- Southeast of Salida near Hillside
- 14 mile roundtrip
- 7.5 to 8.5 hours
- Trailhead Elevation:
- 8600 feet
- Elevation Change:
- 3100 feet
- Summer - Fall
There is not a lake in the South Brush drainage. Banjo Lake sits high above timberline in a basin below Electric and DeAnza Peaks.
Beginning elevation (at the Brush Lakes trailhead) is 8,600 feet, Banjo Lake is 11,700’ in elevation.
The mileage from the Brush Trailhead to Banjo Lake is about 11 miles.
This is a long walk and should be considered as a multiple day backpacking or destination trip.
The Horsethief Basin trail meets with this trail at the crest of South Brush and drops down to the Cotton Creek trail on the west side (San Luis Valley).
The Gibson Ck. Trailhead (see Lakes of the Clouds) is another consideration for access, although it is about the same number of miles (5) to the South Brush/Rainbow Trail junction.
Map + Directions
Hillside is 40 miles southeast of Salida on Hwy 69.
Lake Creek Road # 198, (turn west just outside of the town of Hillside) follow the dirt road for about two miles, turn left at the Forest Service sign for Brush Lakes. The road is very rocky but is negotiable in a 2-wheel drive vehicle. Take this road all the way to the end (that is where the trailhead is and also the Rainbow Trail). Please be aware that you are traveling through private property on this section of road. This is also the access location for Brush Lakes trail. Follow the Rainbow Trail, traveling south, for approximately 5 miles to the junction of South Brush trail. From this junction it is about 7 miles to Banjo Lake. The trail is moderate for hiking, and 5 miles in length.