Lake Isabelle Trail (Summer)

EASY 620 reviews
#1 of 116 trails in

Lake Isabelle Trail (Summer) is a 4.4 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Nederland, Colorado that features a waterfall and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and birding and is best used from June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
4.4 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
488 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

hiking

walking

bird watching

forest

lake

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

rocky

Although this trail is almost entirely in the Indian Peaks Wilderness (Roosevelt National Forest), it starts in the Brainard Lake Recreation Area. There is a $11 fee (cash only) to enter this area. From mid-October to Mid-June, the road to the trailhead is closed. Visitors must park at the Gateway Trailhead, at the closed gate. This route adds 2.5 miles one-way to the hike. The winter hike can be found on AllTrails here: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/colorado/lake-isabelle-trail-winter This hike starts at the Long Lake trailhead.

hiking
2 months ago

One of my favorites, can’t go wrong in the Brainard Lake area really :) one thing I learned this year: Lake Isabelle serves as a reservoir, and at the beginning of September if gets largely drained. Still a beautiful hike with long lake, a waterfall, and happy doggos. Always see moose up in this area, and marmots and pika often chirp alongside the lake.

4 months ago

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.

hiking
4 months ago

**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.

4 months ago

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.

4 months ago

This was a beautiful hike with varying difficulty in the trail throughout and lots of beautiful views along the way. we didn't make it to glacier lake but lake Isabelle was great!

hiking
4 months ago

We do a lot of hiking in Colorado, and for my entire family this is our favorite. It is extremely easy, and just shockingly beautiful the entire way. I can't think of a better place for a hike. We went on a Wednesday, arrived at the park about 7:05 in the morning, and there were only two parking places left. Arriving early and bug spray are both a must!

hiking
4 months ago

Incredible views. Bring layers. Very windy by the lake

4 months ago

Easy hike and busy on a Sat. Beautiful lake at the golden hour! Chilly at the top so bring layers.

4 months ago

So pretty the entire time!! Dog friendly & everyone had their dogs on a leash. Very appreciative of this.

4 months ago

Not much water, but easily one of my favorite hikes in Colorado. Keep hiking up to Isabelle Glacier if you’ve got it in ya

hiking
4 months ago

Very easy trail, a few steep-ish climbs right before the lake. A lot of bang for your effort with fantastic views at the end. The lake is currently low due to the drought, but still an amazing sight. Watch for moose, as a bull lives here with his family - I actually saw the bull chase away some idiots with their unleashed dog.

4 months ago

The lake was low when we went in September, but it was still super beautiful. I've done this trail multiple times over the years and it's still one of my favorites. The top is windy, so bring a jacket!

hiking
4 months ago

Amazing views, easy hike! It’s on my favorites list now!

5 months ago

good hike, lake was a bit low. lovely views throughout the hike.

hiking
5 months ago

We did this trail last December. Ended up being about 13 miles round trip from where we had to park, but totally worth it. Gorgeous in the summer, but if you can brave it and don't mind the wind, do this in December-March. The snow makes the hike a good bit harder, but provides an unbelievable view once you reach the lake. Doing this again on 09/23 with the doggos this time!!

5 months ago

Arrived 7:15am on a Monday in September. Only 3-4 other cars in the lot and saw no one else on the trail until we hit Isabelle. Water level is low (drained)but it was still a worthwhile hike and there’s still a decent amount of water left. A lot more foot traffic heading up to the lake when we were heading out. Back at the parking lot at 10:30am and lot was full with cars circling to find a spot. Easy hike-the elevation gain comes right before the lake.

hiking
5 months ago

Great hike - semi quiet going up around 8:30am - lots of good flat parts with few rocky areas. Good forest, mountain and lake views. Parking near trailhead was full so parked at the Brainard Lake lot (past the pay area) so overall mileage out and back was closer to 7.3-7.5 miles.

5 months ago

Fantastic hike with gorgeous pay off. beautiful the whole way.

hiking
5 months ago

Beautiful, scenic trail! After parking and walking around the lake, it came to 7.3 miles on my Apple Watch. Very busy trail.

hiking
5 months ago

This is an absolutely beautiful trail. Lake Isabelle was really low, but it didn't matter at all. It felt like we were on a movie set. It was a great, easy hike. Definitely go during the week. We had no issues parking or with overcrowding. Coming from Texas, the heat doesn't bother us. We got there around 3P. It's very shaded so the sun wasn't an issue.

5 months ago

Great views and some challenging terrain! Super packed. Get here early or you'll add about two miles to your trek because the upper lot is usually full and you have to hike another mile to the trail head. Overall a nice easy/ moderate trail.

hiking
5 months ago

I thought the crowds would thin after Labor Day. I was wrong. This is a beautiful hike just be prepared to fight the hoards. We had to park up the road which added two miles to the hike and kept us from going all the way to the glacier. Despite the crowds the views are spectacular. Fairly easy hike with only a couple of steep spots. Lots of water throughout. This is a great one if you don't mind all the people.

5 months ago

Nice, easy trail, and great scenery.

hiking
5 months ago

This is a truly beautiful hike, but absolutely mobbed. Get there as early as you can stand it -- we arrived by 7am and the parking lot was already completely full, we had to walk up from Mitchell Trailhead. By the time we were heading back around lunch, it was a madhouse. My advice is to get started around 5:30-6am, bring a nice picnic breakfast to enjoy at the lake, and then head back before things get too crazy. Even with the people, though, it's absolutely worth it --- completely breathtaking scenery.

hiking
5 months ago

Arrived around 10:30am... had to wait about 20min to get through park gates. Admission is $11.00 (cash)... Parked in Brainard Lake overflow parking. *Note: This adds 1 mile to your hike. Take trail/road to right of lake. There are signs to Mitchell Lake... follow to upper parking lot area. From there... follow signs to lake isabelle glacier for 2 miles to lake. Overall, great mix of trees, meadows, and minimum incline. Totally worth it.

5 months ago

Arrived at 10:30 AM on Sun (Labor Day weekend), waited in the car 45-60 mins to get in. Staff were patient and friendly. They walked up to cars to complete the payment before driving up ($11 cash or check). Parked at Mitchell Trailhead lot- heard there was a moose sighting on this trail (late morning!) You may follow signs to Long Lake Trailhead (you'll pass this lot). People and dogs on this trail were very friendly. Stopped many times to take in the views from Long Lake to Lake Isabelle. Lake Isabelle still has water today! The area just before the Lake is empty though so it seems this may be empty soon. Bring plenty of water and layers as the predicted weather was 100% wrong. My dog is 17lbs and did this entire hike no problem.

hiking
5 months ago

This was my first hiking experience since moving to Colorado, and I can say with confidence you will not be disappointed! The cool thing about this trail is that you not only get to see Lake Isabelle, but you pass by Long Lake on the way! There is a cute little wooden bridge towards the beginning of the trail that offers a beautiful view of Long Lake and the creek. Don't forget to bring layers! It was very windy by Lake Isabelle despite the warmer weather at the start of the trailhead. I even got to see a moose as I was driving to the parking lot (it was about a mile away from the parking lot, just eating and minding it's own business!) I highly recommend this trail!

hiking
5 months ago

Arrived around 8:00 AM on a Friday. We got the last spot in the parking lot. Great hike for out of town company - easy enough and beautiful views. There was very little elevation gain until the last part.

hiking
5 months ago

5 months ago

Monday on this trail was highly trafficked, but worth the views! Got there at 10am and had to start at Mitchell lake trailhead which added 3/4 mile both ways but there are new trails so you don’t have to take the road!

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