Explore the most popular forest 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.

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!!

paradise on earth

Amazing hike!! The trailhead was full (on a Wednesday, but we got a late start and didn’t get there til about 10am), so we started from the west side of Brainer Lake, went all the way up to the glacier and my GPS clocked us at 11.2 miles round trip. Pretty mellow, easy and well-maintained trail until you get up around Lake Isabelle, then you’re dealing with a lot of boulder fields, loose rock and it gets pretty steep. Well worth it though! The view from the glacier is fantastic and makes it all worthwhile. The terrain varies a lot from deep in the woods to exposed boulder fields, above treeline, with lakes, rivers, waterfalls and even some snow at the glacier. Colorado is magical and I love my home :)

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!.

The trail itself is great, definitely worth trekking it for the views at Isabelle Lake. Long Lake is beautiful too. The only downside is that parking is terrible, got there around 11am and it was full so I had to park about a mile down the road and hike up to the trailhead. Views were incredible though so it wasn’t too terrible. Don’t forget it’s $11 to enter, they only take cash or check. Highly recommend overall!

The hike is well worth the view at Isabelle Lake and all the way up to the glacier if you can make it. We arrived at the trail head at 7am on a Tuesday and there was plenty of parking. Much less ice/snow than when we did the hike a few years ago but still fun to end up on the glacier. We were hiking with 3 kids (ages 9-14) and took a few breaks on the way - took us 5 hours round trip.

The Mrs. and I hiked this trail last week and it was stunning. The wildflowers were out in force and the trail was in great shape. We arrived a little before 6a.m. and had no problem parking on Friday morning. Mostly had the trail to ourselves until the return trip where it was getting a lot of foot traffic. We’re planning for a backcountry hike in a few weeks and had loaded packs on. The hike was moderate - mostly flat with a few elevation increases. Got a little sketchy about 3.5 miles in with trying to follow the path but nothing major. One of the best hikes we’ve been on in the area. Highly recommended!

The wildflowers are still in bloom, and the hike to Isabelle Glacier was one beautiful view after another. If you are able to, arrive early to experience some peace. Lots of traffic on the trail coming back at 10:00 am.

Absolutely stunning trail! The views continually get better as you go. The trail was wet above Lake Isabelle so we were constantly hopping rock to rock to avoid water and mud.....definitely wear waterproof shoes. Highly recommend!

Easy trail that with beautiful views of Long Lake, Lake Isabelle, streams, and wildflowers. Pretty trafficked. Dogs must be kept on leash for this one.

So beautiful. Parking situation is tough but the trails are breathtaking and there’s chance to see some cool wildlife.

I've been hiking this trail for over 30 years and was really sad to see how abused it has gotten in the last few years. It's a highly-used area and absolutely gorgeous. Therefore, we need to respect and PROTECT the land. Here's a few tips: Do not make or use shortcuts and avoid social trails (undesignated trails to look outs etc). If you just can't help yourself, please don't make these worse by not staying right on the dirt. If there is a log/fallen tree across a social trail, pls don't just step over it - this is the caretakers way of saying "pls don't go here." Similarly, uphill hikers have the right of way --So pls. STOP and step to the side of a wider part of the trail to let them pass. Pls. don't keep hiking and stepping on the side vegetation to give them room. This is a perfect opportunity to look up & appreciate this special place & only takes a few seconds. And GET MUDDY and keep on the harder/rocky parts of the trail. This trail used to be narrow and is now becoming alarmingly wide & even two lane in some areas. Follow the cairns (rock piles) near the top where there are boulders and be very mindful of staying on the designated trail rather than all the off-shoots (giving them a chance to recover) Especially above tree line/tundra please please please STAY ON THE TRAIL - tundra is incredibly fragile & takes hundreds of years to recover from abuse. Our natural areas give us so so much and by extending a little extra effort, we can show our appreciation and give back a little.

The elevations climbs were easy. A few low areas were pretty wet. If you’re expecting scenic Rocky Mountain you-can-see forever views, you aren’t getting them on this trail. It traverses through a wooded area to the lake. Positives - toilets at the trailhead and at the lake and a beautiful hike.

It is a moderate hike to an amazing lake. Completely worth the time spent there. I have a few tips though. Go early so because the line to get into the park is super long and all the parking spots fill up really fast. If all the spots are taken then they don’t allow any more cars in and you have to wait for people to leave. Secondly, take bug spray because the mosquitos and flies will devour you. I have never been swarmed by so many in my life. Thirdly, if you want to jump in the water, bring a change of clothes and a towel/blanket because it is absolutely freezing. You may think you are strong enough to handle the cold but you are completely mistaken. Overall, this has been the best hike that I have ever done since being in Colorado. The sights, wild flowers, and animals were the coolest. We even got to see moose while we were there. 11/10 would recommend.

Beautiful and surprisingly deep Alpine lake, I've never seen a deeper one yet. Awesome walk up to the lake, saw a moose on the upper mess but couldn't get close enough to take a good picture. Bugs, bugs, bugs....and wildflower heaven. there's an awesome waterfall on the west side coming from little Blue lake. Go early to beat the crowd, my wife and I had the lakes and trail to ourselves but we started at 6:00 am.

Moderate hike! Lots of rocky areas along the trail. The lake is very blue and worth waiting around to park.

Did this hike yesterday. Was planning on Lake Isabelle but was closed due to a recovery operation. Had to park at the Brainard Lake Trailhead to start our ascent to Blue Lake. The scenery was gorgeous with rushing streams, wildflowers, a bit of snow and of course the lakes and their views.

There were some steep parts and some narrow areas but all in all this hike was moderate and enjoyable. I’ve posted some pics to enjoy!

Parking lots near the trailhead were full by 5:30 so it added an extra mile to and from the trailhead. Saw a moose and several dear. $11 entrance fee.

The trail itself isn’t challenging until you pass Lake Isabelle at the very end. There is a bit of steep climbing up to the glacier. Some spots of the trail still have snow and are a little wet. The trail is also a little overgrown in some places but nothing terrible. Bugs are bad around the lake so bring bug spray.

Hike was pretty but the last lake / glacier at the end were the best part. Not my favorite hike but glad I did it.

Beautiful hiking conditions on the 4th of July.

The only thing that hasn’t been mentioned recently is you must have $11 cash for parking fees. We got there just before 7AM and the lots were filling up. By the time we left there were people parked outside the park.

Road is open.

Loved this hike, its our favorite, and quite arguably the most beautiful hike in Colorado, in our opinion. Get there early to get parking at Long Lake trail head though or you will ha e to add 2 miles RT from Brainard Lake. We arrived at 6:45 and the lot was full by 6:48. We started by taking the Jean Lunning Traill around Long Lake to enjoy the lush greenery, multiple bridges with streams and tons of wild flowers. It was 3.3 miles to almost the end of Isabelle Lake with only a couple strenuous spots. This trail is very easy for people that aren't used the the elevation and perfect for visitors. We used this as a bit of conditioning for a backpacking trip. The weather was clear and the air crisp. An easy hike for kids. I took my twin 15 year olds and 12 year old boy and it was fairly easy for them. Highly recommended!

Brainard lake road is currently closed. It appears to be the only way up there. Check before heading up for the hike. Very disappointing

Drove up there and the road was closed to get there. Asked the construction worker when it would be open and he said the road will be open at the start of July, give or take. Drove to Nederland and did the Lost lake hike instead.

Road is closed. No access

I went to this hiking spot and chose the one with the most elevation gain ( that’s not currently closed) it’s a great trail.

Road is closed from highway 5/17/18

This trail was gorgeous, the hike starts at Brainard lake parking lot because the road is closed. it's 3.3 miles from the Parking lot to the trail head during the winter, so start by 0800. Most of the trail during winter is covered and bring snowshoes because you will have to hike next to the lake and up the creek in order to get to Lake Isabelle because you can't follow the trail that is listed. when you get to Lake Isabelle there are a few ways to get to it. There is a massive slope to climb or turn right at the base of the slope and there is a longer yet easier way up that puts you at the trail markers at the top.

5 months ago


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