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Brown's Lake Trail is a 11.5 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Nathrop, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 11.5 mi Elevation gain 2,460 ft Route type Out & Back

Dogs on leash

Backpacking

Camping

Hiking

Nature trips

Walking

Bird watching

Forest

Lake

Views

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Waypoints (0)
Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (46)
Photos (305)
Recordings (9)
Completed (181)
Shayla Frederick
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Jun 26 2020
BackpackingBlowdownGreat!

Amazing weekend backpacking trip. We got started on Friday night, hiked about 2.5 miles in, and found a beautiful camping spot off to the left of the trial by the creek in a small meadow. Continued on the next day and made it to the lake in about 2 hours. Set up camp to the right of the lake in some stunning aspens. Gorgeous views all around. Hiked out on Sunday which was much easier/faster going downhill. It was my friend's first backpacking trip, and she enjoyed it! A great choice for either a relaxed backpacking trip or a solid day hike. Great trail conditions, no snow, only a couple "hurdles" from fallen trees. Definitely recommend.

Betsy Otten
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Jun 15 2020
HikingBlowdown

Great trail! If you use all trials pro and download the map it’ll look like you’re going off trail when you get just past the falls, but just follow what looks like the obvious path. Great day for a hike today. Lots of blowdown but easy enough to find a way around. We were just going to go to the falls but it was easy enough we decided to tack on the extra miles to get to the lake. It was a pleasant hike there was shade throughout. The pup loved playing in the water. I recommend this hike!

View Betsy's Recording
Julie Pitts
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Jun 15 2020
Hiking

Just returned from hiking Brown’s lake trail. The 9 mile route from trailhead (round-trip) took us 5 hours with a 20 min lunch stop at the lake. My friend and I are fairly experienced hikers. My two pups handled it fine as well. It was very windy in open meadows so wind-breaker came in handy. It was also pretty muddy for the first 2 miles with several snow-mounds. But it was totally doable and a beautiful hike!

Matt Petti
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSun Jun 07 2020
Backpacking

Just got home from backpacking this trail with a couple people. Couple of small muddy spots, but overall, trail was dry and in good condition. For reference, at a pretty casual pace, it took us about 4.5 hours to hike to the lake from the trail head, with a short lunch break along the way (we’re fairly fit and live in Denver). Once you pass the first big waterfall, the trail gets significantly steeper and rockier, so the waterfall is a good spot to take a break before continuing on. There are several shaded camping spots with easy water access about 2 miles in. After that, there are a few more around 4 miles in. There appeared to be some spots around the lake, but the winds were extreme due to storm coming in. No snow to report. *side note: bathrooms at the trailhead were open

michael johnson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarWed May 27 2020
Hiking

Eleah, was there snow up at the lake. Looks like you climb to about 11000 feet to get there.

Eleah Neubauer
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon May 25 2020
Backpacking

Backpacked this with my partner May 23. There are plenty of camping spots all along the trail. We hiked to the lake early Saturday morning. After about 3-4 miles it was quite strenuous, but worth it. You are in the trees for a good deal of this hike, but don't let that fool you. Not only is it great for us pale folks, you get gorgeous views of the creek and mountains as you ascend. There were only two other couples camping at the lake, so it was quite peaceful. The dam has been rebuilt and the lake looked to be about 2 feet deep. It did get into the 30s overnight, and there was quite a bit of wind, with light snow in the morning. From the lake you can continue on and make a long loop out of it (see Browns Creek and little Browns Creek trail on AT) or head back. We saw a moderate amount of people headed up between the waterfall and trailhead. Note that trailhead bathrooms are closed due to Covid-19. Overall a great single night backpack... plenty of water access and gorgeous views. Well maintained, wide trail up to the lake. We had only 3 trees to cross on path, and streams all had easy rock crossings or bridges.

Eric Johnson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSun Nov 10 2019

lots of trees, not so many views

Joe (Colorado Mountaineer)
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSat Aug 17 2019
BackpackingBugs

Overall, I rated the trail with 3 stars because of the enormous amount of deadfall trees in the area along with an abundance of horse droppings along the trail. Having said that, the waterfall is absolutely gorgeous and worth the hike. After two River crossings you'll find a fairly large meadow with plenty of opportunity for tent camping back in the trees. When you get to the waterfalls, you can cross the river and head back a little ways to find some excellent camping sites with established fire pits. Whule hiking from the waterfall to Brown's Lake your going to follow the river for quite a ways. Although the trail is rated as moderate I would say it's certainly approaches advanced level hiking at times as you advance. As others have noted, the lake is mostly drained do the dam breaking. Fly fishing is quite excellent above it however where the water feeds the lake. Definitely bring waders as it's quite muddy and boggy. Throughout the hike, I recommend water filtration and chlorine drops (we stayed three nights) as there's plenty of evidence of horses and cattle having been in the area over the years. By the way, consider mosquito repellent as they are heavy by the waterfalls but lighter up by the lake.

Daniel Dale
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Aug 10 2019
Hiking

Great hike! 6.2 miles almost all up hill but well worth it! Don’t completely trust the all trails map; there are new trails that get you to the same place

View Daniel's Recording
Austin Wright
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Aug 01 2019
Backpacking

Tough hike all up hill but what a great pay off at the lake.

Mary Bruton
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Jul 22 2019
Hiking

This was my first day hike and I loved it! Yes the dam is broken and the lake is low but the cascading falls along the trail were beautiful. I enjoyed many scenic areas of the river flowing. I didn’t take the time to go to the actual falls so I will have to go again (and bring a camera!). And the trail to the lake is over 6 miles...great day!

Gary Dittrich
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarWed Jul 17 2019
Hiking

The dam at Brown Lake has broken and the lake has drained. It will be very shallow to non-existent until the dam is repaired. Looks as if it's been down about 4 days or so.

Mia T
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarFri Jun 28 2019
Hiking

My boyfriend and I backpacked in and stayed one night. The path to Brown’s Lake is clear of snow and an even keel hike with plenty of flat areas for resting. We ascended past the lake onto the Jeep trail and made it to the pass. Unfortunately the top of the pass was obscured by a sleek sheet of ice and we didn’t feel comfortable because of the vertical incline on each side. Additionally that night a snow storm blew in and buried us in 4-5 inches of fresh snow. If backpacking remember to bring enough water proof clothing to stay warm and dry during a freak storm.

Renee Grimm
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Jun 28 2019
Hiking

LOST TREKKING POLES! If anyone comes across a pair of Black Diamond Alpine FLZ trekking poles at the trailhead, I left mine there Sunday 6/23 against a big boulder between the outhouse and parking lot. Black and white with cork handles, set at 115cm. Please email rgrimm518@gmail.com. Will pay reward if found!!

Ben Thomas
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Jun 27 2019
Backpacking

Backpacked at the lake on 6/21 and it was beautiful. There are some patches of snow still at the top, but no issues with snow on the trail and the lake wasn't frozen. The hike to the lake was closer to 6.5 miles on my GPS, and is mostly uphill the last mile to mile and a half. The falls and river were flowing rapidly with all the snowmelt

Rachel Blanchard
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue May 28 2019
Hiking

Extremely beautiful! Didn’t make it quite to the lake. Some snow at the top that would be a breeze with some snowshoes. Great hike - get to the trailhead early on weekends so you don’t have to hopscotch a bunch of people on the trail.

Maggie Clerkin
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat May 25 2019
HikingSnow

Beautiful hike! Made it to the lake thanks to our yaktrax.

Bradford S.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri May 24 2019

absolutely beautiful!! packed a lunch and ate at the waterfall.

John Jorgensen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Oct 26 2018
Hiking

Snow on parts of upper half of trail. Fortunately for us, someone who knew the trail had preceded us so it wasn’t hard to find the way. Sunny, windy and about 32 degrees at the lake. A beautiful day!

Laura Wendt
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Aug 21 2018

Such a beautiful hike. Did it as a day trip with a group of 13. The waterfall is absolutely beautiful. Was a great spot to sit and have a snack and rest a bit before continuing to the lake. The 3 miles from the falls to the lake was tough (decent incline and lots of rocks to maneuver over) but so worth the trip. Great place to have lunch before heading back down. I would go back to camp but I would probably drive in from the other side (I'm not in shape enough to pack in on that last 3 miles). So many photo opportunities along the way and you can hear the water flowing for much of the trail. I haven't hiked much this year (nothing beyond 5 miles) so this was a challenge for me but I made it. Bring hiking poles if you have them. We went on a Friday, started at 8:00am and were back to the trail head about 2:00pm. It wasn't busy going in but past a lot of back packers in the way out.

Jillian Diers
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Aug 21 2018
Backpacking

The lake is a perfect reward. The hike up is tough with a 40lbs back pack. Make sure to take your time, it’s a great trail for a day hike but the extra weight for backpacking makes the second half of the hike pretty intense because of the climb. Other wise I’d definitely do it again. I didn’t want to leave our campsite next to the lake. Caught 4 fish so make sure to bring fishing gear too!

bob Newsted
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Aug 18 2018

two hikes in one! lovely waterfall as a half way point to a picture perfect mountain lake. we spent almost exactly 6hrs round trip including a pause away the waterfall, a few water stops, and break for lunch at the lake. the ascent was about 3.5 hrs, and the second half seemed steeper. lots of camp spots, but we were here for a day hike only, so we out and backed it, but would be a wonderful choice for a backpacking trip.

Eric Keen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Aug 14 2018
Hiking

Great acclimation hike for Mt. Harvard and the other collegiate peaks. Trail is forested all the way to the falls and a bit more exposed up to the lake. Steepest sections are the very beginning and the first mile or so after the falls. Lots of horse poop. Plenty of parking spots at the trailhead even at 10 AM on a Sunday in August.

Alma Roux
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSun Aug 12 2018
Hiking

We enjoyed hiking this trail a lot. The falls and the lake are very pretty and the trail was not very crowded for a Sunday hike. It is not a difficult hike as the trail climbs moderately but it is quite long. So take a lot of water especially if you do not start early as a good portion of the trail is exposed to the sun. Some dead trees in the upper part of the trail, but the views of the valley and the surrounding summits are gorgeous. We got caught in a thunderstorm going down around the falls, but that is bc we started going down around 2pm..

Melissa Mulder
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Jul 20 2018
Hiking

This is one of my favorite hikes in Colorado so far. Absolutely beautiful lake at the top. Fun trail overall.

Mary Gunn
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSat Jul 14 2018
Horseback riding

Beautiful lake. Lots of hikers but they were very considerate. Lots of big rocks and up hill a long way. Should have shoes or boots. Water and mud crossings. Not for beginners. Need a conditioned horse. Beautiful scenery.

Caryn West
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Jun 17 2018
Backpacking

My 2 sons and I just got back yesterday 6/16 from an overnight at the lake. We got a really late start but still made it to the lake before 6 pm. The 3 miles from the falls were really hard work with packs but well worth it. The area is absolutely beautiful and so serene. We picked a spot right by the water and thought we were completely alone until the next morning when we took a hike beyond the lake. The water was so clean it looked crystal clear even before being filtered. Breathtaking.

Patrick Pipes
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Jun 04 2018
Backpacking

let's start off with.... I didn't die :) this trail is not for the faint of heart. backpacked up with my 6yr old. started off late and only made 4 miles in first night which worked out great for second night as we were first to the lake to pick our spot. as others have mentioned, good spots up front, but if you want privacy you can walk an extra 5 minutes to the back. lake was windy but plenty of fish and relatively quite. there it's a 4x4 tail at the back side of the lake. think for next visit with rest of family we will drive up. trail starts at with a good incline and ends with a good incline. pack light if your staying the night.

Erin Lucas
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue May 29 2018
Backpacking

Beautiful backpacking trip!! We camped at the lake.. there are two spots right when you get to the lake, or if you want more privacy, walk past the lake there is a grassy meadow with great spots to camp right by the creek. Bring your fishing rod.. people were catching a lot of fish. There are also several camp spots after the waterfall and on the way to the lake, if you are tired and want to ditch your gear. It's not an easy hike all the way to the top with a full pack, but if you are in good shape you will be fine..you will be ready to get your pack off and lay in a hammock! There are lots of hikes you can do from the lake.. just follow the trail to the four-wheeling road. The views are incredible, and the hike in is so beautiful. We spent 1 night at the trailhead in the car (there are lots of car camping spots) and 2 nights up at the lake. Can't recommend it enough!

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