Beaver Creek Loop Trail

MODERATE 63 reviews

Beaver Creek Loop Trail is a 7.5 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Penrose, Colorado that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
7.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,696 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

scramble

snow

no shade

Wonderful Wilderness Close to Home The Beaver Creek Wilderness Study Area covers 40,000 acres of uninhabited, road-free wild country. According to the Central Colorado Wilderness Coalition, "bighorn sheep and elk find winter and summer range in Beaver Creek. Mule deer, black bear, mountain lion, beaver, golden and bald eagle, and ring-tailed cats and the threatened Mexican spotted owl and peregrine falcon utilize the area. Vegetation includes Douglas fir, Ponderosa pine, Limber pine, aspen, pinon-juniper woodlands, and wetlands streams." Beaver Creek is in the Pike National Forest, 13 miles northeast of Canon City and 10 miles southwest of Colorado Springs. Its boundaries are within El Paso, Fremont, and Teller Counties, and it lies on the south slope of Pikes Peak between Phantom Canyon Road and Hwy 115. The Beaver Creek Loop hike begins at the trailhead at the end of CR 132, but the loop itself starts about .75 miles from the trailhead. During this hike you'll experience creek bottom jungle, quadriceps burning ascents, breathtaking views of vertical splendor and evergreen carpets, and the magical sights and sounds of a rushing Rocky Mountain river. You will not be the first to make this trip because some of the trail was engineered during Gold Rush days. You will discover that this 7.3 mile trek is truly an "E-Ticket ride" that will make you want to get in line again and again. Go south on Hwy 115 out of Colorado Springs for 32 miles. Turn right at the Brush Hollow Reservoir turnoff onto Fremont County Road 123. Follow this road 5 miles to CR 132. Turn right and travel 11 miles to the parking area. CR 132 is a dirt road, graded every spring. Some of its is quite rutted, but I've seen all kinds of vehicles in the trailhead parking area. If you want a really FULL day, drive down Hwy 67 from Divide. This becomes Phantom Canyon Road (24 miles of Colorado beauty), which parallels Beaver Creek (but not within view). Turn east on CR 123 until you reach CR 132.

hiking
7 days ago

This can be a great hike - if you're prepared. I completed this hike with 3 friends this past Saturday, August 11, and we all found it more challenging than expected, especially given that the most recent review here says "first easy hike...perfect for our 7-year-old's first time in CO"! I'm wondering if either they did a different trail or they just have the toughest 7-year-old in the world.

The first challenging aspect is that this hike is located in the true Colorado desert, much of it without cover so you're hiking in the full sun. Second, it's a a lower elevation than most of the hikes we do in CO so there's not the normal escape from the summer heat that we're used to. I would not recommend doing this hike in the summer at all unless you have plenty of water - as in bring what you think you need then bring about half as much again - and you have the proper summer-time gear, like wide brimmed hats, lots of sunblock, etc.; or you hit the trail VERY early in the day before it gets warm.

This trail is very rugged. The condition of the trail matches the fact that it is in a State Wildlife Area as it definitely wild! In many places it is overgrown to the point that you are pushing through vegetation without being able to see where you're going. Often we were essentially skirting the side of the canyon on a single-file trail. The trail itself is covered in largish rocks that force you to keep an eye on where you're placing your feet. If you want to take in the scenery, which really is beautiful, you almost have to stop to avoid a misstep.

The trail isn't always clearly marked either but we did download the All Trails map and it helped us get back on track a couple of times, BUT, there is one section that apparently has been rerouted since the map was last updated. When going clockwise, right as you're leaving edge of the creek for the last time, there is a fork in the trail and the All Trails map tells you to go left, even though the trail on the right is more well-used and there are a few rocks partially blocking the left fork. We thought we should trust the All Trails map though and went left and wound up in what appeared to be a bear's bathroom! The trail just tapered out at an area of undergrowth that was covered in bear scat! We even passed a bear scratching tree with a big clump of bear fur on the ground below it. We wondered if the trail was rerouted to avoid a bear den! In any case we turned around and took the right fork and got back on track.

The length of this loop is also a little longer than stated here. We started recording with the All Trails app as soon as we got out of the car, which was parked very close to the trail, and our round trip distance measured 8.2 miles. I think the 7.5 mile distance doesn't include the walk from the parking lot to the actual trail head.

Overall I did enjoy this hike. The canyon itself and the creek are really beautiful and I loved that there was only one other car in the parking lot when we arrived - something unheard of in most places in CO on a summer Saturday. But as I stated earlier, it was definitely more challenging that we expected and I don't know that I would do it again any time soon. Maybe in the autumn and would still bring a lot more water.

hiking
28 days ago

Our traditional first easy hike to get acclimated. Perfect for our 7-year-old’s first time in CO. Also where we scattered one of our dog’s ashes - so has lots of sentimental value attached for us. Beautiful.

hiking
3 months ago

My wife and I hiked the loop clockwise on May 8. We recommend that direction of travel for first timers. This trail is more challenging on the western side because of the ups and downs along the cliff side and a couple of creek crossings, and it's usually best to do the harder part first when you're fresh. It's not a difficult trail, but it falls into the upper end of "moderate." If instead you go counterclockwise and find the west side too much to handle, it's a long way back to the trailhead the way you came. Also, the west facing cliff side can get very hot in the afternoon, whereas the deep canyon and tree cover on the eastern side can be a welcome relief on a hot day.
The grade on the west side of the summit seems to be a little steeper than on the east slope, but either side is about equally safe for either ascent or descent if you're careful. Be aware there are a number of places along the way where alternate paths may lead you astray. Keep your Alltrails app handy and check it often to ensure you're on the trail. One place where I recommend a detour from the Alltrails map: at the northwest corner of the trail you can take an approx. half mile detour that takes you along the side of the hill up above the creek. It's easier to follow, there are no creek crossings, and it's a bit shorter.
Overall, it's a great hike with beautiful vistas from the summit and some amazing scenery along the west wide. Take lots of water, and plan for about five hours if it's your first time.

hiking
3 months ago

I’m 55, 6’3”, 240 lbs...about 40 lbs overweight and the least fit that I’ve ever been. This hike is no way to begin a fitness program. Going counter clockwise, the first third is a gentle uphill, no problem. Make the left onto Telephone Pole Trail and things get ridiculous in a hurry and stay that way to the top. Coming down the backside, the trail is too steep and overgrown, it’s dangerous for a big guy. Once down from the steep section, I figured it would get better, it didn’t. It’s pretty much a mountain goat trail with countless steep ups and downs. At one point, there’s an option to drop from the cliff to hike along the creek, I took it. Could not imagine another up hill section along the cliff. The creek was a mistake. Recent rain made dry shoe crossings impossible. I crossed the creek twice before deciding my best chances would be to scurry up the the hillside in hopes of hitting the main trail. That was about the time my water ran out, 85 Oz is not enough. That’s when my knee through in the towel. It was the thought of being eaten by bears and mountain lions after dark that motivated me to complete the hike.

Don’t get me wrong, the hike is spectacular, especially on the Beaver Creek side. I’ll do it again. Next time, more water, a pair of walking poles, and perhaps a sandwich...a big sandwich. Coming from California, the idea of a spectacular hike on a perfect Sunday without seeing another person does not happen, especially so close to home.

hiking
3 months ago

Nice Hike, Did the hike counter clockwise, it gets somewhat thick on the backside. Did not run into anyone.

hiking
3 months ago

Beautiful hike. Did it counter-clockwise. Trail is clear for the first half; second half was more overgrown, but not bad. Was easy to stay on trail if you check the app periodically as the notes on the map are great. I took the path that goes up and down the side of the canyon to avoid the multiple creek crossings. The 1 place where you did have to cross, there were logs across (not real stable, but use an extra stick or hiking poles to help balance), so I didn’t even get my shoes wet. :) Would be unbearably hot during the summer, but nice today when the high was in the upper 60’s. Took about 4.5 hours (avid hiker in decent shape), but make no mistake, it is pretty challenging!

4 months ago

The trail was great. I did not have any trouble staying on it. It’s not well marked but it’s a clear foot path through the woods. If you bring your phone with this map on it you will have no trouble. I did not have to cross the creek. If you stay to the east it’s no problem. There was some snow on the trail in spots but not more than an inch or two.

I hiked it by myself in 3.5 hours and it came out to exactly 7.5 miles measuring from my Apple Watch and iPhone. I didn’t get to see any wildlife but I heard hooves running on the mountain at one point so I know I was close. Overall it was a great hike and I would do it again.

hiking
5 months ago

UPDATE

April:

Creek was not frozen.

You will come upon a small sign near the beginning of the trail (Creek/Trail), you need to take the "TRAIL", which will be to your right, to avoid the multiple creek crossings that others are talking about. You will still have to cross the creek twice in the same area to stay on the trail. There are logs/rocks at the creek crossings, however will take some skill to cross.

February:
Beautiful area and really nice long hike, the creek was frozen in some areas, which made it easy to cross.

Most of the trail did not have tree cover, sunscreen recommended.

Had snow on the trail in some areas, about 2-3 inches.

Arrived at the trail-head around 11 am and parking lot had a few cars, but didn't see anyone on the trail.

A few primitive camping areas along the trail, tagged them with pictures with my recordings.

AllTrails does not have a way to communicate with other outdoor enthusiast, I can be reached on Facebook Messenger if you have any questions about this trail.

8 months ago

Pretty hike and saw no one else the entire time. That said I went counter clockwise and had wished I went clockwise. I hiked this alone and once I crossed the west and east confluence of beaver creek I began losing confidence in my ability to cross the stream lower down 3 more times where it would likely get deeper.

I went with my gut and turned back as I was alone , and if I jogged back the way I came I might make it back to my car before dark. Didn't want to risk injuring myself in the stream crossings and didn't want to risk getting stranded in wet clothes

9 months ago

Crossed the creek 4x to make the loop. Ran into a hunter who said you could bypass the water if you turned left just before the collapsed metal structure going counterclockwise. Next time we will bring our teva's to speed up the crossings. Overall mileage was 12.0 from the parking lot, so I'm not sure where 7.5 miles comes from...

fishing
Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Saw a mountain lion and lost the trail going up out of the drainage

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Gorgeous

hiking
Saturday, July 29, 2017

Gorgeous trail! I went counterclockwise. The river was very high and flowing pretty fast which made the river crossings difficult and quite scary. Trail is quite overgrown in a lot of places and had to backtrack a bit especially to find places to cross the river. Overall beautiful trail and very serene, I didn't see anyone until back to the trailhead.

hiking
Tuesday, June 27, 2017

It was a nice trail with a pretty decent climb. We went counter clockwise and when we hit the creek the water was too high and flowing too fast for us to cross. We had to turn back and go the way we came. Turned into a 9.5 mile hike.

hiking
Sunday, May 07, 2017

Awesome hike. As far as everyone commenting on the trail being hard to find at times, that is true. However I found it as a positive thing, I considered it a slight challenge. It also means there is less foot traffic thus less people in the area. Which is great imo!

I had a person with me that is out of shape and this hike was probably the hardest thing he has ever done. For me, I would put it as slightly above moderate intensity and I am average build. So you can use that to asses where you might be grouped.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Here's some advice. Go clockwise and you will have wet feet in the beginning of your hike. Counter clockwise and you'll save the wet feet for the last couple of miles. You will lose the trail multiple times when you are hiking along beaver creek. You will have to traverse this creek about a half dozen times. If you decide to start the trail counter clockwise (to the right at the the start of the loop) MAKE SURE TO TURN LEFT AT THE SIGN THAT SAYS POWER LINES. This is the top section of loop. Enjoy the area and PACK OUT WHAT YOU PACK IN. PLEASE!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

So..... the trail is the most poorly marked trail I have ever done. So we went on this trail and after 11 miles and 5 hours we finally completed it. We got off the trail numerous times without even realizing it, had to climb up rocks to get to a place to turn around, caught in a rock slide that put is approximately 700 feet down the side of the mountain. With this being said it is a beautiful area and we enjoyed the overall experience. But be well prepared to get lost off trail. Will probably due this again now that we know where the actual trail runs. lol.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

This was an awesome hike- great views and light traffic. HOWEVER, the trails are not marked well and we ended up on the power line trail for a total of 12 miles over very rough terrain. We had not anticipated that much of a challenge.

backpacking
Friday, March 10, 2017

Hiked here a couple times. Love the scenery and there usually aren't many other people out there. The trail does go all the way around, but the trail is not well maintained or marked. There's a spot where it seems like the trail just ends but if you scramble down the rocks to the creek it keeps going. Definitely a harder hike with some tricky spots and creek crossings where you will more than likely get your feet wet.

hiking
Monday, March 06, 2017

Good hike. Not much wildlife to been seen however.

Monday, February 06, 2017

went in early feb 2017. the loop didnt go all the way around, I think the trail may have been washed out. I'm looking fwd to going again when there is foliage and the trail is repaired. it was peaceful and shaded in part. no creeks to cross this time of year. the trail is difficult to follow. consult the map n maybe take a gps.

hiking
Sunday, August 28, 2016

We consider ourselves for ppl and this was a decent hike. The trails are not well marked, so we would get lost a lot and have to double back to find the trail. You do have to cross the river, bring a lot of water, and have your phone or GPS with you!

hiking
Friday, July 22, 2016

Be prepared for a 6 hour hike. Steep grades and creek crossings. We hiked the loop counter clockwise, saving the creek for the back end. I recommend GPS and good trail sense as you may loose you way a couple times because this trail is remote and not heavily traversed. Trout fishing is good on the creek right now (5-8inch browns and rainbows). There are large animals in the area and plenty of sign. I recommend being prepared to stay or back track out (worst case scenario). We lost the trail once we reached the creek (counter clockwise loop) but found a camp site where a couple of guys were having lunch. They directed us back on the trail, which was right there next to the camp... Overall this is a beautiful hike, but may be a bit scary to the inexperienced lol. Be prepared!

hiking
Monday, June 27, 2016

Beautiful hike. Rugged, and largely overgrown. Trail is single track and can be washed out in some areas. Views are breathtaking. Bring extra water (more than you think you need), wear hiking boots, and go when the water is lower (not after rains) as we had to cross a very swift Beaver Creek twice as my mountain-goat skills are not the best in scaling the cliff. :-) I recommend this hike for confident hikers who are well prepared.

hiking
Friday, June 17, 2016

I have been wanting to explore this area for a few years now. Saturday was the perfect time. At the trail head there was one other vehicle. I never saw the owners of the truck except for their camp site on the west side of Beaver creek about 100 meters South of the West and East Beaver Creek confluence. I hiked the trail loop clockwise with my first goal of getting to the West and East Beaver Creel junction to hang out and chill. The temperature was easily in the high 90s, in not the triple digits. A lot of sun exposure. Maps, GPS and general trail instinct is a must before venturing out on this hike. There is very little foot traffic and trails have become overgrown in some spots. Take plenty of water and drink even more. There are a lot of spots to refill (water filter or boil). Of special note, I have never seen so much poison ivy in Colorado. It was growing in an abundance in the the low, wet, shaded areas of the trail. Plenty of wildlife sign throughout the hike. I actually walked up on a male black bear on my way out in the narrow, heavily vegetated Trail Gulch portion of the loop trail. Great hike, I think it would be better to hike in the fall, winter and spring time frame.

camping
Tuesday, September 29, 2015

This trail can be challenging depending on how far you plan to hike. The first part of the trail is well marked. Further in, the trail is not marked. There are numerous creek crossings, thick brush and large boulders to contend with. Falling rocks are also a hazard. Planning ahead is a must. There is no cell service. Anyone planning on hiking into this area needs to be aware that if they are injured it could take hours for help to arrive. This trail is not an ideal trail for a beginning hiker or for someone who is not in shape. If you choose to hike this trail, come prepared for a challenge. Plan on creek crossings, pushing through thick and thorny brush and climbing steep hills and boulders. Know your limits. This can be a fun experience if you're prepared.

hiking
Thursday, August 27, 2015

Do NOT believe that this is a well-marked trail. I just took it on August 23, and if not for a page my hiking mate save on her iPhone from anytrails, we would have had to totally backtrack out of this horrid trail. It is NOT well-marked at all. We lost our way three times, and we are both very experienced hikers. I am from Oregon and accustomed to well-marked trails, and this is the HIKE FROM HELL. It is not difficult hiking-wise, but it is very difficult to find the trail with only one sign to the Powerline cutoff. Also, the crossings are over a rushing creek that are up to your thighs. Once we got over there, we had no idea where to go. We just happened to see the continuation of the trail on the others side and had to wade back across the creek again. BEWARE!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Best hike near Canon City...bring extra shoes for river crossings. Amazing hike. Well-marked..best kept secret I know.

hiking
Tuesday, December 16, 2014

(Continued from prior review, which was truncated due to it's length):
Twenty-five hours after beginning the seven-mile loop at noon on a Saturday, the authors returned to the parking lot in the early afternoon Sunday.

As a result of the authors' experience, it is strongly suggested to hikers contemplating the completion of the seven-mile loop that they be well prepared for the possibility of having to retrace a large portion of the loop if stream flows on Beaver Creek make a creek crossing dangerous!

hiking
Monday, September 16, 2013

It's beautiful, but most the trail is poorly marked and there are multiple un-marked forks that caused us to back track often and waste time. Getting there was hard because cr132 doesn't connect to 115 as apple maps would have you believe and then it's 11 miles On dirt road to the trail head. The water was too high and we couldnt cross it to finish the loop. This trail sucked.

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