Explore Colorado Hiking - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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walking
3 days ago

I did this one in summer, pretty heavily trafficked but it is nice and cozy to walk around the lake.

Yaktracks and layers made this possible and as wonderful as well. Will be back !

Really nice trail. Well maintained and popular. Lots of cool formations. Favorite part was being on top of the ridge. Saw some snakes.

This is a great trail to couple with the Squaw mountain. I would suggest doing this one first. This one is still an easy trail, but is slightly more difficult than Squaw. The incline a little more steep. My opinion is this is better because it’s more in the woods and the trail is more fun. The views at the top are stunning as well.
You will be able to identify the parking on the side of the road but the trailhead is easy to miss. It’s on the other side of the road and is a small entry.

As of 11/10/2018 the trail is covered in snow but I didn’t need shoe traction at all and the trail is still being used enough that the path is obvious. A great, short hike with unbelievable views at the top. Download the PeakFinder app for some fun after summiting.

Amazing

hiking
10 days ago

Nice hike!

Okay, first the most important, YES there is a bathroom at bottom!

I just went today for the first time with two dogs and they did great. There are some snow remnants around and the trail is a bit muddy, but overall, a very enjoyable hike!

There are some great views and great red rocks to see as you go up the trail. The elevation gain was subtle in some areas, but also a butt burner as you head back at end of trail. There was only one section not clearly marked....it is a steep down trail and once you get down the hill, THEN you will see there it is marked for Red Rocks Trail. When at top, there are three other potential ways...one is a dead end and the other looks like it could head off for a bit. Just be careful of this section, but I don't think you would get far anyway.

I feel tired after and happy. There weren't too many people at 9am and 42 degree weather. So if you dislike the crowds, try going in colder weather. It is still enjoyable!

Went on Memorial Day and it was a great place to hang out for the day. Seeing the dam flow on the east side of trail is cool.

A lot people both running and biking, largely millennials/30-somethings, and has the feel of a big city trail that is used primarily for after work runs and bicycle commutes. Can be sketchy in parts if you linger. Pretty sure we saw a guy doing drugs behind a tree.

Bring spikes! Great mini hike with incredible views.

hiking
17 days ago

Wear micro spikes.
2 miles straight up but views so worth it.
Incredible

walking
17 days ago

Easy trail with great 360 views. Requires crampons in fall due to packed ice and inclines

What a perfect trail for beginners, out of towners, and people who want a short day. Easy trailhead to get to. Easy, well-maintained trail, and a great destination. Beautiful drive up and view from the top of Chief Mountain.

hiking
20 days ago

Snow covered most of the trail and was all packed down, though slick in many spots. The wind was pretty cutting at points and at the top, so definitely bring a wind breaker. I'd also advise on gloves if you have trekking poles, I did not have gloves and regret it.

The hike was beautiful and the view from the top was incredible. I went on a Wednesday afternoon and had the entire mountain to myself.

Beautiful views at the top! I’d consider the hike to be overall easy if there’s not snow. I went on 10/20 and the majority of the trail had hard, slippery 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.

I hiked the trail on Friday and it was completely passable, though snow covered and a little icy in some patches from the snow getting packed down from foot traffic. The second half of the trail is exposed above the tree line. It could get windy at the top, though the weather was very warm and nice. Amazing 360 views at the top. I imagine this trail would be an excellent choice in any season!

Lovely little trail (more of a service road) with a variety of views and a reservoir at the bottom. Not too busy but most of the people on the trail were walking their dogs, some without leashes (which are required). There was some ice on the trail in the shaded areas so once winter is in full swing bring microspikes.

walking
24 days ago

Very nice walk around the lake! Pretty crowded and almost didn’t find a parking spot. Path is well maintained, though and views are wonderful.

hiking
24 days ago

Always a great hike! Views are beautiful.

**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.

great hike for beginners and family time! Dogs are welcomed and the views at the top are worth the work

The views on this hike are amazing. Make sure at this time of year you bring proper gear. Sheer ice in places made it extremely slippery coming down

Excellent hike. Snow packed so very slippery in places. At the top is beautiful...50+ degree weather was perfect.

Taco, 2.5" Lift, 33s, Sliders

Road to trailhead certainly looks like private property, but just do the "grip the wheel and don't make eye contact" thing. Only did the hill and part of the loop. Many snowy areas, lots of mud, and you can tell there are multiple holes that have been increasingly dug out by spinning tires, making the features more challenging. The 1 mile section of the loop I did (headed counterclockwise) was very tight with tricky spots that were entirely covered in snow.

In comparison to other AllTrails ratings, I would rate this firmly within Hard and certainly not Moderate. You need considerable clearance, some skill, and a spotter. Rock sliders, skid plate, rear locker, maxtrax, and hand winch all saw some action on it today, primarily due to snow, mud, and big wet roots. Drive up the hill, but do not drive down; take the Bill Moore Lake trail back to Empire. Bill Moore is rated as Hard, but the section I drove back from Red Elephant was a very easy Moderate.

Beautiful views from the top. Easy hike, 1.5 hours round trip with about 10 minutes the summit.

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.

Gorgeous country and great hike. Very peaceful and the trail is certainly challenging at times.

Fabulous views as you go up, and it's definitely worth it to scramble up to the top. The trail had heavy traffic though, making it not as peaceful as I would have liked. With snow on the trail, the traffic really packed it in, making it fairly slick.

Arrived around 9:30am Saturday morning and parking wasn't more than 5 cars although once we got back to the car around 11:30 there was a line of cars and more people. There was snow most of the trail and icy towards the last portion of the trail, but was an awesome hike and fantastic views!

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