Location: Nederland, CO
Distance from Denver: ~55mi (1.5 hrs) ♡ ♡ ♡
Hike: ~4mi RT ♡ ♡ ♡
Difficulty: Easy ♡ ♡ ♡
Parking Situation: Medium-sized lot ♡ ♡ ♡
Parking Fee: There is a fee to enter the Lake Brainard Recreation Area. If you have a National Parks Pass, you can use it here to get in!
This was a hike we did a few Saturdays ago when we had family visiting. The day started out bright and 90 in the city, but quickly became overcast and 40 as we pulled into the Lake Isabelle parking lot. Despite the inclement weather, this is a great trail to bring out-of-towners because of how little elevation gain there is, but still for how stunning the area is!
The trail starts out in the woods, walking alongside the path for Long Lake. There are a lot of fly fishermen here, and if you so wanted you could definitely just stop here because of how gorgeous it is!
This trail is super popular, but we got to the trailhead around 10am and had little trouble finding parking. There are a ton of dogs along here, as well as people, so if you are looking for seclusion, we recommend looking at alternatives listed in our hike section!
The vast majority of the hike is through the woods, including up switchbacks in the last half a mile of the hike. It was a little treacherous in the rain because the path gets really muddy and slide-y while the super mini rock scramble becomes wet and slippery. We hardly spent time at Lake Isabelle because it started to hail so we turned around real quick!
This is a hike we absolutely will return to because of three main reasons: (1) no good picture at Lake Isabelle (eek!), (2) how easy it was, and (3) to not rush through the hike in the rain :)
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