Staunton SP

Staunton SP

Friday, March 30, 2012

Beaver Brook>Chavez Loop, Genesee Park

Beaver Brook Trail > Chavez Trail Loop
Genesee Park

Date Hiked: March 30, 2012

  • Distance: 4 mi (RT) - 5 mi (RT) in the offseason
  • Elevation Gain: 1,300ft
  • Elevation Min/Max: 6,552 to 7,641ft
  • Managing Agency: Denver Mountain Parks
  • Fee: None

Genesee Park Trail Map (Denver Mt. Parks)
Beaver Brook > Chavez Loop Trail Map (Google Maps)

Directions:  From Denver take I-70 West to the Chief Hosa Exit.  From the exit turn right (west) and then a quick right (north) onto Stapleton Road, following signs to Genesee Park.  Continue on Stapleton Road.  During the winter the road is closed by a gate, during the spring, summer, and fall, you can drive all the way to the trailhead.

The Beaver Brook Trail is an 8 mile trek through the foothills that leads from Genesee Park to Windy Saddle Park.  However, there is a wonderful 4 mile loop hike that starts on the Beaver Brook Trail and returns via the Chavez Trail.  For this trail description, there is an extra mile, roundtrip, because the gate to the trailhead was closed for the season.  The trail starts on the Braille Trail aka the Stapleton Mountain Nature Trail, a short nature trail that features braille signage.  The Braille Trail ends with a stream crossing and a sign pointing the way to the Beaver Brook Trail.  The BB Trail heads down a forested canyon and as you get closer to the bottom, the trail gets steep and rocky.  The canyon closes in and you reach Beaver Brook.

A sign at Beaver Brook will point to the left for the Chavez Trail, if you don't want to explore more of the Beaver Brook Trail, turn left here.  You'll be glad you did as the Chavez Trail is lots of fun to hike.  Cross Beaver Brook and look for the trail on the other side.  The trail follows Beaver Brook for a ways and then picks its way up-stream through narrow granite canyons and across rock faces.  Once through the canyon the trail becomes your typical uphill forest hike.  When you reach an old service road, head left and eventually you'll pop out back at the trailhead.  The part of the Chavez Trail down in the canyon is a fantastic area and you'll want to come back and explore again and again.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Horsetooth Falls Loop, Horsetooth Mountain Open Space

Horsetooth Falls Loop
Horsetooth Mountain Open Space

Date Hiked:  March 4, 2012

Distance: 3.5 mi (RT)
Elevation Gain:  500ft
Elevation Start: 5,716ft
Managing Agency: Larimer County Open Space
Fee: Yes

Horsetooth Mountain Trail Map (Larimer Co)
Horsetooth Falls Trail Map (Google Maps) Map only shows one way of the loop

Directions:  From I-25 take Harmony Road west all the way to Horsetooth Reservoir.  Continue on CO Rd 38E and follow signs to the Horesetooth Mountain Open Space Parking Lot and Trailheads.

Horsetooth Mountain is a very popular open space area, deservingly so.  The park has some 29 miles of trails used by both hikers and mountain bikers.  Horsetooth Falls is definitely a main attraction but there are so many other areas to explore that the park seldom feels crowded.  This loop visits Horsetooth falls, then climbs to the top of the falls and the Spring Creek Trail, returning via the Soderberg and Horsetooth Rock Trails.

From the trailhead, start switchbacking up the western slopes of the mountain to a pass.  Make a right at this trail junction and descend down to Spring Creek.  Follow the creek through evergreen forest and rock formations to a junction.  From here go straight to the base of the falls.  After you've spent some time enjoying the falls, go back to the junction and follow the trail up to the top of the falls.  After a short diversion to the top, backtrack to the Spring Creek Trail.

Follow the Spring Creek Trail through open meadows and past rocky outcroppings back to Spring Creek.  Cross the Creek and pick up the Soderberg Trail.  This trail will take you back to the east through pine forest with views down to Horsetooth Reservoir.  Pickup the Horsetooth Rock trail, make a left and head back to the parking area.