dogs on leash
15 Jan 2017 - Easy morning hike/snowshoeing excursion. Get there early, even at this time of year. Due to snow, the road is closed about 1 mi before the trailhead. Got there at 07:50 and then got to the trailhead by 08:30. Since it had been a while since the last big snow, I barely needed snowshoes at all. Moose tracks near the end. Lost Lake was very serene, but the vistas were not spectacular. Got to the lake by 09:45. By the time the hike was over (10:45), the trail was a zoo and the road was totally parked up, so be sure to go early. [3.3/5]
Hiked on Jan 2, 2017. A nice winter trail, packed down so we just hiked in our boots. Lots of snowshoers and some cross country skiers. Definitely a popular trail, and it had nice views, especially once you get to the west side of the lake. It is mostly uphill to the lake, some gradual inclines, some flat areas, and then the last 0.2mi is uphill. That just means the hike back out is super easy. :) Our dog loved it too. Someone was even ice fishing on the lake - there was about 12in of ice on it.
This is the most beautiful hike I have ever completed. As others have mentioned, the parking lot fills and it adds exta to the hike. We hiked it from the Niwot parking lot and took the Niwot Cutoff Trail. This is an easy hike, but it is a little rockies than other trails I have hikes also rated as easy. I had a recent trip ankle sprain and carried too much photo gear, thus increasing the difficulty of the hike for me, personally, but still found it rewarding. This is a heavily traveled trail and one my dog enjoyed, with ample places to get a drink and cool off along the way. I absolutely want to do this again.
Hiked on 10/15. Great, easy trail. If your not there early plan on parking in the main day use area adding An extra 1-1.5mi each way to your hike. Some wet/slushy snow areas but nothing a good pair of boots can't handle. -we did not need traction. Stunning views of surrounding 13ers! *note* lakes Isabelle is drained 80% every July so the lake is very very low, still pretty none the less.
Wonderful hike with great views. We got there at 8:30 and Long Lake parking lot was full, so we went down and parked in the small Niwot lot on the SW side of Branaird lake. It adds probably 1 mile on to the hike from Long Lake parking lot, but still probably knocks 3/4 mile off of the day-use lot.
If you understandably thought it couldn't get more beautiful than what you were looking at at the bottom in front of Branaird Lake, then enjoy knowing that it does. The hike to Lake Isabelle is about 3.5 miles, but pretty easy. That would be a great hike in itself and Lake Isabelle is gorgeous.
From there you can make a decision on whether you want to continue your hike up to Isabelle Glacier. The last 1.5 miles up to the glacier is much harder than your hike up to the lake. It has just as much elevation gain as the first 3.5 miles, and it gets rocky. It can be hard to follow the trail, especially with the snow in October. It essentially doubled the time of our hike. The views are great though, so if you have the time and the energy, definitely continue.