Explore the most popular views 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.

Mitchell and Blue lakes are gorgeous and the section of the trail extending that area is moderate and well maintained. This review isn’t regarding that section of the trail. Above Blue Lake the trail is almost immediately lost in a boulder field. The rocks are unstable and the picking through is very slow going. As far as I could tell the rocky terrain continues the rest of the way up Toll, but I had to turn around due to a previous wrist injury I was overusing among the boulders. Very few cairns were the only signs of use in the area.

Started at the trailhead at 3:30am. Absolutely incredibly place to watch the sunrise. We made it to the peak by 5:50. It was so perfect. I was surprised by the complete lack of wind above the tree line when we hiked. like others have mentioned the last portion of the hike is a pretty steep scramble but was definitely worth it. We decided to go down the southeast face to drop in on Little Blue lake and turn the hike into a loop. That was a pretty sketchy and steep descent and something I'll probably only do once. The whole hike was so overwhelmingly incredible and one I'll remember forever.

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!

on Mount Audubon Trail

12 days ago

This is a breathtaking hike, most of which, as others note, is above the tree line, so there are amazing views most of the way. Though I love vigorous hikes, I get vertigo when there's a steep drop off, and this one had none. Above the tree line it was wide with shubbery and wildflowers. As other have noted, the rock scramble at the very top is not fun, but the view that rewards you is worth it!

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.

15 days ago

Brainard lake and Indian Peaks is a beautiful area. Yes, hike is mostly above treeline but enjoyed expansive views and lots of wildflowers. Steady climb, last 0.5mile is the hardest with steepest grade & rock scramble. Large summit area to find a spot and enjoy the views on your own.

17 days ago

Beautiful hike! Honestly I thought it was relatively easy for a mountain its size. There is minimal snow so you don’t need anything for that. Now that they’ve open the road back up, for where we had to park the round-trip length was 10 miles and not 7 1/2. Great views of longs Peak & surrounding peaks and lots of marmots. Wind was surprisingly vicious though so bring a wind breaker!

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!

Good trail. Brought my six year old boy on this and he pushed through to the top. Was definitely a challenge for him.. Views were amazing, trail was pretty easy until the top, which required a bit of scrambling to reach summit. Awesome views of Long’s Peak as well.

Great trail with plenty of streams for the dogs to hydrate. Started at the Camp Dick trailhead, then took Sourdough up to Beaver Reservoir, so total mileage was closer to 16mi. The last half mile up and over Buchanan Pass is up a steep grade, but the view to the west is worth every step. It also makes the trek up Sawtooth Mt easy by comparison.

1 month ago

Hello, revisiting this hike in one week (late June). QUESTION: IS THERE STILL SNOW AT THE TOP AND HOW DEEP?

It’s a great trail, however the road to access the trail is closed for construction.

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

1 month ago

Go early Weather can surprise you in the afternoon. Hailed on us around 2. Last part is just rocks and no real trail markings View is good

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.

Nice trail, was completely snowpacked today from the skiers (despite Denver being close to 80 degrees). We made it about 2.5 miles in before we had a dog meltdown due to snowballs in the toe fur. But it is definitely a trail we will return to in the warmer months.

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.

4 months ago


June 4th, heavy snow. Made it to Long lake not to Isabella, still beautiful.

7 months ago

Did this in 9/2016. 3rd ever hike and it was brutal above tree line. Little bit of snow, sleet and rain....and lots of wind. Last 3/4 mile up visibility was terrible. Fellow hiker caught up to me and we booked it to the top. No views whatsoever! Would've turned around if I continued by myself as the weather was getting rough. Started this hike at 7:30 AM. Wear light but very warm and wind resistant clothing if doing this late Sept! Stayed in the small town of Nederland after, awesome place!

I’ve lived/worked in the Brainard Lake Recreation Area for the last 4 years. Two-thirds of this trail is above the tree line. An early start is strongly recommended...no later than 9:00 am. The fee was raised in 2017 to $11.00.

beautiful views. saw an awesome bird! people falling all over the ice and snow... bring yak trax!

Great trail! Hiked this yesterday (9/23/2017) and left the trailhead at about 7:30am I believe. Completed 85% of it and had to turn around due to snow at the top.

10 months ago

14ers view without the crowd. Super windy and cold at the top. 70% of the trail is above treeline so keep an eye on the weather. Well marked trail except for the last 1/4 of it is a rock scramble but plenty of cairns to guide you.

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