Lake Isabelle Trailhead: Long Lake Trailhead (near Brainard Lake) Activities: Hiking, Backpacking, Camping, Snowshoeing, Fishing Closest City / Town: Ward, Colorado Driving Directions: The Long Lake Trailhead is within the Brainard Lake Recreation Area, off Highway 72, 13 miles north of Nederland, and just north of Ward. Turn west onto Brainard Lake Road (County Road 102, National Forest System Road 112). (Note: This road is closed at the halfway point to Brainard Lake from late October through late June/early July). Travel approximately 5 miles on the paved road to Brainard Lake. The Long Lake Trailhead is .5 miles up the left fork of a side road that turns off at the west end of Brainard Lake. Hiking Distances: (all distances are one way) Long Lake: .2 miles Lake Isabelle: 2.1 miles Description: The Brainard Lake area is a busy little bee during the warm season, as is much of the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area. However, it’s incredibly beautiful. Heading out from the Long Lake Trailhead, the trail begins its relatively gentle ascent up to Long Lake and Lake Isabelle. After a quarter-mile of trekking, the trail intersects the Jean Lunning Trail, which will take you over to and around Long Lake. […]
Trailhead: End of the Road (see directions below; please note that this is only a viable trip option during the winter) Activities: Snowshoeing, Skiing Closest City / Town: Nederland, Colorado Driving Directions: From the Peak-to-Peak Highway (Highway 119/72), turn west on County Road 130, located just south of Nederland town center, and follow signs for Eldora and Eldora Ski Resort. At the fork in the road, keep right, through the town of Eldora. You will eventually dead end into a snow embankment; this is the trailhead. (During the summer and early fall, you can continue beyond the embankment to the Hessie Trailhead & Fourth of July Trailhead) Hiking Distance: Approximately 10 miles (roundtrip). Description: This is the perfect adventure for folks looking for a gentle snowshoeing or cross country ski trip. You will be on established roads the entire time. Nonetheless, the excursion offers a decent backcountry experience — especially on the weekdays when few people are cruising through the area. The hike kicks-off by following the Fourth of July Road for just under one mile until reaching a fork. If you decide to head left, you will end up at the Hessie Trailhead. Instead, take a right towards the Fourth […]
We’re excited to announce a new partnership between The Colorado Hiker and Nomad Colorado. Over the upcoming months, all of the content on this website will be transferred to Nomad Colorado. The content of this page has already been transferred and can be found on the Brainard Lake Trails page on Nomad Colorado. Happy trails!
Trailhead: Orient Mine (north end of the RV camping loop) Activities: Hiking, Camping, Swimming Closest City / Town: Villa Grove, CO (northern San Luis Valley) Driving Directions: From Denver or Boulder ~ From I-25, Hwy 85, or C-470, take Hwy 285 south (towards Fairplay). Stay on 285 south (with a left turn at Johnson Village) all the way over Poncha Pass to County Road GG (about 4 miles south of Villa Grove). Watch for signs that say “Hwy 17 – Alamosa – Great Sand Dunes”. Turn left there and immediately stay to the left which will put you on County Road GG. (Do not take the right fork onto Hwy 17). Stay on County Road GG for 7 miles until you reach the Orient Land Trust entrance. From Colorado Springs ~ Take Hwy 115 south towards Canon City, then Hwy 50 west through Salida, turn left onto Hwy 285 south at Poncha Springs, stay on 285 over Poncha Pass to County Road GG (about 4 miles south of Villa Grove). Watch for signs that say “Hwy 17 – Alamosa – Great Sand Dunes”. Turn left there and immediately stay to the left which will put you on County Road GG. (Do […]
Trailhead: Summit of Berthoud Pass (Parking Lot at the top) Activities: Hiking, Skiing, Snowshoeing Closest City / Town: Empire or Winter Park, Colorado Driving Directions: From I-70, head west beyond Idaho Springs. Get off on Highway 40; head north towards Empire/Winter Park. Take Hwy 40 to the summit of Berthoud Pass and park in the summit parking lot. Hiking Distances: 3.0 miles (roundtrip) – but you can go further in the summer. Description: The Berthoud Pass Ditch trail/road is not really a designated trail, but it is a well used route on the Pass for hikers, cross-country skiers and snowshoers. This is a great trail if you are looking for something easy that can be accomplished in just a couple of hours, it’s close to Denver, and has amazing views. The “trail” starts at US 40, just north of the Berthoud Pass warming hut and parking lot. It is not marked, since it is not really a trail, but rather an access road for the Berthoud Pass Ditch and a USGS Snotel site. It does have a green gate that is visible after the snow melts, but that is the only indication of the road and trail. Individuals that wish to hike the […]