At about 4.5 miles from the start, turn left onto the Wagon Loop Trail. This trail is very rocky in spots, due to seeing much less traffic than the Browns Creek Trail
At about 1.4 miles bear left onto the Colorado Trail #1776
Browns Creek Falls, in the San Isabel National Forest south of Buena Vista and across the Arkansas River from Browns Canyon National Monument, is a fun little hike. Prior to doing this hike earlier this week, I last did it about 6 years ago. Other than maybe the parking lot being a little more crowded, not much has changed in the last 6 years. It's still an enjoyable hike to a nice waterfall, and since much of it winds through a dense (for Colorado, anyways) forest, it provides a nice respite from the summer heat.
To Get There: From the intersection of U.S. Highways 24 and 285 south of Buena Vista, go south on U.S. 285 for about 8.8 miles to County Road 270 and turn right (west). After 1.5 miles, where 270 turns right, continue straight on the dirt County Road 272. After 2 miles (look for the USFS informational kiosk), turn left and continue on 272 to the marked trailhead and parking lot.
Things You Need to Know: The well-marked trail starts at the north end of the parking lot. Pit toilets are available at the trailhead. No water is available, but this hike crosses several creeks. If you bring a water purification system, you can replenish your water supply along the way. Do not drink untreated water. Dogs are allowed on all trails on this hike and can be unleashed. However, there is a lot of equestrian use on the Browns Creek and Colorado trails, so I highly recommend keeping your dog leashed to minimize the chance for horse-dog conflicts. This hike can be done as an out-and-back hike, however I think it's more fun to do it as a loop, utilizing the nearby Wagon Loop Trail, and this guide is for that loop. The total distance as either an out-and-back or as a loop is roughly equivalent. NOTE: The Colorado Parks and Wildlife COTREX app and website has (at the time of this publication) the Wagon Loop #1427 and the Browns Creek #1429 trails east of the Colorado Trail, incorrectly labeled — they are reversed on the maps. This has been reported to CPW and should be corrected soon. Trails Illustrated map #130 (Salida, St. Elmo, Mount Shavano) is useful for this hike.
When you're done at the falls, return the way you came. If you want to make a loop, turn right when you get to the Colorado Trail, instead of left, and head towards the Wagon Loop Trail. You'll cross this bridge along the way.
You'll cross one more bridge about .1 miles later, then go past a horse tie-up spot. Shortly after that, at 3 miles look for this stump with "Falls" carved in it and turn left. The falls are a couple hundred feet away from here.
At about 1.7 miles, bear right off of the CT and follow the sign to the falls
Start here, near the pit toilets.
At just under 6 miles the Wagon Loop Trail meets this forest service road. Turn left and the parking lot you started at is short walk down the road.
At 2.7 miles, bear right at the creek crossing.
After bearing right at the fork, cross this bridge and turn right