Staunton SP

Staunton SP

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Lake Isabelle

Lake Isabelle and the Jean Lunning Trail - Off-Season
Indian Peaks Wilderness Area, Roosevelt National Forest

October 2, 2013

Brainard Lake Road Parking to Long Lake Trailhead 6.3 miles (Round Trip)
Long Lake Trailhead to Lake Isabelle 4.89 miles (Round Trip)  
Elevation Gain - 883 ft

U.S. Forest Service - Brainard Lake Recreation Area Information
U.S. Forest Service Winter Map
Map to Lake Isabelle and Jean Lunning Trail

From mid-June to September, the hike to Lake Isabelle provides relatively easy access to a beautiful alpine lake in the heart of the Indian Peaks Wilderness.  Just drive, or take the shuttle, to Brainard Lake and the Long Lake Trailhead.  From there it is roughly 4 miles roundtrip with an option to explore Long Lake via the Jean Lunning Trail adding a little less than a mile to the trek.  

Off-season however, the trip along Brainard Lake road can be an adventure in itself.  I hiked to Lake Isabelle this past fall when the Brainard Lake Road gates were closed but there was no snow on the road.  It is roughly 2 miles to Brainard Lake and another mile to the Long Lake Trailhead making the trip to Lake Isabelle a much longer endeavor...but still absolutely worth it.

On this trip, I decided to hike the winter snowshoe trail, which in the winter is wonderful. Tip - do not take this trail if it is not covered in snow.  The trail is not maintained and if wet, becomes a trudge through a muddy creek.  Save your strength and walk the road to Brainard Lake.  That being said, make sure to stop at Red Rocks Lake along the way.

Red Rocks Lake

Brainard Lake Road

Brainard Lake

Brainard Lake

Long Lake along the Jean Lunning Trail

Lake Isabelle

Looking back at Brainard Lake

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