Brown's Pass Trail provides hikers 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-hikers and through-hikers 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 hike 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 hiking 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 hike. Expect marmots and pika, and a good chance of mountain goats and deer.