Hiking the Beaver Creek Wilderness Study Area


  • Bob Falcone
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.

To get there from Colorado Springs: Take Hwy 115 south to the town of Penrose.  Turn west on Fremont County road 123 (watch for the sign on Hwy 115 for :"Brush Hollow SWA").  Take CR 123 a few miles to County Road 123, also known as Upper Beaver Creek Road, just before the intersection with Phantom Canyon Road.  Take CR 123north for approximately 11 miles to the dead-end and parking lot and trailhead. The road appears to be passable by almost any vehicle when dry.

Happy Trails!

Bob Falcone is a retired firefighter, photographer, hiker, college instructor, business owner and author of Hiking Bob's Tips, Tricks and Trails, available via his website. He has lived in Colorado Springs for over 24 years. Follow him on Twitter (@hikingbob), Facebook (Hiking Bob), Instagram (@HikingBob_CO) or visit his website (Hikingbob.com). E-mail questions, comments, suggestions, etc to Bob: info@hikingbob.com.

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