Features: Fall Colors — River/Creek — Wildflowers — Wildlife
With an excellent trail, gentle grades relative to other 14ers, and a round trip under 10 miles, this is perhaps one of the best Sawatch 14ers for ambitious runners. Fast runners can expect 2.5 hrs round trip if they don't make any forays onto offshoots of the trail.
Brown's Pass Trail provides runners with a unique opportunity to explore the Sawatch Range along the Continental Divide. With offshoots heading toward Mt. Yale
, Hartenstein Lake, Kroenke Lake
, and Texas Creek, it provides plenty of options for day-runners and through-runners alike.
From US 24 in the center of Buena Vista, drive west on County Road 306. Drive 12 miles to reach the Denny Creek Trailhead on your right. There is ample parking here. It will be paved the entire way, making this run a good choice if you're limited by your vehicle.
From the Denny Creek Trailhead, head up excellent trail with easy to moderate grade. While easy to follow, this trail has a fair number of rocks and roots, so be careful. In 1.2 miles, stay left on Brown's Pass or turn right to summit 14er Mt. Yale
. There should be a sign at this junction.
Continue about one more mile up excellent trail to reach a junction with the trail to Hartenstein Lake, on your left. Continue along a flat portion before running up to Brown's Pass at 12,000 ft. From here, there is an offshoot to Kroenke Lake
. Stay straight, descending down Brown's Pass and passing a derelict cabin a half mile to the north. This was built by a Brown's Pass' eponymous miner "Brown" over a hundred years ago. From here, it's about one more mile downhill to the junction with Texas Creek Trail.
With a lush forest down low, and plenty of wildflowers up top, this is a scenic run. Expect marmots and pika, and a good chance of mountain goats and deer.