Browns Canyon National Monument
On Feb.19, 2015, President Obama designated 21,586 acres of pristine canyons, rivers and backcountry forest in Colorado as the Browns Canyon National Monument. Browns Canyon includes 11,836 acres of the San Isabel National Forest and 9,750 acres of Bureau of Land Management land. The monument is jointly managed by the Forest Service and BLM.
The area is unique, towering over the Arkansas River, itself a beacon to white water rafters and anglers. The granite walls of the canyon stand like a series of a natural cathedral spires that change hues as the light of day wanes.
Stretched between the communities of Buena Vista and Salida in Chaffee County, Colorado, Browns Canyon elevation ranges from 7,300 feet to 10,000 feet, offering a backdrop for and stunning views of the Arkansas Valley and the Sawatch Range of the Rocky Mountains.
The distinctive environmental features consist of many mountains, canyons with glacial characteristics, giant moraines or ridges of mountain debris, and gulches. Drainages interlace the canyon and drain in to the Arkansas River.
Browns Canyon provides clean water, habitat for wildlife, biological diversity, outdoor recreational opportunities, scenic beauty and grazing and other permitted uses. There are no developed camping sites, few roads, and dispersed camping opportunities are limited to those reached by hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding through scenic vistas. There are about four miles of non-motorized trails on the San Isabel National Forest portion of the monument that provide access for those activities.