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Brainard Lake Snowshoe Trail

Intermediate
 4.6 (21) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A pleasant snowshoe through dense forest to a great view of the continental divide.


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Map Key

4.8

Miles

7.8

KM

Out and Back

10,352' 3,155 m

High

10,073' 3,070 m

Low

468' 143 m

Up

467' 142 m

Down

4%

Avg Grade (2°)

25%

Max Grade (14°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Lake · Views

This trail is for winter use only when snow covered.

Overview

This is a dedicated snowshoe trail open in the winter only. The views at the end of the trail (at Brainard Lake) might be amazing, or might look like the inside of a cloud. Either way, the hike through the woods to get there is quite nice.

Need to Know

This entire area is often howling with wind, but almost the entire trail is well protected by trees and very pleasant even in quite bad weather. At the end, when you hit Brainard Lake, you might get blown away by the gusts of wind, and even when it's totally clear in Boulder, the weather up here can limit visibility to almost nothing.

Description

From the winter parking area (no fee required in winter), cross the road and look for the well-marked beginning of the trail on the south side of the road. You'll cross a few other trails, but this is well-signed—just keep an eye out for the blue snowshoe blazes high up on the tree trunks. You'll pass two small lakes, which will most likely be frozen solid, continue on, and eventually cross the road back to the woods on the north side of it.

You'll then soon pop out at a campground, which presents the only trail-finding difficulties. Hug the left (south) edge of the campground and you'll soon find the trail again as it heads to Brainard Lake. If you can't find it, just follow the road this short bit to the lake.

From the lake, you are looking up at the Continental Divide, which hosts some great hikes in the summer, and some popular backcountry ski lines in the winter.

After enjoying the views (or the wind and clouds), head back the way you came.

Contacts

Shared By:

Nick Wilder

Trail Ratings

  4.6 from 21 votes

#418

Overall
  4.6 from 21 votes
5 Star
67%
4 Star
29%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
5%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#86

in Colorado

#418

Overall
14 Views Last Month
16,210 Since Feb 8, 2018
Intermediate

24%
5%
62%
0%
5%
5%

Photos

February snowshoe to Brainard Lake
Feb 8, 2018 near Nederland, CO
Snowshoeing to Brainard Lake
Feb 8, 2018 near Nederland, CO

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Weather


Current Trail Conditions

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Check-Ins

May 23, 2022
Elizabeth Johnson
Snowshoed to Brainard lake. Lots of fresh heavy snow. The two small lakes come early and it's is harder to follow after the campground. 4.8mi
May 22, 2022
Ari R.
Nov 17, 2021
Thomas Horn
pretty. much wind at lake 4.8mi
Mar 24, 2021
Atsuko Ohtake
Feb 20, 2021
Mitchell Zank
Jan 18, 2021
Rachel Pierstorff
5mi
Jan 16, 2021
Jody Rae
Jul 19, 2020
Emily Hennes