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pretty short, but intense hike going up. cool views of Boulder

Good trail with decent incline at end, with great view of front range and mnts

hiking
4 hours ago

Fantastic trail. Amazing views of RMNP and Estes. I went in mid October and there were a few snowy patches, but nothing too hard. highly recommend going up the rock crevice to the true peak. Breathtaking views.

Great hike. Breathtaking views from the top. Worth the climb up to the tower at the end of the hike.

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.

moderately hard with an awesome view!

easy with a good climb

Seemed more dry and desolate than most of the trails I've been on. Didn't see any water anywhere which was actually nice at times because of how quiet it got. Great views at the top.

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.

Took the dogs and kids. Amazing drive up, beautiful views. It’s a must.

Great moderate trail very close to the city. Directional for mountain bikers on odd days which makes it much easier to share. Lots of dog lovers but all dogs on a leash. Grubsteak section is more wooded and better for heat of the day. Rest of Trail is fairly exposed so bring a hat even on cooler days. I will definitely do this one again.

Very fun and routy

Nice hike! Got there a little after eight and there were a few cars in the lot but I only saw three or four other people on my way up. A little icy about 3/4 of the way to the top but I did ok in just sneakers, just had to go a little slow on the way back down. Lovely views all around from the lookout. Seems like a good one to bring visitors to as it’s not too long but you get great views at the end.

The road is bumpy — you’ll definitely get jostled in a few places — but my Honda Accord made it up no problem and the beautiful drive through the forest more than made up for the bumps.

**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.

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!!

Nice trail, not far from homes. Good, steep ascent. Added Red Rocks trail to make for a 4.5 mile hike.

Awesome trail with a nice surprise at the top! Good cardio incline at the beginning, middle levels out for you to catch your breath, and then a steep incline at the top. Well worth it tho!

hiking
3 days ago

Nice easy trail! I hiked the trail with my young daughter and we had no issues. Good views but I wouldn’t exactly call this a moderate trail, more along the easier side.

Starts out in a neighborhood. You don’t really lose the highway sounds during this hike. No shade along the trail. It gets a nice view of Golden, and is good for when you want a quick hike close to Denver. Nothing spectacular.

Easy fun hike! The neighbors in the area are super friendly.

Incredible views once you make it to the overlook! Staircase to the top is a little unnerving.. but 100% worth it! Caution... the road to the parking area for this hike.. is a bumpy ride from hell.

This is a lovely hiking and MTB trail. I had no issues sharing the trail with bikers as they were all very friendly and courteous. The views down the valley are gorgeous, especially in morning light. The Wapiti/Ponderosa/Wild Turkey Trail loop was easy/mod with sure footing and well-kept trails. I came across two handsome 8 point bucks on the north side. Nice views of Meeker and Longs Peak. Plentiful parking and vault toilets at the trail head. A real gem!

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.

lovely trail with a noice rock at the top pretty busy though

hiking
8 days ago

The trail had spectacular views of Estes and looking at the entrance for the national park. I didn’t like how soft the trail itself was. I sunk down into the sand with every step. It was quite the challenge there and back with good elevation gain. The views made up for the little faults it has.

Beautiful trail, more like moderate with some hard sections. Pretty easy overall. Exposed with little shade. Encountered a rattle snake on the trail!

Note: the direction button for this trail leads you to the Green Mountain Trailhead, which is on the other side of Dakota Ridge! If you go there you'll probably have an easier time finding parking than at the Matthews/Winter park. You start on the Zorro Trail across the road, which leads you up to Dakota Ridge. I accidentally went down Green Mountain trail because I missed the signs and was looking for the red rocks trail. I drove to Matthews instead and took red rocks to Dakota. I kind of likes that way better. *

*bikes arent allowed the first portion of the village walk trailhead I think but are on Zorro.

The loop we followed was Chautauqua to Meadow to Gregory Canyon to Ranger to the summit of Green Mountain to E.M. Greenman to Saddle Rock to Gregory Canyon to Meadow - almost 10miles. Very strenuous on the way up, took almost four hours to summit - we are not from this altitude. Absolutely stunning and worth every grueling bit :)

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