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A steep ride to the best waterfall in Chaffee County.


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Map Key

5.8

Miles

9.4

KM

100%

Singletrack

9,834' 2,997 m

High

8,917' 2,718 m

Low

975' 297 m

Up

976' 297 m

Down

6%

Avg Grade (4°)

23%

Max Grade (13°)

Dogs Leashed

E-Bikes Not Allowed

Features Views

The trail names for the Browns Creek Trail and Wagon Loop Trail #1427 were switched several years ago to reduce confusion. However, that means that older maps and some online resources don't align with the trail signs. If in doubt, refer to the route shown here.

Overview

As a state, Colorado isn't well known for its waterfalls, and thanks to its arid climate, Chaffee County even less. Browns Creek Falls is the exception to the rule—this thundering cascade flows all year round, providing a fantastic hiking objective at the base of mighty Mount White. The ride to the falls might be steep and rocky, but it rewards with gorgeous views of the mountains above and the valley below.

Need to Know

This trail is heavily trafficked by hikers and equestrians. Be sure to be courteous of other trail users, even if that means slowing down or stoping on the descent.

There's a substantial amount of dispersed camping off of the Browns Creek Road, not too far from the trailhead. However, no camping is allowed at the trailhead, and due to the popularity of this area, you aren't guaranteed to get a campsite, especially if you arrive on a Friday or Saturday. To ensure that you find a campsite, arrive early on a Thursday (or earlier in the week). If there aren't any campsites available, do not drive into the grass or undergrowth to create a new site—this damages the natural resources. Also, be sure to respect all fire bans, and completely extinguish all campfires.

Description

The ride begins from a well-developed trailhead with a pit toilet and a respectably large parking area. Even so, on the weekends—especially during the spring, when water flows are high—the parking lot can fill up. Plan accordingly.

The climb begins by following the Browns Creek Trail, which begins directly to the right of the pit toilet. Note that the trail names for the Browns Creek Trail #1429 and Wagon Loop Trail #1427 were switched several years ago to reduce confusion. However, that means that older maps and some online resources don't align with the trail signs. If in doubt, refer to the route shown here, and follow the visibly well-trafficked route.

The initial climb on the Browns Creek Trail is steep and rocky, quickly gaining elevation while providing picturesque views over the Arkansas Valley below. The steep, rocky terrain makes for tough going on a mountain bike and will force most riders to do at least some hike-a-bike.

At the junction with the Colorado Trail, continue up and to the left for a short distance before turning right on the signed Browns Creek Trail to continue heading uphill. After this point, the trail is much more rideable.

After riding through an open meadow with spectacular views of Mount White (left) and Mount Antero (right) above you, the trail snakes through the trees and over a couple of bridges. Keep an eye peeled for the sign pointing left toward Browns Creek Falls via a short spur trail. The main Browns Creek trail continues uphill to Browns Lake, providing a much more adventurous ride.

After enjoying your time at the foot of the thundering waterfall, it's time to turn around and rip back down. This descent is technical, steep, and highly entertaining! However, as you no doubt noticed on the climb up, this trail is heavily trafficked by hikers and equestrians. Be sure to be courteous of other trail users, even if that means slowing down or stopping on the descent.

Contacts

Shared By:

Greg Heil

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 1 vote

#1

in Browns Creek

#3209

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  4.0 from 1 vote
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Recommended Route Rankings

#1

in Browns Creek

#493

in Colorado

#3,209

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Photos

A rider rumbles down the Browns Creek Trail.
Mar 26, 2017 near Alpine , CO
A brief reprieve from rock smashing, complete with stunning views.
Jun 19, 2017 near Alpine , CO
Valley view from Lower Browns Creek Trail.
Apr 15, 2024 near Alpine , CO
Most creek come with nicely built crossings.
Jun 19, 2017 near Alpine , CO
Browns Creek Falls
Jun 19, 2017 near Alpine , CO
Browns Creek Falls
Apr 12, 2024 near Alpine , CO

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