Beaver Creek Trail

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Beaver Creek Trail #464

Forest Trail #434 (Beaver Creek Trail) is 11.1 miles long and is in the West Elk Wilderness. The lower 2.75 miles is no longer maintained. The maintained trail segment begins at Forest Trail #601 and ends at Forest Trail #449. Forest Trail #464 is open for the following uses: hiking, backpacking, and horseback riding.

From the south, the trail gradually climbs along the Beaver Creek valley. The trail meanders through aspen and pine forests giving a sense of isolation and solitude. Beaver Creek is unique due to the reintroduction of native cutthroat trout. A fish barrier has been constructed near the Gunnison National Forest boundary to
protect the upper stretches of both Beaver Creek and West Beaver Creek from non-native fish encroachment.

From the south (Access #1), the trail begins on Colorado Division of Wildlife lands, passes through BLM lands, finally crossing onto
National Forest lands approximately 1.5 miles from the trailhead. If you continue north another 4.4 miles, you will enter into the West Elk Wilderness Area. Another mile north, the trail intersects with the Beaver Creek Trail #464 near the old cabin; this intersection is not very well defined. The West Beaver Creek Trail then heads west up West Beaver Creek. Expect very primitive trail conditions as
you travel toward timberline and the intersection with the Sun Park trail #444.
From the south, the trail begins at the West Beaver Creek Trail intersection near the old cabin. Expect primitive trail conditions from this intersection. Continue to travel north on the trail; crossing Beaver Creek numerous times before reaching the Zig-Zag Trail intersection. The trail continues to follow Beaver Creek to above
timberline. The trail then flanks the east side of the Middle Baldy Mountains to the intersection with the Sun Park Trail #444.

Best Season: Summer through fall.
Closest Towns: Gunnison, CO
Operated By: Forest Service


ACCESS #1: Travel 6 miles west on US Hwy 50 from Gunnison to the Gunnison
State Wildlife Area and turn right on the Beaver Creek Road #726.
A.) Travel north 2.5 miles through Colorado Division of Wildlife lands to Harris
Hereford Ranch. Once past the ranch, the road degrades from a gravel-surfaced
road to an un-surfaced primitive road requiring 4-wheel drive, even when road
conditions are dry. Park and hike or drive another 2 miles to the trailhead (at the
end of road #3113).
B.) Travel north 2 miles through Colorado Division of Wildlife lands and turn
right on Steers Gulch Road #726 before reaching the Harris Hereford Ranch.
Travel north to the trailhead (at the end of the road). When wet, 4-wheel drive is
required to safely travel on Forest Road #726. At the trailhead, park and hike
west into the West Elk Wilderness area on the Zig-Zag Trail #601. The Zig-Zag
Trail has a series of switchbacks that descend steeply to the Beaver Creek Trail
#464; approximately 4.5 miles north of the junction with the West Beaver Creek
Trail #447.
ACCESS #2: Travel about 3.5 miles north of Gunnison on US HWY 135. Take a
left on County Road 730 and travel northwest up Ohio Creek Road for
approximately 9 miles. Turn left onto Mill Creek Road, also known as BLM Road
3118, and follow it to the Little Mill Creek Trailhead #455. This trail intersects
with the Zig-Zag Trail, which then connects with Beaver Creek Trail within th~
West Elk Wilderness.

Beaver Creek Trail #911

Beaver Creek Trail enters into the Indian Peaks Wilderness shortly after leaving the Beaver Creek Trailhead. After a few switchbacks, the trail circles the ridge and intersects with the Mount Audubon Trail.

Beaver Creek Trail continues northward for 3.4 miles, descending the northeastern flank of the mountain on a nice graded trail, finally dropping into Coney Flats. From Coney Flats the Beaver Creek Trail turns west into the Indian Peaks Wilderness. The Coney Lake Trail intersects 0.25 miles west of Coney Flats, and Beaver Creek Trail ends at Buchanan Pass Trail, 1.8 miles west of Coney Flats.

Permit Info: This trail lies within the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area:

  • Camping permits required for all overnight trips between June 1 and September 15. Overnight permits cost $5 per group, per trip from June 1 through September 15.
  • Organized groups are required to have a permit for both camping and day-hiking year round. Day-hiking permits are free.
Usage: Heavy
Restrictions: Indian Peak Wilderness restrictions apply:

  • Motorized and mechanized vehicles are prohibited.
  • Pets must be on a hand-held leash at all times.
  • Campfires prohibited.
  • Campsites must be at least 100 feet away from water and trail.
  • Group size is limited to 12.
  • Packstock are prohibited on portions of this trail
  • Camping is prohibited on portions of this trail from May 1 through November 30.

Fishing and hunting: permitted in accordance with regulations established by the Colorado Parks & Wildlife.

Closest Towns: Ward, Colorado
Water: Occasional streams; treat water for drinking
Restroom: Vault toilet at trailhead
Operated By: U.S. Forest Service
Information Center: Boulder Ranger District, 2140 Yarmouth Ave, Boulder, CO 80301


From Colorado Highway 72 at Ward, turn west onto the Brainard Lake Road. Travel 2.5 miles to the entrance portal, and continue another three miles to Beaver Creek Trailhead.

Day Hiking and Backpacking

This trail is within the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area. The south end climbs steeply to the north over a shoulder of Mount Audubon before dropping down Beaver Creek drainage and on to Coney Flats. From here the trail cuts west and ends at Buchanan Pass Trail. Destinations include Mount Audubon, Coney Lake and Buchanan Pass.

Difficulty Level: Intermediate to Difficult


  • Trail Measurement: 6.9, 9.9, 11.1, 11.7 Miles
  • Compass Latitude: 400735N
  • Compass Longitude: 1053417W
  • Numeric Latitude: 40.1263746
  • Numeric Longitude: -105.5713897
  • Elevation in Meters: 2438 to 3474
  • Elevation in Feet: 8,000 to 11,400

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