Brainard Lake Trail is a 6.7 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Nederland, Colorado that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from March until October.
Snowshoed the snowshoe trail just to Lake Brainard last weekend (MLK weekend 2017). Used snowshoes, but the majority of the trail was well-packed. There is only slight elevation gain to the lake. I was glad I had my AWD to get to the trailhead, but I saw plenty of 2WD cars make it, too. Busy trail! Don't plan on being alone, but it's still beautiful and scenic. Highly recommend.
Just finished this today. There are a few mild elevation gains (showshoe) at the beginning, and there is a roughly 1/2 mile incline leading up to Pawnee campsite after crossing over the road. This, as always, is a beautiful place to hike. Please don't park on the side of the road with no parking signs, we saw a half dozen cars with tickets on their windshields. The snowshoe trail definitely needed snowshoes, but the road could have probably been fine with a good pair of boots or microspikes/yaktraks.
We don't have snow shoes but didn't need them for this trail, the path is so compacted that walking with our extra grip things was fine. If you step off the trail then you'll be a foot deep in snow.
Very very windy in the clearings but a beautiful day and a great hike. We went to the first lake and then onto Brainard Lake, about 6-7miles or so.
The main parking is closed but the winter parking is open and it's not far to the trailhead.
Saw some moose on the way home too!!
We went with our 9 year old daughters. Pretty windy in the clearings but perfect once in the trees. Took the snowshoe trail to Red Rock Lake and then back (less than 2 miles which is perfect for younger kids). Beautiful day and scenery - our girls loved seeing the frozen lake.
Great for snowshoeing right now! Road is closed so be prepared. It was incredibly windy at the top and at least 20 degrees colder, so bundle up, or bring layers!
(11/6/16) We planned to drive to Brainard Lake and then hike to Lake Isabelle, but didn't research to know that the road from the fee station to the lake is now closed for the season, so on to plan B. We parked in the main lot and hiked out Waldrop Trail to the Brainard Lake snowshoe trail and then back along the road. Very little snow and the trail was pretty dry. I know that can change at any time, so if you're interested go now, before the snow rolls in. Windy and cold at the lake, but not bad on the trail/road. So pack some layers. By the route we took it was about 5.75 miles.
Beautiful hike! Very nice on the way up S. St. Vrain Trail. Around the lake was quite a few more people as you can drive there, but light to moderate traffic otherwise. Brainard Snowshoe trail was a little tough to spot from time to time and a little soggy in some marsh areas. Can't wait to snowshoe it!
$10 to get in, not too bad, the ranger said I could possibly use my national park pass. The lake is very beautiful, the trails are a little confusing I thought. This is great hike for kids, there is a paved path all the way around the lake and the lake is easily accessible. They had tons of parking and multiple bathrooms. I would recommend this for people that want to avoid the crowds of rocky mountain but want a nice easy, paved path with a mountain lake.
Don't wait in the long line to go through the fee station! Just park for free to the right of the fee station. That's how you get the 6-7 mile hike in too! Lake was beautiful, though a little touristy. Trails not crowded.
Awesome hike. Beautiful wild flowers and lots of wildlife. Saw 4 bull moose. Get to a really cool glacier lake also. A lot to see, great views
We did this trail from the fee station to the lake with my 3 month old in the ergo. It was a beautiful shaded easy trail, but just enough of a workout for me. With one stop it took us 2 1/2 hours round trip. Fee to drive into the lake is $10 FYI. It gets super crowded by 10. We started at 8:30 on a Sunday and there was hardly anyone there.
nice hike with the kids