Browns Peak is one of Medicine Bow Peak's most obvious nearby neighbors, located in Southeast Wyoming. Browns Peak is situated just east of South Gap Lake and North Gap Lake (see TOPOZONE map), and northeast of Libby Lake and Lewis Lake in Wyoming's Snowy Range. Large and dome-shaped, Browns Peak is relatively steep on the sides, yet large and flat on top. the actual summit lies to the northeast of the mass of the mountain. Browns Peak is near Highway 130, and is one of the most obvious peaks, except, of course, the prominent Medicine Bow Peak ridge.
From Interstate-80 in Southeast Wyoming, drive to Wyoming Highway 130, which heads west from Laramie (Laramie is west of Cheyenne). Drive Highway 130 west through Centennial, and continue over Snowy Range Pass. Once in the mountains, you will pass Snowy Range Ski Area and a number of campsites, pullouts, and scenic stops before arriving at destination. The Medicine Bow Peak ridge is very obvious from Highway 130, and the recommended routes from this Highway are either Lewis Lake, or Lake Marie Trailheads... Please note that Browns Peak is EAST of the Medicine Bow Peak ridge, and that climbing via Lake Marie Trailhead requires a summit of Medicine Bow Peak.
For Lewis Lake Trailhead, take the established road towards Sugarloaf Campsite, Libby Lake Campsite, and Lewis Lake Campsite (located about one mile east of the obvious loop in the road). Lewis Lake (the desired campsite/trailhead) is the farthest north of the three, just northeast of Libby Lake, and just east of Lewis Lake. See the Route section for further details on this route...
Lake Marie Trailhead should only be attempted if a dual climb of Medicine Bow Peak and Browns Peak is desired. To reach it, proceed to the west end of the Medicine Bow Peak 'summit ridge', which is very steep and rocky. There are two Lake Marie Trailheads, but the best option for this route is the Lake Marie "West" Trailhead (see photos in this section for a picture of the sign). See the Route section for further details on this route.
'GETTING THERE' FROM OTHER DIRECTIONS:
For the I-80 directions from Laramie, see above.
Drive I-80 past Fort Steele and take the Highway 130 exit to Saratoga. Continue south until you see the east turn towards Ryan Park and Medicine Bow National Forest.
From Steamboat Springs in Colorado, drive Highway 40 to the Highway 14 exit that goes towards Walden. From Walden, drive north to the break in the road between Highways 125 and 127. The distance via Laramie and Saratoga is virtually the same, so use an ATLAS and decide accordingly. From the Front Range of Colorado, drive I-25 North to Cheyenne, and get onto I-80 which you'll follow to Laramie, as described above.
As from the South, the distance via Laramie and Saratoga is virtually the same, so again, decide accordingly and follow the EAST and WEST directions as described above.
For of all of the Snowy Range, it is requested that all fires are at least 200 yards from lakes, streams, and trails, and no discharging firearms within vicinity of the lakes, streams, or trails. Open fires are banned during the drier months (check with the ranger station), and for winter or low-danger months, it is RECOMMENDED that campers and climbers use stoves instead of open fires. Hikers are asked to restrain from cutting trails and donations are always encouraged. Also, cutting down timber is strictly prohibited - even when it involves dead trees. Picking up dead timber off the ground is permitted, but even scraping dry twigs off tree branches is prohibited, and hefty fines accompany violation of this regulation.
Considerably more regulations exist if you are going to hunt or fish, in which proper licenses and permits are required. See the Wyoming Game and Fish website.
When To Climb
If you're into day hiking, the best months will be July, August, and September, but climbers up for a greater challenge should enjoy year-round opportunities. As always, be prepared for avalanches, especially on the south and east slopes were snow-loading is common. Stick to the wind-blown rocks if all else fails. In the summer, be ware of lightning. The Snowy Range receives a great deal of snow/rain, and thunderstorms build fast.
Also, remember that during the winter months the roads are closed a few miles past Snowy Range Ski Area (which puts a damper on the day!). Climbs are still possible during the winter, but long slogs amidst buzzing snowmobiles may not be your cup of tea! However, Highway 130 from Centennial to Saratoga is usually plowed during May, opening great "winter" climbing opportunities on all the peaks within the vicinity of Medicine Bow Peak.
As noted in Red Tape section, no fires within 200 yards of lakes, streams, or trails, and stoves are recommended instead of fires. If you want a fire, the preferred method is camping at a designated campsite (Lake Libby, Lake Lewis, or Sugarloaf Campsites...). Otherwise, use caution and make sure there are no fire bans with the Ranger Station. Gathered firewood must be dead and on the ground; cutting down timber (even dead) is strictly prohibited.
Contact the Brush Creek Ranger Station:
South Hwy. 130
Saratoga, Wyoming 82331
History and Misc.
A brief history of Medicine Bow National Forest is available here:
Medicine Bow National Forest Information
See the HISTORY AND MISC section on the Medicine Bow Peak page for more history on the area.