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Browns Lake

We did a moderately difficult hike today in the Pingree Park area. Unknown to us, there was a marathon happening that went on the road we take to get up the Poudre Canyon, but even with that delay, we made it to the trailhead in under 2 hours. We had a lazy start to our morning and didn't leave the house until around 9:30, but we didn't need to rush out of the house because the weather was forecasted to be pretty nice during the hike. The weather was forecasted to barely hit the 70's, but we neglected to realize that the forecast was for a few thousand feet lower in elevation than where we were starting. When we got to the trailhead it was a breezy 56 degrees which was a little too chilly for the start of the hike. Once we started hiking, the cooler temperatures and the breeze were wonderful.

This area was recently burned in the 2020 Cameron's Peak fire, and there were several times when we walked right through a post-apocalyptic burnet forest with even black soot covering parts of the trail. Every time we hike through a burn area it's a little different in scenery, and this one looked pretty spooky. Halloween is right around the corner, so I guess this hike was helping us get into the Fall spirit!

Luckily we weren't walking through the burned area the entire time, we walked in and out of it for the first half of the hike. Then we got above treeline and there wasn't any indication of any burn scars up there, mostly because there isn't a lot to burn. But above the tree line we were very exposed and the wind was blowing hard. Luckily there wasn't a single could in the sky, so we didn't have to worry about the weather while being so exposed, but it didn't make for a very pleasant hike. This area was probably absolutely stunning during wildflower season. Typically above tree line, there are rocky mountains in every direction, but near Crown Point it was mostly open meadows. I would love to do this hike again in mid-summer to see what the wildflowers are like.

This hike is a little different than what we're used to doing in the fact that we first hiked up to Crown Point, then hiked down to Brown's Lake. It was nice to spread out all 2,000ft of elevation gain between getting to the lake and getting back to the car, but the way back was pretty brutal because we're not used to having to do ascent on the way back to the car. When you're hiking to a destination you have some adrenaline that helps you with the ascent. There wasn't that kind of adrenaline on the way back, so having to do an additional 1,000 feet of elevation gain on the way back took all of our energy. Because of this, coupled with the sub-par views during the hike makes me rate this as below-average views for the effort.

Trailhead Location
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8.79 mi 4.6 hrs 11,316 ft 2,037 ft
View Graph
The Rawah
Comanche Wilderness
Nokhu Crags
Crown Point
Browns Lake
Lunch Spot
Year Round Snow
Topographic Map