Backpack to the Abandoned Skagway Power Plant and Ghost Town

Details

Distance

10 miles

Elevation Gain

1000 ft

Route Type

Out-and-Back

Added by Jake Sells

Backpack deep into the Beaver Creek Canyon to an abandoned power plant and ghost town. Set up camp and spend time exploring the abandoned buildings, go fishing in the Beaver Creek, and take a dip in one of the many waterfall pools.

Construction of the Skagway Plant began in 1899 and was complete in 1901. In 1965, 15 days of rain brought floods washing out a lot of the pipeline and other infrastructure. Fixing the power plant didn’t make sense and funds weren’t in place. The land was reverted to the government.

The hike begins at the Skagway Reservoir parking lot. Walk towards the dam and follow the West Beaver Creek along a dirt road for about a mile. When you reach a gate in the road the trail veers off to the right and continues along the creek. The second mile will take you through fields and easy terrain along the creek. As you make your way down the creek, the trail (blazed with pink and orange markers) begins taking several creek crossings. The first couple can be done while keeping dry but prepare to jump in because the final couple require you to get a little wet.

This trail is known for its tough terrain but it’s nothing too crazy, be prepared. The last couple miles will take you through boulder fields and several tight timber areas along the creek. Be sure to stay in a group as you blaze the trail looking for the markers and take your time at intersections along the trail. There’s only one attraction (that being the power plant), so there are multiple trails along the creek to follow (We stuck with the orange trail markers and ended up crossing only 5 times, 2 of which forced us into the water).

A white building will be seen initially on your right. Cross the creek here and make your way up to the infamous Skagway Power Plant & Ghost town. Set up camp among the century old buildings, explore and hike out the next day (I recommend a two-day hike for the full experience).

This is a must do hike in Colorado in my opinion. A true adventure… Good luck! 

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Known for

Camping
Fishing
Photography
Backpacking
Hiking
Easy Parking
Forest
Lake
River
Scenic
Waterfall
Swimming Hole

Nearby

Reviews

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More difficult than anticipated, still had a blast

This was my first backpacking trip and, holy moly, did I pick a tough one. We didn’t make it to the power plant due to one crossing near the end being a little too tough for our dog to get past. Our first night, we got stranded on the trail about three-ish miles in due to a wild downpour. Ended up setting up our tent right in the middle of the trail. Second night, we turned back after deciding not to cross with pup and found a campsite a few miles closer to the beginning to set up. We had a lovely time even though we didn’t make it to the power plant. Would absolutely come back to this one!

Nice Walk

This is a nice easy backpack for those looking to get out. The hike in is open and then the canyon gets a bit steep and bouldery. Around here there are a few swimming holes which can be fun. The actual power plant is a nice bit of history. Try to take out a bit more trash then you bring in. The area is unfortunately getting a bit littered

Totally awesome

Lived in CO my whole life and this is by far my favorite hike! We got lucky cause the creek was low and our feet stayed dry.

536 total saves

3.5/5

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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