Colorado’s Newest National Monument – Browns Canyon

Browns Canyon National Monument in Colorado

Thanks to the tireless efforts of Friends of Browns Canyon, a group of passionate outdoors recreationists, Browns Canyon is officially a National Monument. With designation granted by President Obama in February 2015, Arkansas River Valley’s outdoor treasure is now guaranteed federal protection, ensuring a lasting legacy for future generations.

Browns Canyon is located in Central Colorado between the towns of Buena Vista and Salida. With elevations ranging from 7,300 to 10,000 feet, a hike through Browns Canyon is the perfect way to experience Arkansas River Valley’s breathtaking scenery. From long stretches of white water, to dramatic 14,000 foot peaks, to expansive fertile valleys, a visit to Brown’s Canyon will send you home with memories to last a lifetime. Furthermore, the trail within the canyon does not allow any motorize vehicles, and in the quiet, it might be possible to spot one of the many species, such as elk, red foxes, coyotes, and mountain lions, that call this area home.

Recreation abounds in Browns Canyon. Hiking is the most popular and is easily accessible from the northern end of the canyon at the only designated trailhead, which is located next to Ruby Mountain Campground. For a more unique adventure, try rafting through Browns Canyon on the mighty Arkansas River. Numerous outfitters dot the valley, so there is no shortage of guides ready to take you over roaring rapids and through craggy cliffs.

Nearby, take advantage of the Arkansas River Valley’s attractions including multiple hot springs resorts, the ghost town of St. Elmo, and the vibrant downtowns of Salida and Buena Vista where great restaurants, art galleries, and unique shopping await.

Spring and summer are around the corner. It’s time to start planning your trip to Colorado’s newest National Monument! For more information, visit

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Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit to learn more.

photo credit- Logan Myers