Trailhead: Long Lake Trailhead (near Brainard Lake)
Activities: Hiking, Backpacking, Camping, Snowshoeing, Fishing Map
Closest City / Town: Ward, Colorado
Hiking Distances: (all distances are one way)
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. Avoid the Jean Lunning Trail and continue uphill to Lake Isabelle.
After approximately 1 more mile, the trail intersects the Jean Lunning Trail for the second time. Again, continue strait towards Lake Isabelle and Pawnee Pass, bypassing the Jean Lunning Trail. Lake Isabelle is just another .9 miles beyond this trail junction.
Worth Noting: This is the perfect snowshoeing trail!!! It offers solitude (vehicle access to the trailhead is closed off during the winter; this means you have to travel an extra 3-4 miles to get to the Lake), incredible views, and an abundance of wildlife.
If you are traveling to Lake Isabelle in the snowy months, it is necessary to have decent orientation skills. Not many individuals travel to the lake in the winter, and many times you will find yourself breaking trail from Brainard Lake on.