The Beaver Creek Wilderness Study Area is a 40,000 acre uninhabited and roadless chunk of land on the rugged south-slope of Pikes Peak.
If you are looking for some rough trail and solitude, this is as good of an option as exists along the front range.
There are some very steep sections here which will not allow for running.
Along the creek the trail can be hard to follow. Just keep the creek to the south and the mountain to the north.
The final couple of miles of CR 132, leading to the TH, can be in pretty bad shape after snow and/or rains. I have been down it when it definitely required a 4WD high-clearance vehicle.
Getting there will take you along CR 132. You know you are there when the road ends at a dirt parking lot. The TH is at the end of the parking area.
From the TH, a dirt road leads to the loop. Follow this road, keeping the creek to your left. The road will be reduced to a trail as the road continues to the right toward a quarry (the continuation of CR 132) and the trail goes to the left but starts to depart from the creek.
After 0.75 miles the junction is reached. This is made apparent by the confusing sign that simply says "Creek" and points to the left, and "trail" pointing to the right. This is a simply laziness of the sign maker to annotate the Creek Trail
and Trail Gulch. The description here will be by way of heading to the left down Creek Trail
follows Beaver Creek, generally above it. 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.
Once the point is reached where the creek is heading up a canyon to the left, you'll find yourself climbing. This climb will take the trail to Powerline Trail
heads off to the right to traverse the ridge before doing an equally severe descent to Trail Gulch.
Taking trail Gulch north will lead to Rosemont Reservoir and Gold Camp Road (for future adventures). This loop instead turns south through a shallow canyon along a (typically) dry creek bed (East Mill Gulch
) back to the original junction.
This trail exists in both State Wilderness Area (SWA) and Wilderness Study Area (WSA) land. Large, angry signs at the trailhead will inform you that camping is not allowed in the SWA. However, dispersed camping is allowed in the WSA, which is owned by the BLM. There are several established campsites along the route.