Located 12 miles north of Penrose and along the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Highway, Beaver Creek State Wildlife Area is a lesser-known yet no less beautiful outdoor excursion.
Avoid the crowds on this 40,000-acre uninhabited and roadless chunk of land on the rugged south-slope of Pikes Peak.
When viewed on a map, the Beaver Creek State Wildlife Area) 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 State Wildlife Area winds its way up to the reservoir, it bisects the Beaver Creek Wilderness Study Area, which belongs to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.
There are few trails in the Beaver Creek State Wildlife Area, and its remote location and lack of notoriety keep what trails are there off the radar for most hikers.
Beaver Creek Trail Loop
The Beaver Creek Trail Loop is a designated trail in the Beaver Creek State Wildlife Area. It is a 7.2-mile loop that follows Beaver Creek. The trail climbs over walls only to drop back down to the creek again several times. At times, the trail is hard to follow when it drops down to the creek, but if you keep heading upstream and keep the creek on your left, you’ll find your way back to an apparent trail. It is a spectacular journey with ponderosas, cliffs, rushing water, and blissful solitude.
This trail exists in both State Wilderness Area and Wilderness Study Area land. Large signs at the trailhead will inform you that camping is not allowed in the State Wildlife Area. However, dispersed camping is allowed in the Wilderness Study Area, which is owned by the BLM. There are several established campsites along the route.
Fishing at Beaver Creek State Wildlife Area
Beaver Creek’s headwaters begin at the top of Pikes Peak. The creek cuts its way down to the Arkansas River with most of its water pumped into Brush Hollow Reservoir. Most of the stream travels through Beaver Creek State Wildlife Area.
Fishing is best if you wait until after the diversion dam. This stream offers some open and meadow areas as well as tighter, more forested sections and boulders and pools deeper in the canyon. Here, you’ll find Brown Trout, Brook Trout, and some Rainbow Trout.