Brown's Creek Trail - Snowshoeing
February 15, 2020 · San Isabel National Forest
The original plan was for a snowshoeing trek along Little Brown's Creek, which is just north of Brown's Creek Trail and shares a common trailhead. However, there were a couple of things that happened that played out that changed the course of this 9.7-mile trek. Thankfully, the weather for this trek was great. It was a clear sunny day with very little wind; the only time the wind kicked up was near the first set of lakes along Brown's Creek Trail.
The Winter trailhead is about 1.75 miles back from the Summer trailhead, and all the maps I looked over did not call out the difference in Winter v. Summer trailheads, so that was a bit of a surprise. Granted, the 1.75 miles from the Winter trailhead to the Summer trail is basically flat, it was something I didn't account for.
I did not need the snowshoes for the entire trek and was able to comfortably use the traction spikes for the entire trek. This a San Isabel National Forest front-range trek, and there wasn't a lot of snow, it often felt more like a late Spring trek. Once on the official trail for Little Brown's Creek, it was not uncommon for the trail to be more mud than snow. There is a gated entrance a little past the Summer trailhead, and after that the trail was more snow than mud.
There is a confluence of three trails at a place I have come to call Confusion Point. The three trails are The Colorado Trail, running north-south, Little Brown's Creek running east-north-west and Brown's Creek, running east-south-west. At this junction the snow was much deeper, however, this area does get some strong winds and the surface of the snow was still hard enough to not need snowshoes.
At this junction there were no visible tracks leading up to Little Brown's Creek Trail. All tracks continued to Brown's Creek trail, to the south. I opted out of trailblazing the Little Brown's Creek Trail and based on the map, I assumed that at this point the trail would turn into a loop back to the shared Summer trailhead for Little Brown's Creek Trail and Brown's Creek Trail. However, as I continued along Brown's Creek Trail and came to the junction for the return leg of the loop, there were no visible tracks to complete the southern end of the loop.
So, I decided to continue to the first set of lakes in a meadow along Brown's Creek Trail. The views along the Brown Creek's Trail are very impressive and I would like to return to both of the Brown's Creek Trails in the Summer as they end near the elevation of 12,000 feet. That has always been an interesting elevation, it is around the treeline and there is so much going on there.
When I got to the small lakes and based on the mileage I had put in so far, I decided to head back. When looking at the map, it's clear I did not make a dent in the Brown's Creek Trail and Little Brown's Creek trail remains a mystery. The two Brown's Creek Trails form a larger loop. Perhaps a multi-day trek for a Summer season. I did enjoy the time on the trail, any time on the trail is quality time. I wish I knew about the difference between the Summer and Winter trailheads to better plan.