Backpacker Magazine 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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Author: Backpacker Magazine
Date: 28 Mar 2009 3:43:21 AM
Activity: Hiking
State: Colorado (CO)
Distance: 10.09 mi  (Change units)
Survey Elevation: Total Gain: 3106 ft
Total Loss: 4588 ft
Net Change: -1483 ft
Difficulty: 7 / 10
USGS Topo Map: Evergreen, Morrison
Tags: Boulder, Colorado, Denver, Golden, Lakewood
Rating: Unrated   Rate it

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

TO TRAILHEAD: Leave a shuttle car at the trailhead on the west side of US-93, just south of the US-6 junction in Golden. To access the Genesee Park trailhead, take I-70’s exit 253. Turn right on Genesee Dr., and immediately right again onto Stapleton Rd. The trailhead is 1.3 miles ahead.

Position Format: Datum:

Beaver Brook Trail

Distance: 10.09 mi Points: 608
Total Time: none Speed: 0.0 mph Pace: 0:00 / mi
Active Time: none Speed: 0.0 mph Pace: 0:00 / mi

Points of Interest


Location: 39.716166, -105.310736
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.


Location: 39.719909, -105.318286
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.


Location: 39.721882, -105.319760
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.


Location: 39.731230, -105.326572
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.


Location: 39.731223, -105.324544
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.


Location: 39.733498, -105.321905
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.


Location: 39.732373, -105.315542
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.


Location: 39.730397, -105.305988
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.


Location: 39.728331, -105.302474
Follow the doubletrack uphill for 100 feet and turn left, back into the woods, up ahead.


Location: 39.728117, -105.295527
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.


Location: 39.730728, -105.269894
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.


Location: 39.734452, -105.265846
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.


Location: 39.731488, -105.257558
The eastern side of the trail gets increasingly rockier. Expect to use your hands to climb through several outcroppings.


Location: 39.733759, -105.250436
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.


Location: 39.735063, -105.248530
Continue straight at this 3-way junction to join the Lookout Mountain Trail headed toward Windy Saddle.


Location: 39.736804, -105.245392
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.


Location: 39.740033, -105.238689
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.


Location: 39.744723, -105.233445
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.


Location: 39.750424, -105.229282
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.


Location: 39.732686, -105.308858
There are many outcroppings and viewpoints on this section of trail that look down toward Clear Creek and across toward Centennial Cone. © Kristy Holland

Map Kiosk

Location: 39.719901, -105.318246
Check the map for trail changes and rules before heading out. © Kristy Holland


Location: 39.726312, -105.322019
Just after passing a restoration area, these steps precede a series of steep switchbacks leading down to Beaver Brook. © Kristy Holland

Chavez Trail

Location: 39.731114, -105.326646
The Chavez Trail is undergoing restoration and may be closed. Check trail conditions with park officials before exploring this route. © Kristy Holland


Location: 39.731210, -105.324479
The trail up this river gully is marked with cairns near the crossing. © Kristy Holland

Outcrop View

Location: 39.733545, -105.321883
Looking down toward Clear Creek and a sliver of US-6 in the notch between the north facing slopes. © Kristy Holland


Location: 39.732686, -105.308858
© Kristy Holland

Gudy Gaskill

Location: 39.730398, -105.305990
The sign marking the junction of the Gudy Gaskill Trail. © Kristy Holland

Radio Towers

Location: 39.730096, -105.298247
The open field below the trail offers the first views of the radio towers atop Colorow Hill in Golden. © Lisa Ventimiglia


Location: 39.731001, -105.270270
Though the trail is well maintained (and off-limits to horses and mountain bikers) there are occasional logs to maneuver around. © Kristy Holland

Mile Marker

Location: 39.731477, -105.257502
A mile marker near a rocky section of the Beaver Brook Trail. © Kristy Holland


Location: 39.732901, -105.252757
A hiker stops to admire the monstrous stone pillar alongside the trail. © Lisa Ventimiglia


Location: 39.733743, -105.250418
Wooden posts mark the trail across this 100-foot scree field near Beaver Brook's east end. © Lisa Ventimiglia

Windy Saddle

Location: 39.736623, -105.245825
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. © Kristy Holland

Chimney Gulch

Location: 39.737112, -105.245139
On the north side of Windy Peak, this sign marks the access to Chimney Gulch. Watch for traffic as you cross the road. © Kristy Holland


Location: 39.735492, -105.243111
The first of two wooden bridges in Chimney Gulch. © Kristy Holland


Location: 39.739955, -105.238711
One of several rocky sections of trail through Chimney Gulch © Kristy Holland

Parking Area

Location: 39.742074, -105.235736
This small parking area is about half-way down Chimney Gulch. © Kristy Holland


Location: 39.742360, -105.234797
Right-of-way can be an issue on fast, downhill sections of the Chimney Gulch Trail. Be courteous and pass other users safely. © Kristy Holland


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