Isabelle Glacier Trail is a 8.4 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Nederland, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and snowshoeing and is best used from June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 8.4 miles Elevation Gain: 1,660 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

hiking

snowshoeing

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

rocky

scramble

snow

fee

NOTE: As of May 2020, the road is closed to the trailhead due to COVID-19 concerns. Please check the park website for more information. Although the hike is mostly in the Indian Peaks Wilderness (Roosevelt National Forest), the hike starts in Brainard Lake Recreation Area. There is a $12(cash only) fee to enter this area. This hike starts at the Long Lake trailhead. From mid-October to mid-June, the road to this trailhead is closed. Visitors may park at the Gateway trailhead just outside the closed gate. There is no fee to park at this gate because it is outside Long Lake. NOTE: Parking at the Gateway trailhead adds 5-miles round-trip to the hike.

hiking
snow
9 days ago

hiking
snow
11 days ago

This was an awesome trail! Not very hard. We hiked this two days ago. The road is closed so we walked 3 miles to the trailhead. There’s still a lot of snow but we hiked just fine in our hiking boots with no other snow gear. The views were amazing.

hiking
2 months ago

Wonderful trail up to the glacier full of flowers in fall.

hiking
snow
4 months ago

Absolutely gorgeous trail! However, I didn't make it all the way to Lake Isabella due to the incredibly deep snow I encountered after Long Lake. Was about 1500-2000 ft from the lake, but the snow was too deep and loose.

hiking
7 months ago

Gate is now closed so budget a 3 mile walk to the trailhead. Well worth it. Beautiful trail.

hiking
7 months ago

Trail has some snow cover but overall totally doable.

hiking
7 months ago

Hiked this Sun Oct 6 — beautiful and chilly!

recorded Isabelle Glacier Trail

hiking
8 months ago

Long Lake trailhead parking not full at 8:50 am. Fall colors were excellent. Saw moose, marmots, picas, and ground squirrels. Saw recent snow dusting on mountain tops. Trail was totally snow free. Quite a bit of bouldering after Lake Isabelle. Lake Isabelle water level was 15-20’ lower than in the spring. Was able to find the drainage outlet tunnel.

hiking
8 months ago

Don’t let the time it took me fool you, I kept forgetting to pause the recording when I would stop for photos. Saw a total of 5 moose, 4 (including a massive bull) were in the St. Vrain meadow between Long and Isabelle lakes, the fifth was above Isabelle Lake in the meadow. The hike itself is pretty mellow until you hit the switchback portion below the glacier, then it gets steep and a little challenging at 12000’. Although the glacier is neat, the colors in the meadow above Isabelle Lake were going off.

hiking
8 months ago

Completed 9/29 - absolutely perfect conditions and the number of people thins out quite a bit after Isabel lake.

hiking
muddy
rocky
8 months ago

This was such a pleasant and beautiful hike overall! We got to the Long Lake trailhead at 545am with plenty of parking. After Lake Isabelle, the hike gets steadily harder but there are plenty of cairns to lead the way. The glacier was pretty amazing to see and the lake has fairly low water levels but still incredible! The fall colors were really blooming with snow on the high peaks. Would definitely recommend getting there early- we passed SO many people as we were coming back down.

hiking
muddy
8 months ago

Hike was lovely! We parked at Mitchell at 7:30am because Lost Lake was full. It took 2 1/2 hours for us to hike up to the Glacier. It was not windy, I guess we got lucky based on other reports. Very beautiful scenery. Would love to see Lake Isabelle when the water level is high! I was glad we went early because when we returned to Lake Isabelle it was so very crowded. It was a little bit of a soggy hike but I wore tennis shoes and my socks didn't get wet.

hiking
8 months ago

One of my favorite hikes in Colorado! The trek to get to Isabelle Lake is pretty easy with minimal elevation gain. The lake itself is gorgeous and the mountain backdrop couldn’t be beat. We didn’t go all the way up to the glacier, but it’s still worth it to get to the lake. Parking fills up so get there early for a spot! $12 entrance fee or you can use a National Park Pass.

hiking
8 months ago

Such a beautiful hike!

hiking
rocky
scramble
snow
8 months ago

Hiked on Saturday, 9/21/19. Arrived at 6:30am, it was 35 degrees and the lot was already full so I had to park at the Mitchell lake lot (short hike up the road). The hike to Isabelle lake was easy and absolutely beautiful! After that the hike gets a little more confusing and difficult as you traverse the valley and some scree to get to the small lake before the big climb to the glacier. Make sure you keep an eye out for cairns above Isabelle lake all the way up to the glacier or you will end up venturing off trail by accident. You really feel like you’re bushwhacking and “choosing your own adventure” in places, which made this adventure one of the most enjoyable I’ve had to date. The hike from the final lake up is very steep, but man is the destination rewarding! Don’t skip out on the glacier if you can make it!

hiking
muddy
rocky
8 months ago

Hiked this Tuesday 9/10. Arrived at TH 6:30am. 34 degrees and ample parking. Lot was full when I finished. Almost ended at the small lake/wide river area that had snow, but luckily saw 2 other hikers pushing up the hillside. So grateful they were there to lead the way. That part of the hike is hard, but is what takes you up to the glacier. which is SO worth it....you end up looking down at this glacier with glacial blue ice/snow/water....it is breathtakingly beautiful!

hiking
rocky
8 months ago

Absolutely beautiful with flowers, lakes, the beach. The trail is kinda steep, but it’s worth it to hike up to the glacier area.

hiking
8 months ago

Gorgeous hike all the way to the end. Arriving at park by 5:45 am sat in line with 5 other cars and fortunate to get a spot to park. So happy to know they accepted my national parks pass. Starting on the trail just past 6AM in the dark. No head lamp, but with the full moon, wasn't bad. Very windy, but clear the whole day. Lake Isabella is only about 30% full. So surprising after such an epic snow season. It was sad and interesting at the same time.

hiking
8 months ago

Probably one of the most scenic hikes in Colorado. I’ve hiked in Switzerland and it reminded me of what the Alps look like in a couple of places. Well worth the trip. Very busy though, but they manage the trail and recreation area so well that it’s very clean. Wear solid bottomed shoes with good support to get you over the boulders toward the end.

hiking
muddy
rocky
8 months ago

We did the hike up to the small pool, but didn't do the last climb up to the glacier as the people I was with came from sea level and were ready to return. Honestly, the hike is worth it even if you stop here! The pool was gorgeous as were the other lakes. The water is just so pretty. Unfortunately for us, the trip was rather windy making the way up rather unpleasant. The wind died down along our return. We got to the park around 6:20am and had to park at the Mitchell TH parking. It only adds about 0.5 miles each way, so it really wasn't that bad. In the morning it seemed like the trail was pretty empty, but as we returned there were a bunch of people we had to pass. Parts of the trail were a bit tricky because it isn't well marked and is very wet and overgrown, but we managed to find our way. Some places have limited visibility right in front of you so PLEASE if you bring your dog, have it on a leash. It's a rule with a fine if you don't, but we passed at least 4 groups with unleashed dogs. Just follow the rules. Your dog isn't suffering from being leashed. The only reason I didn't find this hike that pleasurable was because it was extremely rocky. Hiking boots saved my feet from dying for sure. My BIL just had sneakers and really regretted it. The view are gorgeous and diverse with ponds, creeks, waterfalls, lakes, etc, but I was constantly having to look down as to not fall. I plan on coming back up to do it again all the way next time. Hopefully it will be less windy!

hiking
muddy
off trail
over grown
rocky
scramble
8 months ago

Awesome trail! The alpine meadows are beautiful and lots of wildlife around. We saw lots of pika, marmots, and moose! Apparently there were 5 different ones in the area today. The last portion of the hike up to the glacier is definitely the steepest part, lots of steep switchbacks, but the view was worth it! We arrived at 6:30am and were still able to snag a spot in the lot closest to the trailhead, but we were one of the last few and there were already lots of people on the trail. If you’re up for it, I recommend aiming to be there at 5am.

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