|My Time||2 hr 30 min|
Chavez and Beaver Brook Loop
The Chavez and Beaver Brook loop is a nice wooded walk with a babbling brook and the sounds of running water while you climb the hillside.
This loop gives you some options but either direction you start on will head downhill for a long time. It actually is a really nice way to start a hike with a downhill. After about the first mile I was filled with that feeling of dread. What goes down, must come back up! I started walking slower down the hill to delay the inevitable but the return is every bit of a thousand foot climb back up the hill in about 2 miles.
After a short walk from the parking lot you will come to an option to take either the Beaver Brook (west, left) or the Chavez (east, right) trails. I decided to go with the Beaver Brook as it looked like the longer trail to start with.
It is a nice long (about 2.5 miles) walk through some moderate woods. The trail is really easy to follow and well defined. It is mostly dirt path until you get close to the bottom near the brook. This portion of the trail is completely shaded and stayed nice and cool on a mid 80 degree day.
You can definitely hear the brook before you can see it. For about the last half mile of the west loop you start to hear the running water. When you get closer to the water the trail flattens out and turns more rocky.
You will have the water next to you for about a mile, which is really nice. On a fall day the water level was really low but there were some small water falls which made it really nice. You will also have to cross over the water a couple times but it was really easy with the water down low.
As you connect to the Chavez trail to complete the loop, you will have a choice to stay on Beaver Brook. There are warning signs that the BB gets more challenging moving on from this point. I took Chavez and it immediately begins to climb out of the canyon.
I would say that Chavez is the shorter but steeper of the two trails so I was happy with my choice to do it on the return. Sometimes steep can get tricky on the way down. I will say that every other person I saw on the trail did it opposite of me.
Chavez had my favorite views of the whole hike. While the woods are nice they get a little repetitive. I was happy to have a couple clearings to see the full canyon on this trip back up..
For a short section of the return loop you will come to a sign for Braille Trail. I am assuming this is for the visually impaired as there is a guide rope along the entire section of trail. I thought this was a really cool thing that I have not seen on any other trail I have been on.
After the section of Braille Trail there is a short walk on a service road to a signpost that points to the Beaver Brook Trailhead. This is a short walk to the where you first picked which side of the loop to take and then back to the parking lot.
Distance and Elevation
If you don’t have the AllTrails app you might want to check it out, I really love mine. It records your progress and is a great way to search for hikes that are nearby and gives you difficulty measurements. According to AllTrails today’s hike was around 5.35 miles and had a total elevation gain of about 1115 feet including undulations. That put the high point at around 7,579 feet but because of the V shape of the trail the high point was actually the parking lot.. I was also moving for a total of 2 hours and 30 minutes.
Pretty straight forwad on the effort on this one. You will either be walking up or downhill. Here is the step count from my Fitbit.
For a majority of the hike the trail is a nice dirt trail. On the Beaver Brook (west) side of this loop the trail does have a pretty steady downhill slant to it. At the bottom of the canyon where the trail flattens out it is very rocky with large rocks to walk over and a couple of easy water crossings. The Chavez (east) section of the loop is a little bit rockier, especially down by the valley floor.
Beaver Brook and Chavez loop is located in Genesee Park on Stapleton road in Golden just off of I70 at the Buffalo Herd Overlook exit. There is a room for about 20 cars to park and there are pit toilets at the parking lot.
I really enjoyed this hike. Starting with a downhill was a nice change and gave me the chance to get the muscles warmed up before the walk back up. I will say it felt like a long time heading down, it reminded me of seeing the old boss start walking towards me from across the room. I knew it could be unpleasant so I just enjoyed it they made it there.
While the Chavez side seemed steeped it also seemed a bit shorter so it is up to you on what you feel more comfortable with. I preferred the quick steep return but that is just me. Overall a really nice trail, I think this might be a little better in the spring with some more water in the brook but still really enjoyable.
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