Brainard Lake Recreation Area

· Peak to Peak

Brainard Lake Recreation Area

Aliases: Red Rock Lake, Mitchell Lake Trailhead, Long Lake Trailhead, Lake Isabelle, Blue Lake

The Brainard Lake recreation area is composed of a number of trailheads and a campground in high-elevation spruce-fir forest and is a good place to look for Gray Jays, American Three-toed Woodpeckers, and Dusky Grouse. In the winter months, the Brainard Lake road is closed near the highway, and one must walk (or better yet, snowshoe or ski) to reach the lake. Boreal Owls have occasionally been reported at night. Those who are prepared for a serious hike can tackle the trail to Mount Audubon located inside the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area, where Brown-capped Rosy-finches and White-tailed Ptarmigan await the intrepid (and lucky). Moose increasingly call Brainard home, and hunting is to be expected in this area in season. Beware of afternoon thunderstorms and bring a detailed map. Be advised, this area is very crowded on weekends, and parking is a challenge; you may want to arrive early or plan on an early evening visit. There is also an entrance fee to the area in summer – cash or check only.

County: Boulder

Directions: From Boulder: go west on CO 119/Canyon Blvd to the town of Nederland. At the traffic circle, take the second right onto CO 72/Peak-to-Peak Hwy. In 11.5 miles, just north of the town of Ward, go west onto the Brainard Lake Rd to the entrance station.

Dates of Access: Open all year, walk in access only from mid-October to June
Hours: Daylight hours
Ownership: USFS
Admission: CASH OR CHECK ONLY fees apply during the summer operating season (typically mid-June through mid-October)

Restrictions: Please obey all rules and regulations

Parking: Paved parking area
Lodging: Campground and backcountry camping by permit only

Handicapped: Yes
Handicapped Access: ADA accessible facilities and some trails in the summer, no access in the winter

Latitude: 40.0809230092
Longitude: -105.53526438300

» Visit the website for Brainard Lake Recreation Area


Drinking FountainYes
Gravel TrailsYes
Paved TrailsNo
Visitor CenterNo
Gift ShopNo

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