Browns Creek Wagon Loop Trail - Buena Vista & Salida, Colorado Visitor Guide
  • browns_creek_waterfall_horseback_trail_ride


Published with permission from the guide book: Mellow Mountain Trails Hiking Guide to Colorado’s Upper Arkansas River Valley

by Nathan Ward.

  • Featuring 27 Fun Day Hikes in Buena Vista & Salida – beginner to expert..
  • Maps and Elevation Profiles for each ride, including altitude gain and loss.
  • Local Advice on riding areas and seasons, where to sleep, where to soak, where to find the best pizza, the best coffee and the best bars in Buena Vista & Salida, Colorado.

Brown’s Creek – Wagon Loop Trail

The Wagon Loop Trail circles a section of Brown’s Creek on a pleasant singletrack through pine and aspen forest with lots of interesting big rocks. The trail climbs steadily through the forest on one side of the creek and descends on the other side, before joining a dirt road back to the starting point. This is a nice hike with children who will enjoy checking out the beaver ponds.


Several longer hiking options exist near Brown’s Creek and a sign at the trailhead gives approximate distances. One option is to hike the Colorado Trail out and back from west side of the Wagon Loop Trail. Another possibility is the hike to Brown’s Lake from the top of this loop (Mile 1.6). Brown’s Lake sits in a high mountain basin between Mount White (13,371 ft.) and Jones Peak (13,604 ft.) Finally, some people will enjoy the slightly longer hike to Brown’s Falls beyond the top (west end) of the loop.

Trailhead Access & Facilities

Drive just over 13 miles north of the stoplight in downtown Salida on US 291 to US 285, or just over 11 miles south of the stoplight in downtown Buena Vista on US 285. Turn west on CR 270 and drive 1.5 miles to a 4-way junction of 270/271/272. At this intersection, continue straight west on CR 272. Stay on CR 272 for 2 miles to a junction with CR 274. Turn left and stay on CR 272 for 1.7 miles to the Little Brown’s Creek Trailhead. Park here. (N38°40.33, W106°09.71)

There is a pit toilet at the trailhead.

Location: West of Nathrop, between Salida & BV
Distance: 3.9 Miles – Loop
Hiking Time: 2-3 hours
Best Months: June through October
Trail Type: Singletrack
Difficulty: Moderate
Dog Friendly: Yes
Elevation in Feet: Low Point 8,870; High Point 9,600; Climbs/Descends 740
Land Status: San Isabel National Forest
Maps: Trails Illustrated #130


Brown’s Creek – Wagon Loop Trail Mileage Log

0.0 Trailhead – Look for trailhead sign. Elevation 8,870 ft. (N38 40.33, W106 09.71)
0.1 Trail sign – follow hike #1, the Wagon Loop (#1429-1776-1427-CR 272). If you want a longer hike, note the different routes listed here.
0.2 Trail to the left, do not take.
0.4 As you ascend this switchbacking trail, look east for great views of the Arkansas River Valley
1.4 Junction of trails. Stay straight ahead on the Wagon Loop #1776/Colorado Trail. Do not go uphill to the right, on the Colorado Trail going the other direction.
1.6 Trail leading down to the creek on the left, don’t take it. After a few yards, you’ll come to a bridge over Brown’s Creek. This is a good resting point to sit and enjoy the forest and the sound of the rushing stream. Just over the bridge, there is a signed trail junction. Turn left here on #1427 to stay on the Wagon Loop.
1.7 Bridge over creek. You begin to descend.
1.8 Bridge.
1.9 Sign indicating Wagon Loop Trail. Descending.
2.7 Here, the trail has washed out and is filled with large rocks. Go to the right, around the washout.
3.4 Cross the creek.
3.5 The singletrack trail ends here at the dirt road, CR 272. Turn left on CR 272 and follow the road to the parking lot where you started your hike.
3.9 Back in the parking lot where you began.


We want you to have a safe and enjoyable trip into Colorado’s backcountry. Be prepared it could be a long walk out. Be sure to read this list of equipment you should bring on your ride along with tips to make your biking trip more enjoyable.


The Colorado backcountry is popular – bikers, hikers, motorcycle riders, hunters and equestrians use the trail system in the Arkansas Valley, and everyone wants a private piece of heaven. Even if you don’t agree with everyone’s motives or methods of travel, please treat them in a courteous manner.


If you require search and rescue services, it can be costly. Buy a Colorado Outdoor Recreation Search and Rescue (CORSAR) card to protect yourself. Funds from the CORSAR program go into the Colorado Search and Rescue (SAR) Fund. If a CORSAR card holder becomes lost or injured in the backcountry, the Colorado SAR Fund pays eligible search and rescue expenses.


Visitor Photos


Get Inspired


Buena Vista Chamber of Commerce
111 E Main St
Buena Vista, CO 81211

Salida Chamber of Commerce
406 W Rainbow Blvd.
Salida, CO 81201

connect with us!

© 2023 Chaffee County Visitors Bureau | All Rights Reserved