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Nice views and good elevation change, great mix of snow, slush, ice, mud and dirt.. definitely kept us on our toes!

Today the trail was packed, didn't need snowshoes until that last 1/2 mile after turnoff for Lost Lake. Most of the hike was shielded from wind before getting to the lake. Super gusty today so not a fun afternoon to linger at Lost lake, but saw a few pretty views while there. It's a fun and easy to moderate level snowshoe trail.

Loved this hike! We went 11/12 and it was super snowy! A lot of people had snow shoes but our spikes worked just fine. Saw 3 large moose on the trail! You have to hike about a mile from your car to the trail head, so factor that in! Also, there was a frozen stream you could hike, however with our spikes it was a little sketchy. If you don’t want to hike the stream there is a trail to the right of the stream that goes through the woods in order to get you to the trailhead.

Trail was closed today. Hiked this before with my dog and she loved being off leash with the cows. Special dog tag for voice control needed for off leash capability.

snowshoeing
5 days ago

This was a beautiful hike that had a ton of snow today. It was a gorgeous day out and I cannot wait to do this hike again. Heads up, the road to the trailhead was snowed in and we had to walk the rest of the way.

I love this hike, I have done it in a variety of seasons. There is a beautiful waterfall during the spring run off. Make sure you walk around the lake and look back towards the trail when you get there for the best views. Lots of snow on the trail today !! Knee deep drifts in spots the last half mile to the lake . Only used spikes today , no snow shoes although they would have been handy in a few places. We blazed the trail, should be a decent trench until the next big dump ! Also we had to park on the road near the intersection for the Fourth of July TH . I don’t recommend driving any further down the road unless you have some serious clearance.

hiking
22 days ago

This was a good hike. Pretty steep right from the get go. We took a lot of breaks. Good views along the way. Not overly crowded on the trail, but parking was pretty hard to come by on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. Coming back up from the river was the hardest part for me. All in all, 4 hours well spent.

Hiked on 10/26. I had been there almost 20 years ago with my kids aged 1, 3, and 4 (a good fraction on my back as you can imagine). This was during the summer and we had a great time. This is why I wanted to take the opportunity of my visit in Boulder to return.
Some snow on the path, but not too much. The lowest part of the trail is somewhat icy, and some may want to use spikes (I did not). After the tree line, the snow is soft, so that the spikes are not useful. Today was very windy but clear. I left the winter parking lot at 7AM and was back at 1PM. There is no need for snow shoes, but good hiking shoes and protection (to avoid the snow to get in) are needed

hiking
22 days ago

We did the short ~2 or 2.5 mile loop.
It was ok. Easy for out of towners but not much to see unless you do the longer loops. Part of the forest was being thinned intentionally by the park service. Equipment and sights of the road took away from the experience. It is a gravel/rock path and very exposed to the sun in midday so bring sunscreen, hat, plenty of water anyway.

Cows grazing freely which was interesting. Mountain bikers to be cautious of and let pass. Dogs on leash.

$5 parking for non Boulder residents or you can get the $25 year pass online ahead of time.

hiking
22 days ago

Pretty basic/boring/easy hike. The only excitement on this hike were the cows....

Hiked this today 10-25-18. Easy parking at 11am on A Thursday but I could see how it would be tough on a weekend.

Very rocky overall and not a ton of views until the lake. Still very pretty. Micro spikes are a must for the last mile or so the lake. It’s entirely snow and ice. Most people we saw did not have them and really struggled. Overall an easy pretty hike, that was dog friendly with a nice lake payoff.

Very pretty moderate hike. Would recommend

Hiked this a few days ago on 10/20. The hike was really fun and pretty and we enjoyed it a lot. It also wasn’t too difficult of a hike. Get there early if you want to park by the trailhead. The parking was full when we arrived around 11, so we had to park on the street in town, which added a couple extra miles to our hike. There was quite a bit of snow on the top half when we were there. Poles or yaktrax probably would have been helpful. Overall, very nice.

hiking
25 days ago

This was my first hike after moving from the midwest. It was a nice trail, took the dog with us, got my heart rate going right off the bat and we took it nice and slow. Probably not the best first hike for someone who hasn't hiked much, we didn't make it all the way to the end, but we will next time!

hiking
26 days ago

Hiked on 10/20. As others have said, the road into Brainard Lake is closed for the season, so you park in the lot before the fee station. I tracked the whole hike on my fitbit, and it's 2 miles to Brainard Lake, and another mile to the trailhead. All we wore were Yaktraks over our hiking shoes. It would have been nice to have snow boots or gaiters on, as you fall through the snow a LOT. Our feet were soaked for most of the hike.

Took us 7 hours, and we took a wrong turn on the way to the trailhead that added a mile. 14 miles round trip. There was no wind at all until the top, and even then it wasn't too bad. The snow made this hike TOUGH and made it take a lot longer than it should have for us, but the views are some of the most incredible I've seen. We only saw a few other people all day. Highly recommend if you love a challenging hike--though I wouldn't do it again in the snow.

Beautiful hike, lots of scenery and mountains all around you covered in snow. Parking lot (due to road closure) is 3.5 miles away from the lake Isabelle trailhead, entire hike ends up being 12.5 miles. Lake Isabelle is completely frozen over and looks immaculate. Expect a 5 and half hour hike. I would arrive early to get the best views and temperatures.

Loved it! Got to parking lot at Gateway at 6 am and biked the 2 plus miles to trailhead. The trail starts in trees and snow was packed on the trail with scattered ice. I wore micro spikes and knee gaiters—both were needed. Parts of the trail were nearly dry on a ridge about 3/4 of a mile up and before tree line. After tree line it’s consistently snowy. The trail above tree line is marked by rock piles and was easy to follow until a quarter mile from the summit. Lots of packed snow and many post holes from recent hikers breaking through the crust. The wind above tree line today was fierce. Three other hikers and I were all amazed at the wind speed, likely a constant 25 mph + with stronger gust? ( I had no gauge so let’s just say it was plenty strong and slowed my forward progress to a crawl at times.) But glorious views at the top! Well worth the effort. I hike about ten miles a week at elevation but I’m a slow hiker and took my time, stopped often and ate lunch near the summit. Got back to the Gateway parking lot at 4:45 even using a mountain bike. Highly recommend this trail, but with more snow I will pass on going again till summer. Snow shoes would have done no good today, if you’re going soon use knee gaiters and spikes.

Great little hike, plenty of kids managing it well. Was a little icy in spots, especially right before the lake, microspikes would have been handy.

This is a fun, easy going hike, with a couple of waterfalls on the way to the lake. There was plenty of snow but the weather was perfect. We were glad to have yak tracks - many people didn't look like they were having a good time on the way down because it was quite slippery.

**there is a separate account for “winter” trail, but this is the first account most people go to** Beautiful hike the entire way. As someone else mentioned the road to Brainard Lake is closed. From parking and back we clocked a round trip of 12 miles to get to Lake Isabelle and back to parking lot. The trail had nice packed snow 90% of the way, the last part before the lake is a little slushy and muddy being exposed to sun which can cause it to be a little slick, so careful if you have some limitations. The lake was completely frozen on 10/20.

hiking
27 days ago

Amazing view!

10/20/18 Hiked up to lost lake. Awesome trail. The trail up to the lake was mostly snow and ice.

Did this on 10/20/18. THE GATES ARE CLOSED FOR THE SEASON. You must park at Gateway Trailhead and walk the 2-2.5ish miles to the Beaver Creek Trailhead- or anywhere else you want to go around Brainard. If you are at all worried about time or icy trails, just walk the road. Yak traks are necessary if you do not take the road but everything else is doable without them. Highly recommend tall snow boots and gaiters as you will spend a lot of time stepping in the snow to your knees... which I'm sure will only get more significant very soon. You should also allow more time than you think with the snow... it took me 6.5 hours having to walk from Gateway and I am an experienced hiker. BUT the hike is amazing, the snow capped mountains are gorgeous and you should do this hike!!

Get there early for parking unless you feel like adding some extra steps your hike. Along the street parking in designated areas.

Definitely need some YakTracks for most of the hike as of 10/13 (especially coming down.)

Mostly uphill until you get to the lake. Bring some snacks and extra jackets for the wind. Beautiful hike!

Just a heads up the road to Brainard Lake is closed for the season as of 10/15 so you have to park at the winter lot and hike the 2.5ish miles to the trailhead.

Beautiful hike with small waterfalls along the way. Make sure to bundle up and wear spikes if you’ have them. The lake is picturesque. Pack a lunch and stay awhile...you’ll be glad you did!

Microspikes are pretty much necessary as of 10/13/18. Fun trail and beautiful lake!

This was a beautiful hike with varying difficulty in the trail throughout and lots of beautiful views along the way. we didn't make it to glacier lake but lake Isabelle was great!

hiking
1 month ago

This trail can get crowded on weekends, but if you're able to get up here on a weekday it's easily a 5/5 hike.

I did this 13er with my wife when we were visiting from KY. It is very manageable, and has some great views.

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