Browns Lake

Distance: 5.8 - 12.0 miles (round trip)

San Isabel National Forest, near Buena Vista in Central Colorado

Browns Lake

Browns Lake


Pretty streams, an amazing waterfall and a lovely lake set amid a beautiful basin are some of the scenic rewards of the hike to Brown’s Lake in the San Isabel National Forest.
See Trail Detail/Full Description

  • Distance: 5.8 miles (round trip) to Browns Falls
    12.0 miles (round trip) to Browns Lake
  • Elevation: 8,920-ft. at Trailhead
    9,870-ft. at Browns Falls
    11,320-ft. at Browns Lake
  • Elevation Gain: 950-ft. to Browns Falls
    2,400-ft. to Browns Lake
  • Difficulty: moderate-strenuous
  • More Hikes in:
    Buena Vista / Central Colorado

Why Hike Browns Lake

Note: A rain event in 2019 flooded the valley and breached a 10-ft. section of the dam at the foot of Brown’s Lake. A portion of the dam has been rebuilt but the lake is still very low, more a broad creek instead of a lake. Hopefully the beavers will rebuild the dam to its former height and the lake will refill. Please send us a note and let us know the current state of the creek/lake if you visit the area.

This scenic trail travels along pretty streams, visits a stunning waterfall and leads to a gorgeous basin where lovely Browns Lake lies nestled beneath the rugged ridges of Jones Peak and Mount White. A profusion of wildflowers grow amid the meadows around the lake basin during the height of the summer.

Initially the trail ascends through a forest of Ponderosa Pine that gradually gives way to the spruce-fir forest sprinkled with Aspen. A section of the trail traverses a blowdown along the valley floor where high winds have uprooted and toppled trees. One can only image the force of the wind required to cause this level of destruction.

Expect a lot of traffic on the trail to the falls, a popular destination for families and parties looking for a nice half day hike. Beyond the falls the traffic is moderate. Nice campsites are found in the area above and to the west of the lake. Fishermen report good luck catching cutthroats along the lakes south shore.

Elevation Profile

Elevation Profile Browns Lake

Best Hiking in Central Colorado around Aspen, Marble, Leadville, Buena Vista and Crested Butte

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Trail Resources

Trail Detail/Full Description / Trail Photo Gallery / Trail Map

Basecamp(s) Information:
Buena Vista

Region Information:
Central Colorado

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