While a hike on the West Brush Creek Trail in Colorado's Sylvan Lake State Park is absolutely advisable, visitors should know that the West Brush Creek Trail is a bit misnamed. It does roughly follow the course of West Brush Creek, but most of the route stays high above the creek on either side. There are only a few spots along the trail where the creek is easily accessible, so it is not worth bringing a fishing rod on this hike. The trail meanders from the Meadows Day Use Area near the visitor center up to the Sylvan Lake Dam. The vertical rise is over 850 feet, but the grade is so gradual that it doesn’t feel like much of a climb. Because one end of the trail is at the Sylvan Lake Campground, this hike is a great candidate for a vehicle shuttle. One person can drive down to the day use area and hike up as the other person hikes down from the campground to the vehicle.
Starting at the day use area, the trail meanders through meadows, passing the interesting Peterson cabin and winding up in aspen groves above the creek. The trail crosses the road and the creek twice, and even though the park road is never very far away, the low traffic and the sound of the creek makes it easy to forget the road is there. The views up and down the valley and of the hills on either side are lovely, and it is unlikely that there will be many other hikers on the trail. Wildlife sightings are possible, so be alert, especially for moose in the meadows. Near the lake there are views of other homestead buildings, the campground across the creek, and several beaver dams and ponds.
Most people hike just a short way down this trail from the Sylvan Lake Dam, but for those willing to go farther, the beauty and solitude of a hike on the West Brush Creek Trail are remarkable.