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Beaver Brook to Chavez Trail Loop

  • Difficulty
  • 8km
  • 383m
  • 2.5-3.5h

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Adventure is the nature of this hike! Experience the best of all Colorado trails rolled into one scenic walk… Hills, rocks, wildflowers, animals, river crossings and more!

Getting there

From Denver, head west on I-70. Take exit 253/Genesee Park. Turn right, north, and then make an immediate right onto Stapleton Rd (a dirt road). Follow the road for about three quarters of a mile. You’ll pass by the Buffalo Herd Overlook on your right and shortly after you’ll see the Beaver Brook Parking lot on the left.

elevation

Total Gain: 383m

About

Type of Hike Loop
Crowd Levels High
Route Signage Good
Toilets Pit toilets at trailhead
Family Friendly No
Backcountry Campgrounds No
When to Do April to October

 Detailed Description

There is something to please every type of adventurer on this trail, without being far from Denver. The trail is lined with pine trees that blow in the wind and provide shade. Birds chirp as you pass and butterflies fly around you as you walk. While the trail itself is not too difficult in terms of elevation, there are quite a few obstacles: creek crossings (you might have to roll up your pants!), ledges, rocks that seem to have “grown” over the trail, and sometimes a downed tree or two to climb around.

From the trailhead parking lot, you’ll find the trail start just behind the toilets. You’ll head west from the trailhead starting off with a nice gradual decline. After a quarter mile, you’ll reach the first intersection and it’s decision-making time!

If you go straight on Beaver Brook Trail you’re in for a long, gradual decline with a short, steep incline on the way back. If you turn right onto Chavez Trail you’ll have a shorter, but more steep decline with a longer, but more gradual, incline back to the car.

For the sake of this trail description, let’s go straight! Shortly after this intersection, at a half-mile, you’ll be greeted with a beautiful peak at the mountains between the trees. A mile into the hike, the trail starts hopping back and forth over the creek as you hike over bridges.

At mile two, you’ll hike directly on a rock that looks as if it has melted right over the trail. Beware, this rock can be slippery if wet. Then, you’ll take of your shoes for the first of four larger creek crossings. Avoid walking on the logs, as they are not stable; it’s best to just hike right through the water.

Shortly after the fourth creek crossing, you’ll reach the turnoff for the Chavez trail, clearly marked. If you’ve been hiking the loop in a clock-wise fashion, this will be a right turn off. This starts the ascent back.

Just after you’ve entered the Chavez trail, you’ll get to a short but challenging rock ledge. While you don’t have to scramble, you do need to hug tight to the wall as you make your way across the rocky ledge; the drop off on your right is steep. For the next mile, pay attention to your footsteps because the trail is narrow and has a steep drop off on one side.

The hike back to the parking lot brings a steep rocky stair climb, a waterfall view at mile 3.5 and views of the canyon around you through the trees. You’ll pass the now unused Braille Trail, which used to be a nature trail for the blind. The trail splits but you can take either side since it reconnects at the same spot. This is where you’ll cross a dirt road and pick the trail back up, coming up to the first intersection from the beginning. Turn left and head back to the parking lot.

Insider Hints

  • You can make this a longer hike by adding on some miles toward Windy Saddle. To do so, instead of turning right onto the Chavez Trail, turn left toward Windy Saddle on Beaver Brook for an out and back addition.
  • Check out the buffalo herd along I-70. There is a lookout just across the street from the Beaver Brook Trailhead or head east on I-70 to the next exit for another overlook.
  • Take a scenic drive and check out Colorado via the Lariat Loop