“A remote and long undulating run through old growth, lava fields, & huckleberries.”
— Peter Carse
Features: River/Creek — Views
The Brown Mountain Trail is most commonly traveled from east to west, or clockwise when combined with the High Lakes Trail to make a loop. Start from the trailhead on Forest Road 3640 on the NW side of Lake of the Woods, where the High Lakes Trail crosses it, and the Brown Mountain Trail begins near the kiosk and heads south. A gradual singletrack ascent of 700 feet over 2.5 miles through big trees brings you to the trail's high point at 5700'.
From here there is a long gradual descent, through huckleberry bushes which can at times partially hide some roots and rocks in the path.
The Pacific Crest Trail is crossed after 2 miles of this descent, then a small un-named doubletrack, then the Blue Lick road (gravel) is met at about 6 miles from the trailhead.
Use this road to cross the creek, then look left to pick up the singletrack again.
The next mile and a half follows the north side of the creek, and there are some rocky sections to negotiate before reaching the paved one-lane Brown Mountain Road and South Brown Mountain Trailhead. Cross this road and continue on singletrack for another half mile before it merges with a 4WD doubletrack which, after another mile and a half, brings you back around to the Brown Mountain Road near another creek crossing.
After crossing this creek, turn right on forest road 350 (sign for Brown Mtn Trail), and follow this for one tenth of a mile before turning left on singletrack again.
This next section of singletrack is spectacular as it winds between and through lava fields, gaining a couple hundred feet as it climbs up over the west side of Brown Mountain. In a little more than two miles, another doubletrack is reached.
This one is called the "Pillette Road" and is also the XC ski trail "Lollipop Loop" (sign) and takes you all the way to the North Brown Mountain Trailhead at 4730', 13.8 miles from where you started.
At this point, it is possible to continue straight ahead on the road to where the High Lakes Trail crosses it, then go left to Fish Lake resort for a beer. However, to complete the Brown Mountain Trail, continue up the final 3/4 mile section of trail, which is rough in places, to meet the High Lakes Trail.