dogs on leash
Easy 6 miles RT to the lake and back. I would highly recommend wearing traction on your feet. Yaktrax , chains, or spikes. Especially for the second half as there are some more steep slipperier parts. Snow is thawing aggressively at the moment. Plenty of snowy waterfalls.
Awesome trail! Just know that at least 2/3 of it is snow covered including some rather steep portions, so wear appropriate footwear! Lake and mountain views are amazing at the end and well worth the hike. Parking got full on Saturday, so just know you might have to walk around an extra half mile or so from where you park down the road.
Great trail, well-marked. It's a bit snowy still, so definitely don't wear tennis shoes like some hikers we saw on the trail. Lost Lake is frozen as of yesterday, but that should soon change! A great hike if you only have a few hours but still want to get some elevation gain.
Much like Allison below, we had to start at the Winter Trailhead, which I believe closes on Apr 30th. FYI, there's a warming hut and pit toilets there, no trash service. The winter TH is located where the SOURDOUGH trail and BRAINARD LAKE RD intersect. After about three miles on the Brained snowshoe trail we reached Brainard Lake and the TH for Isabelle Lake. By that time, we already getting tired of trudging through snow and were content with our views, so decided to turn around. We took Brainard Lake RD back and our total mileage was 5.7 miles and 400ft of elevation gain.
* I would recommend snowshoes at this time, there was some post-holing in spots. Especially with the new snow. Although, it is packed down enough in most spots to make hiking possible, it does take a little more energy.
I took some wrong turns so it added some milage, but I hiked by myself with my two dogs and they loved it! The scenery was fantastic! I used just hiking boots, but it might be smart to bring snowshoes. Definitely get there early! Even in the winter! I got there around 830 and there were about 10 cars, but by the time I got back the lot was almost full!
Another thing that might help with others that possibly come across the same issue I did: to get to the trailhead of Lake Isabelle in the winter you obviously have to hike to Brainard lake, but once you get there you pass the lake on either side and follow the only sign there is to other lakes ( I unfortunately cannot remember their names, Isabelle is not listed on this sign). From there you will be able to access the trailhead.