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This trail was spectacular. We parked at the Brainard lot because the road was closed. Three miles to the trailhead, but pretty and easy. Once we hit the trailhead we slapped on our snowshoes and were on our way. Nobody other than a cross country skier was out there. The trail wasn’t overly difficult but we felt the hills. We’re doing it again end of March. Beautiful trail for snowshoeing.

Gorgeous winter hike. Tough with the extra mileage due to the road closure. Definitely bring snow shoes.

One of my favorite hikes of all time, but difficult to navigate due to snow unless you go in July or August. Absolutely gorgeous. The little lake at the top is quite a climb but worth it.

Gorgeous. You absolutely need snowshoes. The road to the trailhead is closed so tack in another 6 miles rt. Awesome trail. Nobody- other than us and a skier out there.

on Pawnee Buttes Trail

1 month ago

Sadly, this area is a minefield of oil drilling wells. There must be hundreds. It's nothing but huge hammers smashing into mother earth's crust and sucking her dry. Uncool.

1 month ago

What a neat trail to find in the Eastern part of Colorado. The roads (gravel and pitted pavement) getting to this trail are not for the type of car we were driving and was glad the weather was nice. It was very easy park to find and the trails are very well worn so you will not loose your way. I recommend bearing to the right of the trail as you go through the second gate. On you way back from the two main buttes, take the right after the sign and head into the canyon for some very cool exploring. We were there for about 4 hours and wished we had a couple more hours. We were the only hikers there this day.

You will need snowshoes if you want to make it to Blue Lake.

My favorite trail! So much beauty.

2 months ago

One of my favorite trails! I wish I had more time to explore. Will come back again for sure!!

We did almost 11 miles hike to Lake Isabelle from entrance. Road is closed leading to the trailhead. You will have to park at winter parking lot by the side of entrance booth. That adds almost 5-6 miles to the Long Lake Trailhead, depending on if you take the road or take side trails. I didn't have microspike, and had to be careful with icy conditions, was not too bad. But I would recommend getting Microspike. We started from Parking lot at 6:45 in the morning, and we were back by 1PM. Lake Isablle is mostly drained, frozen remains at the center. It was very windy and chilly so please prepare yourself for the weather. Saw Frozen Long Lake, Frozen Brainard Recreation area on our way up. Views are very gorgeous. We didn't find anyone going on the trail when were were going up, maybe because we were early. But saw few people ascending when we were descending.

on Lake Isabelle Trail

3 months ago

Especially gorgeous hike right now with all the snowfall. From the parking lot round trip my iPhone recorded an 11.5 mile trip. Make sure you bring plenty of warm gear and wear gaiters!

3 months ago

Geodynamics at all scales. You can watch the landscape forming. Very instructive. Memory that you will keep.

Freakin awesome once you get there.

Great hike in forest with the reward of Blue Lake at the end. Went in at Gateway TH. Light snow all the way and some ice

A mini badlands with out-of-this-world views of buttes. Quiet prairie with sounds of insects and wind. Watch the mounds of ants-no really-watch as they work- but don’t touch. There are potties but no water-bring a gallon.

So awesome. This was the first hike I did after moving to Colorado. Was perfectly suited for someone not used to the altitude and was absolutely gorgeous!

Road to the trailhead is closed for the season. I walked down the road to get to the trailhead. Trail was great, with minimal snow patches, we were able to get through with regular hiking boots. Hiked up to blue lake, which was gorgeous. Pretty windy conditions up there. Never made it to upper blue lake. Saw three moose right off the trail.

4 months ago

Gorgeous hike! FYI the road to the nearest parking lot is closed, so that adds about 4 miles on to the total distance. Parts of the trail were icy but we managed without any extra gear. Beautiful at the top!

4 months ago

Such a beautiful and easy hike! Loved every second of it. First time visiting Colorado and this hike is now my top I’ve done! Loved the snow on the ground and perfect weather!


Beautiful / not overly difficult, plenty of variation. Loved it!

off road driving
4 months ago

quick trail, but super fun. i think it could be pretty hard right after a rain or during snowmelt so be advised. pretty sure it hasn't rained or snowed up there in over a week and there were plenty of mudpits and puddles. my rear license plate goes under water (despite the wake) in one section which i estimated to be just shy of 3ft. if you'd like to see a video of the run i have one up at:


07 ranger manual
no lift
no locker
no sway bar

youtube trail channel: b roll offroad

have fun!

We didn't actually make it there because the road is closed to get to the trailhead. It's an extra 2 mile walk down the road if you want to get here now

5 months ago

Loved this hike!! Saw 4 of the lakes the fourth was definitely the best, incredible views!! The trail was challenging in some areas because of the rocks but worth it!

Went up on Saturday 10/14 and it was a beautiful sunny day up until you get to the mountain. It started to snow as soon as we started on the trail but it really made for a lovely hike. Only saw 5 other people in the trail, 3 hikers and 2 fishing. It’s beautiful in the snow but it falls quick so if you are not careful you can lose the trail pretty quickly. I still recommend doing the hike even in the snow but I wouldn’t go alone unless you are an experienced hiker just for the snow reasons. It was all in all a great day.

Did this trail right after the snow storm and was the first one up. The trail didn’t exist so I got a bit lost and post holed my way up to the top. Saw a moose though.

5 months ago

Vehicle used to access the trail:
Kia sorrento front-wheel drive
Timberland work boots & Nike running shoes
Child carrier:
ErgoBaby 360° backpack 25lb
$11 (no state park pass)
We have done this trail before in the summer. This time we took my mother-in-law out and started the trail at 8:30am.
The parking lot at the trailhead was almost empty when we arrived, previously we hadn't been able to get a spot because it's much busier in the summer.
The trail was covered in snow and very icy. It was a slow and steady hike, I believe the temperature was in the low 30's.
We cut the trail short and stuck to walk g around the lake but it was still beautiful!! roughly 2.5miles and took us just under 2hours to complete due to the tricky ice. Next time we will use spikes or poles to steady ourselves.
Even with the ice it was a great trail, little to no sun on the trail the whole time which added to the cold but for a first timer like my mother-in-law it was great. She really enjoyed it and the views of the lake were worth the cold!!!

5 months ago

Perfect for a quick day hike. Took us 2-3 hours including our picnic at the lake and a decent amount of stopping for gorgeous views and awesome pics. Definitely got winded here and there but we were not quite ready for the elevation!! Went in October and it was definitely slushy and icy on the shaded parts of the trail but so worth it for the views of the mountain peaks and Lake Isabelle.

5 months ago

About 80% of the trail was ice/slush/mud and my dog was filthy, but the view from the lake is SO worth it! Just be careful with the ice. The mountains were snowy and beautiful, and you could see them throughout most of the trail! And by the way, the Long Lake parking lot is where the trailhead is- it took me awhile to figure that out.

Ryan must have done this the day before the snow storm., because now postholing started getting bad less than 1.5 miles in. Making it to Mitchell lake is easy though. Saw the biggest moose of my life with a calf in the brush along the river before mitchell lake. Got tf out of there quick.

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