Bald Mountain - 7,988'


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Elevation: 7,988'
Trailhead/Trail: Stapleton Drive Beaver Brook
Trailhead elevation: 7,442'
Total Elevation Gain: 1,590'
Coordinates: 39.7244°N, 105.3093°W
Round trip distance: 7.3 miles
Quadrangle: Evergreen
Date: 4/27/2008

After a gloomy, windy, cool day which had a brief snow shower, this Sunday dawned considerably warmer, with less wind and nice sunny skies. So I decided to do what I thought was going to be a 3 to 4 mile relatively easy hike up Bald Mountain which is just north of I-70, between the Genessee and Chief Hosa exit west to the west of Denver. Bald Mountain is Genessee Park, part of the Denver Mountain Parks.

I took Jack with me and he was glad to get out of the apartment. We headed up I-70 to the Chief Hosa exit (exit 253) and headed down the dirt Stapleton Drive to the Beaver Brook trailhead which is only about a mile from the exit. There is parking for about 10 cars at the trailhead. Initially the trail starts as a nature trail with numerous signs along the side of the trail in both braile and English, describing plants, animals, landscape, stream erosion, weather, etc.

This trail heads down hill along an intermittent stream for less than half a mile. When the creek that nature trail follows joins up with the larger Bear Gulch the nature loops back up to the parking area. There are a couple of picnic tables here, and an obvious trail heads upstream along Bear Gulch. However don't make the mistake I did and follow this trail for it quickly becomes obvious that this isn't the right trail for it peters out to a faint game trail. The real trail ducks off to the left from the picnic tables and crosses over the intermittent stream and then follows along the western side of Bear Gulch heading northwest.

Bear Gulch has formed a fairly steep sided, deep valley as it heads north to Beaver Brook. Occassionally there are some nice views off to the north

but for the most part the scenery along Bear Gulch is much closer including flowers along the trail and views of the canyon wall

Occasionally there are nice views directly down into Bear Gulch, like this view at the left

All along Bear Gulch the trail heads north and continues heading down hill. There is a short spur off of the main trail that heads out to a nice overlook of Beaver Brook, but when I was there there was a party of about 8 hikers stopped for a lunch break. So after briefly talking with them I headed on down the trail without taking any pictures of this overlook. In just a short distance from this spur the trail starts to make a series of switchbacks as it heads down to Beaver Brook. Where the trail and Beaver Brook meet, the elevation is about 6,400 feet, which means I lost over a thousand feet of elevation from the trailhead. From this point it is only about a quarter mile till Beaver Brook flows into Clear Creek.

Now that the trail has reached it's lowest point, now it is time to start gaining elevation to make the summit of Bald Mountain. And the trail gains this elevation pretty quickly as it heads up the eastern side of the Beaver Brook canyon through at first a spruce forest and then it heads back to the northwest and more open ground before heading east again through the open pine forest as it follows a ridge between Clear Creek and an unnamed little gulch. At one point there is a view of where Beaver Brook flows into Clear Creek and highway U.S. 6 by tunnel 2.

Shortly after the view of Clear Creek I came across several cactus that were in bloom.

Along the way there is Charm Spring, which is just a small puddle lined with stones. A small amount of water was flowing out of the spring, however I suspect later into summer this small spring dries up completely. From here it is only a short distance to where the trail that heads over to Bald Mountain splits off from the main Beaver Brook trail that continues for a total of about 9 miles and ultimately goes to Windy Saddle between Lookout Mountain and Mount Zion on the Lookout Mountain Road.

The view from the summit isn't all that speculator, but the view from a little further down the slope back towards Centennial Cone and the mountains along the Continental Divide in the James Peak Wilderness is pretty nice.

Bald's summit is fairly flat and there is no really obvious high point, but it appears that the trail probably goes directly over the true summit.

While Bald Mountain might have had no trees upon it's summit when it was named, there are trees all the way to it's summit and the summit plateau is fairly open, yet wooded. So perhaps a better name would be Rogaine Mountain.

I headed down the same way I came up. Along the way Jack, who was getting pretty tired found a couple of streams to wade through and drink in some well needed water.