Length: 5-mile loop
Difficulty: Moderate
Why We Love It: The proximity to Denver is a huge plus, but the shaded route and adjacent creek also offer an escape from the sun on hot days. 
When to Go: Summer and fall
Pre-Hike Buzz: Grab an espresso at the homey Buffalo Moon Coffee Shop and Delicatessen one exit to the west (254), off Genesee Trail Road.
Restrooms: Vaulted restroom at the trailhead
Distance from Denver: 20 miles
Dogs: On leash

Cajoling your schedule to make time for a jaunt in the Rocky Mountain air is harder than it should be, right? That’s one reason we love the Beaver Brook and Chavez trails loop. This solid five-mile hike in Genessee Park is only 20 miles from the Mile High City, but feels like just the escape you need. You can be out of the bustle and on the trail in under 30 minutes (traffic deities willing, of course).

From the clearly marked Beaver Brook trailhead, the dirt path ascends and descends on a mostly tree-covered route, flanked by a mountain creek for the majority of the journey. When you come to a fork, take either option. On your right, the connected Braille trail is the most challenging option. From Braille, continue onto Chavez Trail and then turn left onto Beaver Brook to loop back. Otherwise, take the left fork onto Beaver Brook and be sure to mind the signage for Chavez trail (which you will take from Beaver Brook to loop back to your car), lest you find yourself stranded at Windy Saddle Park after more than 10 miles.

Whichever route, the loop hugs hillsides for a pine-shaded trek, accompanied by the sounds of a trickling creek, wind whispering through dry grass, and birds aflutter above. You won’t find any high mountain views or summits here, but you will be treated to a perfectly lovely stroll through the woods—except for one rocky, cliff-hugging stretch (watch your step and wear sturdy shoes). 

Anyone at a moderate fitness level can champion this hike, though take note that some areas are steep and rocky. More ambitious adventurers can maximize the workout by tackling the route as a trail run. 

You’re welcome, and we’re sorry, for relieving you of the “I don’t have enough time” excuse for not hiking more.

Directions: Heading west on I-70, take exit 253 toward Chief Hosa. Turn right onto Moss Rock Road and take an immediate right onto Stapleton Road. You’ll find ample parking at the trailhead. Start at Braille Trail and then follow signs for Beaver Brook Trail. Later, turn onto Chavez Trail to complete the loop back to your car.

Haley Gray
Haley Gray
Haley Gray is a Boulder-based freelance journalist. Her work has appeared in 5280, Roads and Kingdoms, Boulder Magazine, and the Albuquerque Journal.