COLORADO – ROOSEVELT NATIONAL FOREST – Brainard Lake Recreation Area
Photo Experience: Even though it was quite breezy and chilly (temperatures in the 40s Fahrenheit), my first experience in this area was quite interesting and worthwhile, even if the photo opportunities were not the best. My perception of the optimal time to visit would be around mid-September during the week, on a clear, calm morning. Other than being there on a weekday, I was not able to check any of the other “optimal time boxes” when I was there. Nevertheless, I created an entry of this area because of the exceptional possibilities in the Brainard Lake Recreation Area and the adjacent Indian Peaks Wilderness Area. Brainard Lake and Long Lake (both of which I visited) have spectacular backdrops of 12- and 13,000-foot mountain peaks. I would like to have explored other parts of this scenic spot, including Mitchell Lakes, but a snowstorm that began while hiking around Long Lake cut my visit short.
Other Info: The road into Brainard Lake is located just north of Ward CO on CO 72. Turn west and drive approximately 2.5 miles to the entrance station. An admission fee, or appropriate federal pass, is required for entrance. Pit toilets are available at the Niwot Picnic Area, the Long Lake Trailhead, and the Mitchell Lakes Trailhead.