Beaver Brook Trail (West) | Jefferson County Open Space
Golden, CO | 10/03/20 | 9.33 miles | 2,623′ gain
I unexpectedly found myself back at Genesee Park just two days after my first visit. A series of unfortunate events in the morning (my friend slept through her alarm and missed our planned 13er and then both of my solo hike ideas ended up being closed after I drove all the way to the trailheads) caused me to seriously wrack my brain to figure out something to do. The only other park I’d researched recently was Genesee, so back I went, this time to the north side of I-70. I arrived at the Beaver Brook Trailhead at 8:45am and set out on the Beaver Brook Trail.
The Beaver Brook Trail is a 9-mile point-to-point trail running from Genesee to Golden. Most people don’t do the whole thing (or at least not all at once) and instead choose to do a 5-mile, 1100′ loop combining the Chavez Trail with the first section of Beaver Brook. I intended to take this one step further and hike all the way to the mid-point of the Beaver Brook Trail, returning on the Chavez Trail to create a sort of reverse lollipop loop.
Both the Beaver Brook and Chavez Trails head down about 900′ from the trailhead to Beaver Brook. The Chavez Trail is quite a bit shorter and thus also steeper, and many people choose to descend this way, ascending the more gradual Beaver Brook Trail on the way back to the trailhead. I went the opposite way in an attempt to avoid a couple of groups that started the same time I did. Once past the Chavez junction, I was alone on the Beaver Brook Trail.
It was an easy descent and a good warm-up for the more difficult portions of the hike to come.
After about 2 miles, I reached Beaver Brook and paralleled the creek for about a mile, occasionally crossing on bridges or rocks.
The creek became more scenic as I progressed. The terrain changed from forest to rocky canyon and the water often flowed directly over the bedrock. In these areas, the route became less obvious as the trail disappeared when crossing the rock.
Past the Chavez Trail junction, the Beaver Brook Trail leaves Beaver Brook and climbs out of the canyon. There are a few sections of minor scrambling through here, but travel is mostly on a very steep, narrow, and often overgrown trail. It seems few people make it up much farther than the Chavez Trail, I only saw a few.
The steepness didn’t let up until I neared the top of the ridge. The ecosystem transitioned from dense forest to open scrubland, with many overlooks once above the trees.
I stopped at the high point for lunch and then hiked down about 350′ on the other side to the approximate half-way point at the Gudy Gaskill Trail intersection.
Once I reached the Gudy Gaskill Trail, I turned around and re-traced my steps back up and over the high point and down the steep trail to Beaver Brook. I turned off on the Chavez Trail and followed that up a series of steep, rocky switchbacks.
The Chavez Trail follows Bear Gulch for 1/2 mile or so, later connecting with the Braille Trail and finally the Beaver Brook Trail once again to get back to the parking lot.
Now that it was afternoon, the amount of people heading down to the creek was insane and the parking lot was overflowing. Even though this hike wasn’t at all what I was had planned, Beaver Brook really surprised me and with the exception of the afternoon crowds, I found the trail and creek to be very peaceful. My route (or the shorter Beaver Brook/Chavez Loop) is a great hike in close proximity to Denver.