On the last Saturday of 2018, I woke up wanting to do something to end the year on a strong note. I had the perfect hike all picked out a week in advance and was not bothered by the fact that it was a balmy 8 degrees at 8:15 in the morning. As the fourth car in the parking lot of Windy Saddle Park looking out over Golden, Colorado, and the Coors Brewery, I simply had to take a moment to pause and reflect on everything that I had accomplished in 2018.
Despite working two jobs for well over a year, I was certainly surprised at the amount of hiking that I was still able to do in my spare time when I wasn’t sleeping or doing other adult chores such as laundry. For most of the hiking I did in 2018, I was literally getting home from my second job at 10:30 every night and probably getting six hours of sleep if I was lucky just to wake up early to go hiking on Saturday mornings before thunderstorms formed up in the mountains. With that being said, I learned in 2018 that you have to always find time to follow your passion no matter what your circumstances are in life in order to be happy.
After briefly reflecting and pondering life for several minutes, I soon found myself hiking up the Beaver Brook Trail with my trekking poles in hand prepared for whatever I was going to encounter that day. At the beginning of the trail, you will come to a warning sign telling you that hikers have gone missing in this vicinity before and that if you need to call for help that your cell phone might not work due to the limited amount of service. Another sign also warns you that the trail is also 10 miles one way and to make sure that you have a map with you.
On this particular day, I was the first person on the trail as evident by the lack of footprints in the freshly fallen snow from the night before. Shortly into the hike, you come across a boulder field that can easily be maneuvered through with the help of trekking poles. Once you pass through it, the trail stays pretty rocky and goes up and down before you reach a really steep cliff of sorts where you could definitely fall off the trail if you’re not careful. You will also get some good views of the surrounding foothills as you go in and out of the woods.
Shortly thereafter, you end up at a cool little stream crossing where you have to cross a log to get to the other side. I’ve always enjoyed unique little stream crossings like this and what made it even cooler was that I could hear the water rushing quite quickly underneath the ice. This looks like the kind of place that would be cool to dip your feet in during the warmer spring and summer months just to cool off for a little bit. The sound of cars on the highway had faded away, and all I could hear was the relaxing sound of the wind moving through the trees. In addition to that, the views of the surrounding foothills were really starting to open up.
Before too long, I came to the Gudy Gaskill trail which loops around to reconnect with the Beaver Brook Trail. It’s a pretty nice little 2 mile loop that provides excellent views of the foothills as well as an overlook into Clear Creek Canyon down below. The overlook area was a little slippery due to the winter conditions but was nothing too crazy. Once I reemerged on the Beaver Brook Trail, I decided to hike several more miles west and found myself with some pretty amazing views in every direction. At this point, I had hiked for 4 hours and not seen a single person, but that all changed as I ran into countless people on my way back to the trailhead.
Overall, I hiked just under 12.5 miles that day, and it was a lot better than I had expected it to be in terms of the trail conditions. I was really amazed at how such a cool trail could be just fifteen minutes away from my front door. I would absolutely recommend this trail if you’re looking for a cool and unique hike near Denver and Golden.