Explore the most popular birding trails near Ward with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

No dogs

One of the most beautiful hikes I’ve been on! Must do!!

I did this 13er with my wife when we were visiting from KY. It is very manageable, and has some great views.

This was our first every high altitude hike and we loved it. We started around 9ish and took 3 hours to get all the way up. Weather was pretty crazy today with winds at 20 mph but the gusts felt to be even higher once we hit the plateau before the finial ascent to the summit. Once you make it to the finial bolder field to the summit the trail was hard to find and we ended up scrambling to find our way. All in all great hike and we are so glad we did it. Total time was 5.5 hours.

Fall colors galore! Not many aspens to speak of, but the ground shrubs are all colors of yellow, orange, and red. Excellent, well-maintained trail. We arrived at 8:15am on a Tuesday morning and there were only about 10 cars in the lot. When we finished at 12:15, cars were circling looking for spaces. We heard from some others they spotted a young moose at the trailhead, but we didn't get to see him. Too windy for us to head up to Little Blue Lake, but we did see some brave souls heading further up.

We didn't have the $11 cash to enter the park so we parked at the Lake Brainard trailhead. Hiked Waldrup Trail to Lake Brainard cut off trail to Lake Brainard. It was absolutely gorgeous but heavily populated with loud mouthed hikers. We then hiked to Mitchell Lake, hoping to see moose, no luck. We made our way up to Blue Lake. The trail was slightly difficult in areas, heavily trafficked, but beautiful. The last stretch up to Blue Lake is pretty rocky with many tourists and hikers who don't care about hiking etiquette. Blue Lake is pristine and ice cold. Worth every blister on my feet. I recorded 14.5 miles round trip.

Great hike - many rocks to traverse over. Parked in the Brainard Lake parking area (past the pay area) but not the lot next to the trailhead. Total mileage on here is misleading; from where I parked to Blue Lake, it’s actually closer to 8 miles out and back.

the first half of the trail is a really Rocky Jeep Road. Fairly hard on the knees and ankles. The second half is in the woods send on a much softer trail. The Coney Lake is beautiful and the surrounding mountains are classic Rocky Mountains. The few hikers make this a perfect lake for a picnic and some quality time in the mountains.

1 month ago

There are some reviews that are a bit misleading here, so I want to clarify: The Brainard Lake Recreational area is *extremely* popular and is a toll and permit camping area. DO NOT TRY TO SHOW UP AFTER 8AM AND EXPECT A PARKING SPOT. The upper lot fills by 8AM nearly the entire season it is open.

The hike for Mt Toll largely consists of the hikes for Blue and Little Blue lakes - both incredibly beautiful, but also highly trafficked. The Mt Toll 'trail' continues past both - and it becomes a talus and boulder field with some class 2 scrambling to gain the ridgeline and summit. This section is very lonely, and moderately technical - but very worth the additional distance for its isolation, prominence, and 360 views. You should be comfortable trail-finding and hiking off-trail for this section as realistically there isn't more than a loose 'route'. The map here even reflects this, suggesting two different paths to ascend and descend. I would recommend coming and going from the route that travels to the north closer to Little Blue lake rather than trying to bushwhack between the two lakes lower. Do your best to hike on durable surfaces to practice LNT.

Even cloudy, great views!

Manageable 13er with motivating views as early as a mile in. Flowing switchbacks keep this hike in the moderate/moderate+ category until around mile 3, the only truly difficult section is the last half mile push to the summit. A “good to know” is, you are VERY exposed for slightly more than half of the trek up to the summit, so that’s when/if the wind will pick up (or sun on a mild/hot day). I did not have any wind at the summit but be aware temps can drop on you. The whole Brainard Lake Rec Area is amazing, this 13er certainly fits the mold!

Great hike for our dog. Like everyone says there are a lot of dogs on this hike. Highlight of the hike is seeing five moose around mile two.

As others note, arrive early especially on weekends. Pleasant, easier hike with several lakes and great opportunities to see moose along the way. We saw 4 moose near Brainard Lake, two of which were sparring and were showing the wounds on their antlers. I would do this again in a heartbeat!

We got there around 7:30am and had to park in the lower lot which added at least another 2 miles to the hike. Very rocky on the trail and lots and lots of people and dogs. It was very windy at blue lake so take layers. Saw two bull moose.

The perfect hike! Get there early, they enforce parking lot capacity; we got there at 11 and had to wait 40 mins to get in.

Awesome hike from brainard lake! Did not notice any mosquitos.


Don't really know about the trail as we followed the getting there link. They say go to lost lake trail head. This does not exist in the area. I am told this trail head is far away. Find beaver creek trail head.

1 month ago

8/26/18 - Incredible trek. Trail is pretty well marked for about 3 miles. Last mile is rock scramble up. I don’t no where to begin, or how to described this amazing hike. Words cannot describe it. My fav trek to date. Wind is strong and chilly be prepared.

Start early. Very windy st the top

The photo used in this post is of Upper Coney Lake which this trail does not visit.

2 months ago

Left the TH @ 7am and was able to summit at about 8:50. Incredibly windy, foggy and chilly at the summit for mid August but that made it a gorgeous hike in its own sense. Brought my pup, he did well for the last .5-1mi being mostly class 2 scrambling on boulders.

8/18/18 hiked today (Saturday) - arrived at the parking lot around 8:20 and there was plenty of parking available (maybe because it was a little cloudy). Hike was lovely, really windy near the top approaching blue lake, but some incredible views of the mountains and lots of streams and ponds along the way. Saw people fishing in Mitchell lake, lots of hikers with dogs and kids, and a few trail runners. Overall great hike!!

Did Audubon today with the 6 kids ages 7 to 16. everyone loved it. That final push is tough but worth it. The views are outstanding. The marmots are entertaining. Views down to upper Coney lake are mind blowing and that drop is humbling.

Beautiful trail. The hike to Coney Lake was pleasant and never too steep, saw a mama and baby moose near the 4WD trailhead. Lots of used toilet paper at the trailhead too, so please try to be a decent human if you're going to visit these places and PACK IT OUT.
One thing to note. Getting to upper Coney Lake was a nightmare because I followed internet advice which told me to try to follow the inlet stream. Do not do this. The willows are terrible. If you want to go to upper Coney Lake (and you should - it's beautiful!) stick to the talus on your left and you can rock hop all the way there and back without too much willow bashing.

This was a great hike, but difficult due to length. If your car can get up the road it will cut the hike in half. It was awesome being up on top of sawtooth mountain- a mountain that you can clearly see if you are traveling 36 westbound into Boulder. It was a gradual incline that got more difficult as you head up Buchanan pass. Great views of all the mountains, you feel like you are right in the middle! Definitely recommend!

7/8/18 7:30am and the parking lot was getting full. The drive was nice and was winding, littered with bicyclists. There was a bike race from 7-10am. $11 entrance fee. Lake Isabelle was our intended hike but due to a death the day before it was closed off. So, Blue Lake it was! 6mi round trip hike. 1mi to Mitchell Lake and 2mi to Blue Lake. The trail was easy to navigate. There were tons of people at Blue Lake hanging out and sunbathing. We encountered several groups on the way up and even more on our way back. There were also a bunch of dogs on the hike. Everyone was great and had them on leash. We ran into 2 park rangers, one of which thanked us for keeping our dogs on leash. The views throughout the hike were spectacular! Wild flowers were abundant and hearing the sound of water nearby was relaxing. All in all, this was a beautiful hike. I would recommend bug spray (tons of mosquitos), sunscreen (obvi), water, and snacks. Please be sure to pack in and pack out.

Loved the hike. There were plenty of parking spaces at 7AM on a Friday and no significant mosquitoes despite previous reports. Saw a moose and her calf which made the hike worthwhile by itself.

8.9.18 - I love Indian Peaks Wilderness. Glad I got this one conquered as I tried last year in June and got snowed out. Lovely hike and relatively easy. Saw two moose. Would do this again!.

2 months ago

It was an amazing hike and had some AMAZING views. We hiked it and it was rainy and FREEZING. So I recommend warm clothes, gloves, hats, and rain gear because it was unpredictable. It took us 6.5 hours round trip with 2 people from Colorado and 3 people from Ohio (all of our first 13ner). Definitely not an easy hike especially with the rocks at the top but it’s totally do able if you are inexperienced. The wind at the summit was unimaginable. We had to stay hunkered down because standing was almost impossible. Trekking polls were a good option to have too! Overall it was an amazing hike and I would do it again!

2 months ago

Great Hike! Windy & Cold at the top!!

2 months ago

Amazing hike! Beautiful views that inspire awe (no joke). Two tips: arrive early and budget time for the descent.

2 months ago

One of my all-time favorite hikes. Mostly above tree line means incredible views for most of the hike, but especially at the top. You can see into Rocky Mountain NP, Longs Peak, and extensive views of the Indian Peaks. Normally pretty windy at the summit, but there are plenty of wind shelters. An incredible summit to hang out on in good weather. Plan to arrive early (6:30) if you want to park at the trailhead.

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