Are you and your canine companion looking for a new hiking ground in the Rocky Mountains Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests? In the Bellvue, Colorado area where the mountains are plentiful, and the views are amazing, you and your tail-wagger will have a blast exploring the 11.4-mile Browns Lake Trail through the thick forest. You will likely see other hikers, bikers, and wildlife as this path is pupular with everyone.
Start your expedition at the Browns Lake Trailhead parking lot on Crown Point Road in Bellvue, Colorado. There's no restrooms or water available here as it is just a parking lot where the trail begins, so you will need to bring H20 for you and your pooch, as well as baggies to clean up after them. Also, the trail is only open during warmer months from May through October.
The first 4.3 miles of the trail is an old jeep road through thinned out trees, and then it levels out as it goes above the tree line. If there is snow on the trail, it may be hard to follow, so it is best to have a GPS or compass for directions. Beginning at the trailhead, you will trek south on the jeep road uphill to a ridge that is just west of Crown Point where you will enter Comanche Peak Wilderness and the Browns Lake Travel Zone.
As you reach the peak at about 1.5 miles, the view of the Mummy Range in the southeast, the Snowy Range in the north, and Medicine Bow Range to the west are all photo-worthy. The trail goes downhill for about a half mile before climbing to its steepest point of 11,400 feet.
After re-entering the deep woods, you will see the intersection with the Flowers Trail at about 2.9 miles. You will be able to see what is left of an old sheepherder’s cabin to the west. If you plan to camp, there is a designated site here, and another one to the east above the Flowers Trail.
Descending into the Cirque of Browns Lake are more camping areas. Cross the stream between Browns and Timberline Lakes, then the trail starts heading downhill again toward the Beaver Creek Trail, which is the end of Browns Lake Trail at 5.7 miles.
On the way back, the first half mile of the trail is a steep incline of over 600 feet, so get some rest before heading back if you are not camping. The remainder of the Browns Lake Trail is a steady incline until you reach the peak again at about three miles in. Be sure to take the time to see things you may have missed on the way there, and take a lot of photos to share with friends.