Hike Beaver Creek Wilderness Study Area 

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When viewed on a map, the Beaver Creek State Wildlife Area (SWA) looks, for the most part, as though it were haphazardly drawn. It extends north and south for miles but much of it is nothing more than a line, following Beaver Creek, with the exception of a wider area at the south and the Skagway Reservoir at the north end. As the Beaver Creek SWA winds it's way up to the reservoir, it bisects the Beaver Creek Wilderness Study Area (WSA), which belongs to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. A "Wilderness Study Area" is an area that the BLM manages and protects as if it were an actual wilderness area, pending it's designation as a Wilderness Area, or before being released of it's status and becoming a non-protected area. There's not much in the wilderness, which is in line with it's purpose; to be a quiet, roadless area. There are few trails in the Beaver Creek WSA, and it's remote location and lack of notoriety keep what trails are there off the radar for most hikers. These trails can be difficult to navigate and physically strenuous, but the solitude and spectacular views are your payoff — just be prepared to work hard and get wet. This hike uses the Beaver Creek Trail, Powerline Trail and Trail Gulch Trail, for a hike of about 7 miles and a bit more than 1,300-feet of elevation gain.
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Bob Falcone
You'll know you're almost there when you see this sign.
Bob Falcone
The end of the road. The trailhead is at the far end of the lot/
Bob Falcone
As is common at many Colorado SWA's there is a great informational kiosk.
Bob Falcone
The trail starts to the left of the "No Camping" sign and follows the dirt road.
Bob Falcone
The first 3/10's of a mile of trail offers some nice views of mountains, red rocks and open meadows.
Bob Falcone
At about 3/10's of a mile the trail forks. Going left will take you to Beaver Creek, right will take you to the Trail Gulch Trail. You can go either way and will end up back here, however the trek to the highest point of this hike is steeper and longer if you go counter-clockwise.
Bob Falcone
Close up of the sign at the fork. It doesn't help much. I went left (clockwise).
Bob Falcone
After about 1/2 mile into the hike this foot bridge crosses Beaver Creek. It's the only bridge on this hike. From here you'll either rock-hop or wade through the creek.
Bob Falcone
Shortly after the footbridge, you'll cross the creek again here. This is the only spot with a decent rock crossing. You'll cross the creek a number of times over the next 1.5 miles or so, having to wade in calf-deep water each time. This hike was in early August. These crossings are likely to vary greatly during the course of a year. Evaluate your options carefully before proceeding.
Bob Falcone
Looking up Beaver Creek. The only noise you'll hear is rushing water.
Bob Falcone
After about 2 miles (from the trailhead) you'll have made your final crossing of the creek, onto the east side. The trail rises far above the creek, before dropping down briefly. You'll have views like this to the north and Sugarloaf Mountain during this portion of the hike. Shortly after, the trail again rises steeply until it intersects with the Powerline trail at about 3 miles. There is no sign for the intersection, however, it's where you'll make a sharp right turn high above the confluence of the West and East Beaver Creeks.
Bob Falcone
The view south, from near the high point of the Powerline Trail. The hike from the intersection of the Beaver Creek and Powerline Trail to the highest point is steep, strenuous 1-mile trip. From the top, the trail goes downhill steeply until it reaches the Trail Gulch Trail.
Bob Falcone
At just under 5 miles, the Powerline Trail meets the Trail Gulch Trail. Turn right here. The trailhead is a little over 2-miles away. The trail crosses Trail Gulch a number of times, but in early August the creek was dry, making for a quick trip down.
Bob Falcone
The loop hike. I went clockwise, but the hike can be done in either directon.
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Bob Falcone
Shortly after the footbridge, you'll cross the creek again here. This is the only spot with a decent rock crossing. You'll cross the creek a number of times over the next 1.5 miles or so, having to wade in calf-deep water each time. This hike was in early August. These crossings are likely to vary greatly during the course of a year. Evaluate your options carefully before proceeding.

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