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West Brush Creek Trail Hike

Sylvan Lake State Park, Colorado

Sawatch Range + Elk Mountains, Colorado

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West Brush Creek Trail Hike

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  • Beginning of the trail at the day use parking area.- West Brush Creek Trail Hike
  • Peterson cabin.- West Brush Creek Trail Hike
  • Looking north down the valley.- West Brush Creek Trail Hike
  • Much of the trail goes through aspen groves.- West Brush Creek Trail Hike
  • 2015 was a very wet spring in Colorado, resulting in fungus disease on many aspen trees.- West Brush Creek Trail Hike
  • West Brush Creek Trail.- West Brush Creek Trail Hike
  • The hills along Brush Creek showing some fall color.- West Brush Creek Trail Hike
  • Aspens displaying some fall color.- West Brush Creek Trail Hike
  • Aspens displaying some fall color.- West Brush Creek Trail Hike
  • The aspens were just beginning to turn color in mid-September.- West Brush Creek Trail Hike
  • Bull moose along the trail.- West Brush Creek Trail Hike
  • Just before the lake, the trail passes by the campground.- West Brush Creek Trail Hike
  • Sylvan Lake.- West Brush Creek Trail Hike
  • West Brush Creek.- West Brush Creek Trail Hike
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Easy to hike as a one-way shuttle. Nice views.
Cons: 
Little creek access.
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Region:
Sawatch Range + Elk Mountains, CO
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
863.00 ft (263.04 m)
Parking Pass: 
State Park Fee
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
5.30 mi (8.53 km)
Trail type: 
Shuttle
Trailhead Elevation: 
7,572.00 ft (2,307.95 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

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.

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Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(11 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(21 within a 30 mile radius)

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