Browns Canyon National Monument


Our first big hike on this road trip was to Browns Canyon National Monument. Browns Canyon is a relatively new national monument as it was established in 2015. This area caters to all adventurers without being too crowded – at least the part we were in wasn’t. There are hiking and dirt biking trails and plenty of local companies to raft down the Arkansas River with. We did not raft this trip but it is an adventure that I would like to do on our next visit.

Tips for visiting:

  • Be aware that you will be driving on gravel roads, make sure your vehicle can handle them.
  • Bring cash to pay for parking.
  • Pack plenty of water. You can never bring too much.
  • Bring plenty of snacks.
  • There are no trash cans, whatever you bring in pack out.
  • If hiking with a pet, make sure to clean up after them.
  • Wear sun screen and bug spray.

We hiked the Turret Trail near Ruby Mountain. The first half of the trail is fairly steep and very rocky – I slipped hiking up and down this portion. The view is worth it though. If you like hiking with trekking poles, this is the trail for them. We hiked down into a stream bed where I caught a glimpse of a deer as if made its way up out of the creek bed. We hiked up a little bit an into a massive field full of waist high grasses and wild flowers.

You come around a bend in the trail and the scene before you is no longer obscured by an out cropping of rocks and the mountains are just beautiful. Something to remember, this day was smoky. There were wild fires west of us and the smoke was settling into the valleys. The smoke gave everything a haze and made things difficult to see. You can really see the haze in the first part of the video.

Due to the heat and the smoke making it uncomfortable, we did not hike the entire trail but really loved the bit that we did get to explore. Browns Canyon is always going to have something to offer. Even if we don’t want to camp there it is close enough to both Salida and Buena Vista to make a day trip out of it.

I’d love to know what you think of Browns Canyon, have you hiked or rafted there? Let me know in the comments. Leave no trace and safe travels!

Thank you KW Photography for allowing me to use your wonderful photos!

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