Beaver Mountain Loop, Upper Beaver Meadows Trailhead, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
Beaver Mountain Loop - 5.1 Miles
Upper Beaver Meadows Trailhead
|Round-Trip Length:||5.1 Miles|
|Start-End Elevation:||8,440' - 8,440' (9,217' max elevation)|
|Elevation Change:||+777' net elvation gain (+885' total roundtrip elevation gain)|
Beaver Mountain (10,491') is located in the east central quadrant of Rocky Mountain National Park. The Beaver Mountain Trail loops through meadows, ponderosa parks, and aspen-fir forests in a uniquely diverse life zone. Low elevations and mild grades make it accessible year-round, an ideal choice for families, runners, and winter recreation.
A high water table under Beaver Meadows creates fine, moist soil conditions that do not effectively support tree growth. These meadow-creating conditions are perpetuated over time by grazing wildlife and natural fires.
Surrounding slopes, where soil conditions improve, support ponderosa woodlands, aspen, fir and lodgepole pine. This rich mosaic of meadow and forest provides ideal habitat, safe passage, and abundant food for elk, deer, bear, mountain lion, badger, fox, and coyote.
The following description travels clockwise on the Beaver Mountain Loop:
The trail splits just a few steps from the trailhead to form a short loop within the loop. The forks are equidistant and rejoin at a sign for Trail Ridge Road - Ute Meadow Campsite (.6 miles : 8,568'). Curiously, the Beaver Mountain Trail is not listed on these signs, but heading for Trail Ridge Road will keep you on track in each instance.
The Beaver Mountain Trail leaves open meadow and climbs into a mixed pine-fir forest. It wraps around a large outcrop (1.3 miles), crosses a stream, and heads SW up a narrow gulch to the Ute Trail split (1.65 miles : 9,025').
The low rise to your left is the top of a divisive moraine between Moraine Park (south) and Beaver Meadows (north). Moraines are ridges of glacial till pushed aside by a glacier's downward movement. Take a few steps off trail for terrific views over Moraine Park and the Cub Creek drainage from the ridge top.
The Beaver Mountain Trail continues steadily up the east shoulder of Beaver Mountain. It crests on the route's highest point (2.2 miles : 9,217') and drops to a hitch rack (2.3 miles : 9,120'). The trail continues downhill through uniform lodgepole columns to a footbridge over Beaver Brook (3.15 miles : 8,715'). Once over it skirts a slender, aspen studded meadow ideal for spotting elk and bear.
The trail crosses another stream and climbs into a pine forest, which transitions back to ponderosa park and open meadow at a sign for Deer Ridge Junction (4.6 miles : 8,532'). Turn right toward Beaver Meadows. The trail drops gently through a sprawling swath of sage-grass meadow back to Upper Beaver Meadows Trailhead to complete the loop (5.1 miles : 8,440').
GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84View these GPS points on a Google Map
- N40 22.372 W105 36.845 — 0.0 miles : Upper Beaver Meadows Trailhead
- N40 22.116 W105 36.850 — .35 miles : Follow signs to Trail Ridge Road
- N40 21.893 W105 37.298 — 1.0 miles : Steady climb into mixed forest
- N40 21.615 W105 37.886 — 1.65 miles : Beaver Mountain Trail - Ute Trail split
- N40 21.900 W105 37.582 — 2.3 miles : Hitchrack - begin descent into lodgepole
- N40 22.450 W105 37.561 — 3.15 miles : Cross footbridge over Beaver Brook
- N40 22.781 W105 36.970 — 4.0 miles : Rolling travel back into ponderosa park
- N40 22.623 W105 36.474 — 4.55 miles : Follow sign RT to Beaver Meadows TH
- N40 22.372 W105 36.845 — 5.1 miles : Upper Beaver Meadows Trailhead
- The Beaver Mountain Trail is known for wildlife. The annual elk rut and abundant aspens make it an especially compelling autumn destination.
- Scale the small ridge at the Ute Trail - Beaver Mountain Trail junction for superb views over Moraine Park and the Cub Creek drainage to the south.
- The dirt road leading to the trailhead is gated-off to automobile travel in the winter, however you can park in designated areas near the gate and walk yourself in.
- Note that clockwise travel on the loop trail will deposit you on Upper Beaver Meadows Road .1 miles from the trailhead, which is visible from this point.
Rules and Regulations
- Dogs are not permitted on any backcountry trail in Rocky Mountain National Park.
- Horses are permitted on the Beaver Mountain Trail.
The Upper Beaver Meadows Trailhead is located 2.3 miles from the Beaver Meadows Entrance Station in Rocky Mountain National Park.
From the Beaver Meadows Entrance Station, drive .3 miles on HWY 36 / Trail Ridge Road to the access road for Upper Beaver Meadows Trailhead. Turn left on the groomed dirt road and travel 2 miles to the parking lot. The dirt road is gated-off to automobile travel in the winter, however you can park in designated areas near the gate and walk yourself in.
Rocky Mountain National Park
1000 Highway 36
Estes Park, CO 80517-8397