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Backpacking: Colorado > Pike and San Isabel National Forests > Salida Ranger District

Quick Facts

Browns Creek Trail

Beginning Elevation: 8,970 Feet (2796.1 Meters) Browns Creek Trailhead
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation Gain: 2,310 Feet (720.1 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 11,280 Feet (3516.2 Meters) Browns Lake
Length, One-way: 5.5 Miles (9.17 Kilometers)
Other Maps: Trails Illustrated 130, San Isabel National Forest
Recommended Season: Summer
Trail Number: 1429
Usage: Moderate
USGS Maps: Mt. Antero, St. Elmo

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

Browns Creek Trailhead provides access to the Colorado Trail
Copyright: Amy Pyle - Interactive Outdoors, Inc.
Browns Creek Trailhead provides access to the Colorado Trail
Browns Creek Trail is located 15 miles southwest of Buena Vista. This trail follows the Browns Creek Drainage approximately 5.5 miles to Browns Lake, where it meets with a four-wheel drive road. Begin your trip at Browns Creek Trailhead on County Road 272. Within 1.5 miles of the trailhead is a junction with the Colorado Trail. Browns Creek Trail continues westward from this junction and the Colorado Trail heads southward. Shortly after the trail junction the path crosses Little Browns Creek. The next creek the trail reaches is Browns Creek. (Both of these streams provide access for trout fishing.) From this point to Forest Road 278, Upper Browns Road, the trail follows the stream closely. It also climbs to a high point of 11,280' at the lake.

Browns Creek Trail offers outstanding scenery varying from open ponderosa pine stands, mountain meadows, lodgepole pine and spruce forests, to alpine vistas of Mt. Antero. A horse corral is available at the trailhead. There are no developed camping facilities along the trail, but primitive camping is permitted. Four-wheel drive roads 277 and 278 provide access to Mt. Antero and Browns Creek Trail from the Chalk Creek drainage from late July to late September.

Directions from Buena Vista: Drive south 10 miles to County Road 270; and then travel west on County Road 270 for 2.5 miles. This road turns sharply north. Continue straight at this T and follow County Road 272 4 miles to the trailhead.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Open: Mid-June through Mid-October .

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

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Difficulty: Moderate
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: We hiked this trail June 7,1999. Actually, our intention was to take the Colorado Trail south to Angel of Shavano campground, but we got 'sidetracked' onto this trail due to lack of attention to signs! It turned out to be a beautiful mistake. The views are outstanding, and the environment is almost constantly changing. Be sure to visit the 'falls' about half way up, which are marked by a barely legible wooden sign. We were not able to complete the hike due to the large amount of snow encountered on the trail, making it hard to follow and necessitating many detours. It would be a great trail to hike after the snow melts! We encountered only 1 other user, an intrepid mountain biker who had made the same mistake is sign-reading as we had. The first 2 miles or so of this trail after it splits from the Colorado Trail is ideal for biking, but from there it becomes much more steep and rocky, practically unridable, unless you're into trials riding.

Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Backpacking Browns Creek Trail
ICON Fishing Browns Creek Trail - Browns Creek and Little Browns Creek
ICON Hiking & Walking Browns Creek Trail
ICON Horseback Riding Browns Creek Trail
ICON Bird Identification Browns Creek Trail
ICON Mushroom Identification Browns Creek Trail
ICON Plant Identification Browns Creek Trail
ICON Wildflower Identification Browns Creek Trail
ICON Animal Identification Browns Creek Trail

Related Activities
Browns Creek Trailhead - Browns Creek Trailhead provides access to a plethora of recreation opportunities. Trails accessible from this site include the following: Little Browns Creek Trail, Browns Creek Trail, the Colorado Trail and Wagons Loop Trail

Wagon Loop Trail - This loop provides a relatively easy day hike or ride. The total mileage is approximately 3.5 miles to complete the loop. Fishing is good in Browns Creek and Little Browns Creek.

More Information

Visitor Information:

Heart of the Rockies Chamber of Commerce, 406 West Rainbow Blvd. , Salida, CO, , Phone: 719-539-3591


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