Brainard Lake ~ Lake Isabelle

Tour Number

Activity Level



Adventure / Active, Day Trip / Out of Town, Hiking and Walking, Nature and Wildlife


Kid Friendly: No. This is not a hike recommended for small children who wander. This is an extremely active hike that requires at least adequate fitness levels and ability to follow instruction for the safety of all. Pets are allowed on the trail but are not recommended, especially those that are not well behaved among other animals as this can create a dangerous situation around moose who view dogs as their predators - the wolf!

Friendly: No.
This is not a handicapped accessible hiking trail.

Maximum travelers: 3



English (fluent)

Full Day - Active Hike

**Please note, this tour is available from June - September ONLY due to park closure in the winter months.

Come with me on an adventure hike to Lake Isabelle via Brainard Lake Recreation Area! The trail winds along side a beautiful lake and through riparian forest before climbing above the tree line to a glistening alpine lake. You'll experience wild flowers, beautiful forest and flowing cascades. If you're lucky, you may see some of the local residents including marmots, moose, deer, elk and on rare occasion, mountain lions.

We will begin early to ensure a parking spot at the Trail Head, as well as, making our descent before 11 am, per mountain safety guidelines. Lunch will be had lake side at the top of the hiking trail. This will provide you with a view of Lake Isabelle back-dropped by the formidable Apache, Navajo, and Shoshone peaks in the distance as well as Isabelle Glacier.

If time permits, you'll stop by Long Lake on the way out for a different perspective of Isabelle Glacier!


We will meet north of Boulder at 4 am where I will provide transportation to Brainard Recreation Area. This is approximately an hour drive. Upon arrival you will likely see several moose eating breakfast among the willows. At the Trail Head we will embark on an arduous hike, up hill 1674 feet & through switchbacks for approximately 3 - 3. 5 hours. You will see incredible views, cascades, snow top mountains, glaciers and more! At the top of the hike you will see Isabelle Glacier, feeding Lake Isabelle and the Continental Divide. Round trip this hike is 8. 1 miles long and is not for those who cannot handle an uphill hike at elevation. We will lunch beside Lake Isabelle, resting, site seeing, taking advantage of incredible photo opportunities.

The return hike will take 1. 5 - 2 hours back to the Trail Head where we will drive back down to Brainard Lake, possibly seeing more moose along the way. If time permits, we can stop off for a short hike to Long Lake for a different perspective of Isabelle Glacier.

Meeting Location + Tour Duration

Meeting location: We will meet near Boulder, CO at the intersection of US 36 & Left Hand Canyon Drive. On the north side of Left Hand Canyon Drive is a pull off for parking. Or upon request traveler pick up from Denver is available for an additional fee.

End location: I will return you to your vehicle parked at the meeting location.

Duration: 9 hours

Weather can develop quickly in the mountains. We MUST be done with the summit and well on our way back down BEFORE 11 AM!! Dangerous weather develops from 11a - 2 p many days. This tour is only available from June-September.


We will travel in an appropriate vehicle for the group size.

What’s Included

Transportation from meeting spot to Trail Head. All guiding during hike and ensuring safety of all both ways. (Please remain on the trail at all times unless otherwise instructed.) Transportation back to meeting spot.

Please bring a back pack, dress in layers, bring at least one gallon of water, a lunch and snacks - energy bars, granola, gatorade are all recommended.

What’s Extra

There are no extra amenities available during this tour.


Certain tours are seasonal only due to closed mountain roads.
Pets may not be welcome as they are not allowed on trails inside many park areas.
I can accommodate up to 3 adults comfortably in my vehicle. Larger parties, please inquire.

Contact this Guide

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Tours by Rachel S.

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