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Mitchell Lake Trail is a 1.9 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Nederland, Colorado that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and nature trips and is best used from May until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 1.9 miles Elevation Gain: 242 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

lake

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

rocky

fee

Please note that the road to this trailhead has been reported closed (05/21/2020), you will have to hike in to the trailhead to do the trail. 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 to enter this area. From mid-October to mid-June the gate to the Brainard Lake Recreation Area is closed. To do this trail, you would have to start at the Gateway Trailhead, outside of the closed gate. That adds 2.5 miles one-way to the hike. If you start outside of the gate, you do not need to pay the fee.

hiking
closed
snow
4 days ago

It was absolutely beautiful up there. However the road to this trailhead is closed, if you want to get to the trailhead you have to park about 2-3 miles away and walk the road to the trail. You see a beautiful lake on the way. Only a few trails up here allow dogs so be aware. It still has a decent amount of snow on the trails. The road is clear and easy tho.

hiking
closed
no shade
snow
1 month ago

Snow was really mushy and spikes were not enough. Definitely need snow shoes

2 months ago

Great hike, easily completed with 2 young children. beautiful views and good exercise.

snowshoeing
snow
3 months ago

hiking
icy
snow
5 months ago

Hiked up to Mitchell Lake from the winter Gateway trail head which added a couple extra miles. The snowshoe trail and road up to Brainard Lake was well packed down and easy to walk on. Once you actually get on the trail to Mitchell Lake, flotation devices (ski's or snowshoes) are a must. There was very deep snow in some places. The weather wasn't great unfortunately. It was a bit windy and it was snowing a bunch. Visibility was minimal but still a good hike none the less. I was hoping to make it up to Blue Lake but I got to the trail head somewhat late and didn't feel like continuing with how much snow was coming down. Still saw a good amount of people both cross country skiing and snowshoeing. There are lots of options for both in the Brainard Lake Rec. Area during winter. Overall, great time and I will be back for some harder winter hikes later in the season.

hiking
7 months ago

Great short hike with beautiful woods and stream. It was wonderful. This was only my 5th hike in Colorado, so haven’t a lot of experience to compare, but we really enjoyed it with our 11 yr old dog. It wasn’t too challenging for her.

hiking
7 months ago

It is only about a mile from Long Lake trailhead to Mitchell Lake, the 1.9 must include going out and back. It took me 20 minutes to get there from the parking lot and I am 58 years old hiking at a moderate pace. Beautiful hike though..

hiking
7 months ago

Lovely enjoyable trail. Kid and dog friendly. Many nice stops to relax on boulders and next to a creek. Mitchell Lake has slightly marshy area to spend some time. Best views at Mitchell. Mostly wooded trail with plenty of protection from high winds.

hiking
7 months ago

There are several trails and lakes within the Indian Peaks Wilderness. I would recommend hiking Long Lake instead.

hiking
7 months ago

Not official trail but still wonderful. Be ready for the wind!

hiking
7 months ago

This is a really nice woodsy mountain trail and the lake is beautiful. This area is gorgeous and a bit off the beaten path if you are looking for a nice place to get away from the crowds at ROMO.

hiking
8 months ago

A nice easy trail from the parking lot and campground. Lots of streams, wildflowers, vistas, and wildlife. Hiked in late August, we saw a mature female moose and her young calf.

hiking
9 months ago

This trail was pretty good. Lots of good views of wildflowers!

hiking
9 months ago

This trail seemed longer than 1.9 miles. Our Fitbit registered 5.6 out and back. Trails conditions were great. No mud or snow on trail. We saw four moose!! Steep climb for this Va girl!!

hiking
9 months ago

awesome trail! This is actually the first half of the blue lakes trail and I encourage all to go beyond this lake. Hiking shoes/boots are a must, this trail can be extremely muddy

hiking
9 months ago

Completed trail on 7-30-19. As everyone stated in other comments, the bugs were kinda unreal. Bring bug spray. There was still snow at the lake. Great pics - see attached.

hiking
bugs
rocky
snow
9 months ago

We hiked to Mitchell lake, then continued on to Blue Lake. Lots of water, snow and mud on the trail, but the icy lake was spectacular. Highly recommend!

hiking
10 months ago

The parking lot at the trailhead was closed last week so add an extra mile each way to your hike.

hiking
scramble
snow
10 months ago

As previous reviews note, after the first bridge the trail gets a little sketchy. I had micro spikes which definitely helped but still post holing and basically lost the trail. Turned on the GPS with all trails part way through to figure out which way to go, but be prepared to forge your own trail until you find some footprints. Gorgeous vistas at Mitchell lake, but decided to stop torturing my dog and we turned around instead of continuing on to blue lake. Posted some pics of the snow for reference.

hiking
snow
10 months ago

Beautiful area. Visited 6/29/19. First mile (to the bridge) still has small amounts of snow and some visible ground. Trail is marked and easy to follow. After entering the Indian Peaks Wilderness area, there are no markers and the snow was several feet deep. We were able to walk on top of the snow in most areas, following trails of footprints, but be prepared for postholing all the way to the lake. Lake was beautiful and worth the effort.

hiking
11 months ago

This trail is gorgeous in the summer. I would wait a little while to try and hike this. There was snow completely filled throughout the trail pretty hard packed. The road is also closed so you will have to walk up where you would typically drive.

hiking
11 months ago

Did this 6/1 at about 4pm. Gates still closed throughout and you have to park at the Winter Lot which is what we did. Motorcycles could easily get past the gate and get all the way to Brainard Lake and shave 4-5 roundtrip miles off the total route. There are no rangers patrolling that area. You walk on completely clear road all the way to Pawnee Campground. We went around the south side of the lake and finally started running into snow. Snow was hardpacked from everyone else doing this. I think the slush/softpack was starting to calm down/solidify as we started hiking. Anyway, we got all the way to Mitchell Lake with only microspikes and gaiters and had a late evening lunch. We were pretty slow and having fun so it took us about 5 hours to go from the Winter Lot to Mitchell Lake and back. Got back at dark about 9:15.

Wed Sep 26 2018

If you don’t have much time, but want to get out and do something active, this trail is perfect.

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