Browns Creek and Little Browns Creek Trail is a 18.1 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Nathrop, Colorado that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
18.1 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
4,409 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

backpacking

birding

fishing

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

blowdown

rocky

scramble

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.

hiking
2 months ago

Please note, this is a review for doing this route counter-clockwise, so doing Little Brown's Creek trail on the north side first. I did this loop as a day hike.

If you're doing this as a day hike, I would definitely recommend approaching it counter-clockwise, as the uphill on Little Brown's Creek Trail was gradual and well maintained. By comparison, County Road 278 and Brown's Creek Trail were much rockier and, as difficult as they were to go down, I can't imagine walking up it. I would recommend hiking poles for this one.

On the way going uphill on Little Brown's Creek trail, the trail eventually appears to simply end (above treeline), which is presumably where this route, and where we, walked over to 278. Once near the top of Mount White, you will notice that this trail veers out to the Northwest, instead of hugging around the mountain and going southwest. Essentially, you're scooping a very wide loop, which feels unintuitive at first, but it is the only way to do it.

Please note, once we got back to the intersection of Brown's Creek Trail and the Colorado Trail section (toward the end of our hike), there was a sign that pointed to "Wagon Wheel Loop Trail." Do not follow this, as it leads to the Wagon Wheel Trailhead, NOT the Brown's Creek trailhead. Instead, follow the Colorado Trail north for the short jaunt, as this trail guide indicates, and exit onto the wagon loop trail at the second sign, which is the same sign you would have seen in the morning.

If you're looking for camping, there were good spots around the lake and especially a bit higher in elevation from the lake. Didn't see a lot of spots in general though, especially on little browns creek trail.

This is a really long hike, my legs hurt, but it's really pretty. I wouldn't attempt this unless you've at least done some solid 12+ mile hikes with some solid elevation gain. Bring a hat, gloves, thermal and something to protect your legs, as it is very windy at the top, and we caught some freezing rain. Definitely a nice hike, the lake is beautiful, and I didn't see a ton of traffic. Only giving it 4 starts because of the loose, rocky trail on Brown's Creek Trail and 278.

4 months ago

Only giving 2 stars, because the guide information was wrong. It is a 20 mile loop (according to my GPS), not 15.9, so a bit on the strenuous side. Probably would’ve made it a backpacking trip instead if the information was correct. Very long day hike, but very beautiful and worth it.

hiking
4 months ago

The loop as a whole was a decent hike with some spectacular sections along the way. We did this in 3 days and 2 nights with very little planning because it was our plan B.

Day one (6.5 mi): Hiked up to Brown's Lake, stopping at the waterfall on the way. The waterfall was definitely the highlight of the day although the lake and valley between the towering mountains came in a close second. The mosquitos were absolutely terrible.

Day two(7 mi): We hiked up to the pass where you have the option to hike one more mile and 1,000 more feet to the top of Mt Antero. The hike up to this point is pretty brutal in some spots. Most of the hiking around this area is done on roads shared with 4-wheelers and jeeps, hence the 4 stars. We finished off the day by hiking down to a camping spot near the creek.

Day 3 (3.5 mi): Very easy and nice hike out for the final day. Pleasant single track that made the final day enjoyable.

10 months ago

Challenging and breathtaking. One of the most beautiful trails I’ve ever hiked. HIGHLY recommend

backpacking
Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Some good camp spots. Not the best lake, not a lot of waterfront so it does get crowded quick. Definitely challenging. Found a neat spot off of the Wagon loop that had a teepee for the night. Waterfall was great! It gets the most foot traffic, you'll run into a lot of people that are just doing that hike. Probably won't do it again, but well worth it to do it once!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Amazing views lots of water some challenging steeps lots of awesome camping spots.

hiking
Sunday, July 23, 2017

This is one of the best (if not the best) collection of trails in Colorado. From one trailhead you can get SERIOUSLY EVERYTHING. There's a 6 mile round trip hike to a perfect waterfall, there's a 16 mile chill loop to the lake, there's a 16 mile round trip 14er climb to Mt Antero. All of which have numerous perfect camping sites. Don't tell anyone how awesome this trail is, don't want it to get too crowded :)

Saturday, June 24, 2017

hard is the correct definition. 50 year old, overweight, smoker.. Llamas didn't break a sweat, I on the other hand could have used a third lung... but, well worth the effort...

hiking
Sunday, May 21, 2017

OMG is all I can say! What a stunningly beautiful trail all the way up and back. Although this year's May is still early in the season, we did not fight the post holing like on many of the other trails. Snow covered the trail entirely only for the last 30 min. before the lakes. We hiked to the falls and to the lakes out and back. On the way in we stopped and took pictures endlessly to capture the ever changing scenery, the frozen branches in the creek, and the stunning mountain views. This made it into a LONG day, but well worth the extra time! Especially seeing the towering Mt. Tabeguache while we had our snacks by the lake. Love, love, love this trail. This is a repeat and keeper!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Hike was fairly difficult, especially through the thick snow but totally worth it the scenery was pretty spectacular.

hiking
Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Steep uphill at the beginning of the hike, probably for half a mile. People take horses on this trail and we had to constantly watch where we stepped to avoid the horse poop. The waterfall was a nice end point, there's some sitting space to take a break and eat snacks before hiking back.

backpacking
Sunday, July 03, 2016

First part is pretty steep but gets easier. Worth the effort for the views.

hiking
Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Spectacular views along the ridge line portion of the trail . Steep in areas with rocks and soft ground to negotiate. Awesome hike and the waterfall was amazing. A challenging but rewarding hike for a flatlander who has 3 hikes under his belt. More difficult than Mayflower Gulch and Bakers Tank.

backpacking
Monday, June 20, 2016

let me start by saying the views are stunning. I am a little shocked that this hike is rated as easy. I did the entire 16.2 mile loop this weekend and I am an avid hiker and in very good shape..it was a saaallloooggg to the top. Not what I would rate as an easy hike. The hike down into Browns lake was not easy as well. The 4wd roads are in horrible shape and are a joint pounder. decent sized rocks on the trail for a few miles. If you do this loop, bring your trekking poles as this will help take some of the pressure of the joints. would I recommend this hike..eh?? maybe. It was pretty but I have done prettier hikes that weren't such a joint pounder.

hiking
Thursday, June 16, 2016

We came for a visit, from Texas. Loved the 6 mile round trip hike to the falls. Take plenty of water if hiking in the summer. Wife said it was moderate and not easy.

backpacking
Tuesday, June 07, 2016

A group of us took on this stunning hike this past weekend, completing the entire loop. We hiked from the trailhead on Little Brown's Creek trail to the North side of Mount White and around to Brown's Lake on the South side . We encountered lots of snow above 10,000' making it difficult to follow the trail and stay on course. However the views were well worth the extra time and travel. We camped at Brown's Lake and were just awestruck by the views. The second day was a gentle decline down Brown's Creek trail back to the trailhead. Can't recommend this hike enough....although I would wait a couple of weeks for some snow melt.

camping
Monday, May 30, 2016

Stunning!

hiking
Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Beautiful hike! We just went to the falls and back, took us about 3.5 hours with frequent breaks to admire the views and to let our lab swim in the streams. Great views of the nearby mountains.

hiking
Monday, August 31, 2015

Great trail...beautiful...good view...waterfall lovely. Only hiked to waterfall and back but was a good hike...about 2.5 hrs.

hiking
Friday, August 14, 2015

Beautiful view and awesome peaceful camping!

camping
Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Backpacked the trail from July 11-14, 2015 with 4 others. Good trail that has about a 2000' elevation change going up. Mostly gradual elevation gains with spots of ridgelines to overcome with last gain being the most challenging. Hike is about 6 miles one way to get to Browns Lake at 11,500'. Fishing was successful, but fish are small (5" - 12"). Established firepits in camping area right after the trail on south end of the lake. north end of lake has camping spots also that are accessible via 4x4 trail. Expect visitors and hikers throughout the day, but we only had about 7 hiking parties over 4 days. Great views and hike. Would recommend to a friend. I am a beginner backpacker and I would recommend, but took us about 5.5 hours to complete one way. Have fun!!

trail running
Sunday, July 05, 2015

I did this as a trail run - views are great. I got to the second stream crossing and saw a large black animal rustling around in the bushes... turned out to be a cow, but was still alarming. There were too many cows in the trail (who weren't particularly happy to be disrupted) for me to keep going alone - probably would have been fine with a group or a dog. Also, there were a lot of cow and horse droppings on the trail to avoid.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Best trail I've been on since living in Colorado! The water fall is awesome. We kept hiking to see the lake and got caught in a storm. We were so close but turned back because of the storm. I wouldn't consider this an easy hike if your not a regular hiker. The difference in the terrain keeps you motivated to keep going. LOVE THIS HIKE

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Bit of a climb in the beginning then levels out. Very nice hike crowded on the 4th of July. Horse back group made coming down difficult but got around. Nice advanced beginner hike

hiking
Thursday, July 02, 2015

This was an awesome trail! From the parking lot you switchback up to a ridge to meet up with the colorado trail. Theres camping and water access for the most part of this trail. Shortly after the colorado trail theres a nice wide section of trail that opens into a meadow. There were a few wildflowers but nothing amazing. I think we were a little late for the big bloom. The big waterfall is pretty cool. The viewing area has nice sized boulders for sitting and eating a quick lunch before you make the push to the lake. I highly recommend eating a good lunch here if you're pushing for the lake. Theres a couple really nice creek crossings again after the waterfall. A new pine bridge with a guardrail on one side has been put up. The next used to be just a skinny pine tree is now a halved tree that leaves enough room for you and your dog to cross. The hike seriously intensifies after these crossings. It almost feels as if you are just clawing your way up the valley. The trail is full of rocky sandy dirt and not exactly the most maintained trail and its FUN!! Bring your trekking poles because theres a few spots that are a little sketchy. Once you make it through the tough parts it opens to another meadow with a little more gentle waterfall. Thats the final leg of the trail up to the lake. The lake is really pretty and very full right now. Fishing is also great up there. If you like wild cutthroat trout this is the place.

hiking
Saturday, September 27, 2014

Great hike and easy access. There is also decent fishing in the waterfall basin.

Friday, August 08, 2014

Trail up to Browns Creek Falls wonderful! Decent elevation gain in the beginning, but then mellows. Experience varying ecosystems, aspen forests, meadows, creeks. Be prepared for a downed bridge at the second creek passing. Can cross by foot, as it wax about knee deep in June. Highly recommend!

camping
Monday, August 12, 2013

Great Trail perfect for backpacking, few people and crystal clear water.

hiking
1 month ago

recorded Track - Sep 02, 06:44 PM

hiking
2 months ago

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