Jennifer Broome takes us hiking at Lake Isabelle.
This time of year is perfect for day hiking. The Indian Peak Wilderness Area is a great area to check out if you are looking for trails that are not super crowded and have incredible scenery.
From the Niwot Trail Cutoff and Long Lake Trailhead in the Brainard Lake Recreation Area, it is 3 miles to Lake Isabelle. The first quarter of a mile to Long Lake can be busy. On the way up, take the Jean Lunning Trail around Long Lake for some incredible views of the surround 12,000 and 13,000 peaks. The crowds quickly thin out as you continue on the Pawnee Pass Trail to Lake Isabelle. If you want more distance, continue on to Isabelle Glacier or Pawnee Pass.
This time of the year the weather changes quickly. Be prepared for rain, wind, and even a little hail or snow. Take along gloves, lightweight winter coat, and rain gear, especially if you are hiking beyond Lake Isabelle.
Ward and Nederland are the closest towns to the Brainard Lake Recreation Area. It is also a very popular area for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the winter. To get to the recreation area, from Colorado highway 72 at Ward, turn west on to Brainard Lake Road. It’s 2.5 miles to the entrance portal.