Head through the forest just below treeline in the Brainard Lake region of the Indian Peaks Wilderness. Take your time to enjoy this great pine forest. The closeness of the trees will keep you out of the wind and in a lush shadowed area.
There are several areas with tough footing, otherwise, great hiking.
From the parking area at the Brainard Lake gate, follow the North Sourdough (#835)
trail for approximately 1.8 miles. The trail starts to the left of the bathrooms and is signed as such. The first intersection is a short distance down the trail, take a right. Pay close attention to the next two intersections you pass, you'll need to know them for later!
At 1.8 miles, take a left at the intersection of the North Sourdough (#835)
and Wapiti Trail
to start this loop clockwise (the reverse is fun, too). Follow the Wapiti Trail (#816)
to Baptiste Trail (#815)
, another 2.2 miles until the signage for Wapiti/Baptiste.
Staying to the right (back onto North Sourdough (#835)
, follow the trail another 1.2 miles until you reach the intersection where the loop began. Continue on North Sourdough (#835)
south for .4 miles to the South Saint Vrain Trail (#909)
Keep right onto South Saint Vrain Trail (#909)
and follow for approx. 2 miles. After that, you'll come to another intersection where you'll need to keep left, and take the Waldrop Trail (#814)
and head back to the first intersection. A final right-hand turn will lead you back to the trailhead.
Lodgepole pine forests will dominate. There are possible moose sightings at the lake at the end of the hike.