on both sides of the trail.

BBT013

Location: 39.7314882, -105.2575582

The eastern side of the trail gets increasingly rockier. Expect to use your hands to climb through several outcroppings.

BBT014

Location: 39.733759, -105.2504364

A 100-foot section of trail traverses a pile of rocky debris. The trail is marked by wooden posts on either side making it easy to pick your way across.

BBT015

Location: 39.7350627, -105.2485299

Continue straight at this 3-way junction to join the Lookout Mountain Trail headed toward Windy Saddle.

BBT016

Location: 39.7368036, -105.2453917

A busy overlook and a great place to watch the sunset, you'll reach Windy Saddle at mile 7.5. Continue across the road, head downhill for 150 feet and join the Chimney Gulch Trail to your right. Chimney Gulch follows the ravine to the trailhead.

BBT017

Location: 39.7400333, -105.2386888

Watch for mountain bikers and other users on this multi-use section of the trail. Up ahead, you'll see another small parking area and cross the road again for the final .8 mile to the trailhead.

BBT018

Location: 39.7447234, -105.2334452

After the road crossing, the trail borders a neighborhood. Turn left for a few feet on this dirt driveway and turn right to follow the switchbacking singletrack downhill to the trailhead.

BBT019

Location: 39.7504235, -105.2292824

This small gravel lot off Golden's main thoroughfare doesn't have any facilities and is approximately a 20-minute drive from the Genesee Park Trailhead.

Outcropping

Location: 39.7326856, -105.3088575

There are many outcroppings and viewpoints on this section of trail that look down toward Clear Creek and across toward Centennial Cone.

Map Kiosk

Location: 39.7199006, -105.3182459

Check the map for trail changes and rules before heading out.

Steps

Location: 39.7263116, -105.322019

Just after passing a restoration area, these steps precede a series of steep switchbacks leading down to Beaver Brook.

Chavez Trail

Location: 39.7311143, -105.3266458

The Chavez Trail is undergoing restoration and may be closed. Check trail conditions with park officials before exploring this route.

Cairns

Location: 39.7312096, -105.3244793

The trail up this river gully is marked with cairns near the crossing.

Outcrop View

Location: 39.7335446, -105.321883

Looking down toward Clear Creek and a sliver of US-6 in the notch between the north facing slopes.

Outcropping

Location: 39.7326856, -105.3088575

Gudy Gaskill

Location: 39.7303978, -105.3059895

The sign marking the junction of the Gudy Gaskill Trail.

Radio Towers

Location: 39.7300957, -105.2982473

The open field below the trail offers the first views of the radio towers atop Colorow Hill in Golden.

Deadfall

Location: 39.731001, -105.2702697

Though the trail is well maintained (and off-limits to horses and mountain bikers) there are occasional logs to maneuver around.

Mile Marker

Location: 39.7314773, -105.2575019

A mile marker near a rocky section of the Beaver Brook Trail.

Pillar

Location: 39.732901, -105.2527571

A hiker stops to admire the monstrous stone pillar alongside the trail.

Scree

Location: 39.7337426, -105.2504182

Wooden posts mark the trail across this 100-foot scree field near Beaver Brook's east end.

Windy Saddle

Location: 39.7366225, -105.2458247

This trailhead parking area is another nice place to park your shuttle car, you'll also shave 2 miles from the length of the hike.

Chimney Gulch

Location: 39.7371124, -105.2451393

On the north side of Windy Peak, this sign marks the access to Chimney Gulch. Watch for traffic as you cross the road.

Bridge

Location: 39.7354924, -105.2431113

The first of two wooden bridges in Chimney Gulch.

Rocky

Location: 39.7399554, -105.2387112

One of several rocky sections of trail through Chimney Gulch

Parking Area

Location: 39.7420735, -105.2357364

This small parking area is about half-way down Chimney Gulch.

Multi-use

Location: 39.7423601, -105.2347973

Right-of-way can be an issue on fast, downhill sections of the Chimney Gulch Trail. Be courteous and pass other users safely.