Hiking Lake Isabelle, Colorado – Trail Map, Pictures, Description & More


Article Categories: Hiking
Article Tags: Camping | Colorado | Day Hikes

Lake Isabelle is a stunning Colorado subalpine lake located in the Indian Peaks Wilderness. Hikers begin at the Brainard Lake Recreation Area (directions, parking, and permit information below), where there are dozens of fantastic day hike options for all ability levels. Here, we will cover everything you need to know to hike to Lake Isabelle as well as the stunning Long Lake

Distance – 4.46 miles round trip (7.18 km)
Height – 10,919 feet (3328.11 m)
Elevation gain – 751 feet (228.91 meters)
Duration –  3-4 hours
Difficulty – Easy / Intermediate
Class: Class 2 Hike
Trailhead Location – Long Lake Trailhead (10,548 feet)


Quick Navigation:
Routes | Trail Map | Camping Info | Weather | Directions | Pictures


Need To Know Information

    • The Brainard Lake Area now operates with a permit system. Overnight and day parking is available. The ideal parking lot is the long lake trailhead, but if this is full, hikers can choose other options that will add a bit of distance to the hike along the roads or along the trails. Permits are purchased here: https://www.recreation.gov/timed-entry/10087515. If the only available parking is at the Brainard Lake Picnic Site/Trailhead, then hikers will need to add 1 mile each way, and about 200 feet of elevation gain to their hike totals.
    • Prices: 1 day car = $12
    • Timed tickets will be continually released on a 14-day rolling window. You must arrive on the entry date, at the entry time, and park in the parking lot indicated on your timed ticket.
    • Winter season has parking lot closures, which would mean hikers need to park at the Brainard Lake Area Winter Trailhead. (More information below)
    • Dogs are allowed on leash.


Hiking Route Options

There is only one common route to Lake Isabelle by leaving from the Long Lake Trailhead. Due to reservations and winter, hikers may need to start from another trailhead and hike along the roads, or on the trails to the Long Lake Trailhead.


Long Lake Trailhead | 4.46 Miles Round Trip (7.18 km) – 751 Feet Elevation Gain (228.91 meters) | Class 2

Hikers begin at the Long Lake Trailhead along a well traveled and well marked trail. The hike is a gradual incline and only 0.25 miles before reaching Long Lake. At Long Lake, the views are stunning, the river contains fish, and hikers have the option to cross the river to do a loop around the south side of Long Lake if they choose. The most direct route is to stay on the trail to the north side of Long Lake.

Along Long Lake, there are tons of great areas to snack, fish, or enjoy the views. Hiking remains relatively level until about 1.7 miles into the hike where the trail begins to steepend while it ascends to Lake Isabelle. Hikers will reach views of Lake Isabelle just about at the same point where they see the junction to Pawnee Pass. From here, hikers can continue past the lake, or just enjoy a particular spot on the side of the lake. Hikers simply retrace steps to head back to the trailhead.


Hiking Lake Isabelle In Winter

This hike is accessible in winter, but traction should be brought due to icy conditions. It should also be noted that in winter, the road to Brainard Lake closes, which means that hikers need to park at the Brainard Lake Winter Trailhead. It is 2.2 miles from the winter trailhead to Brainard Lake, and 3.05 miles to the Long Lake Trailhead. Hikers need to be prepared to add 6 miles and 600 feet of elevation gain round trip to their hike in winter months when the road to Brainard Lake is closed.

Trail Map

Lake Isabelle, Colorado Trail Map

Lake Isabelle, Colorado Elevation Profile


Camping For Lake Isabelle

Brainard Lake Recreation Area has a few campgrounds to choose from. Campsites need to be reserved here: https://www.recreation.gov/camping/campgrounds/232282.

Additional information can be found here.


Fishing Lake Isabelle & Long Lake

Catch and release fishing is allowed on these lakes and the streams between the lakes. The fishing is quite good, and this is a great areas to hike and bring your fishing rod with you.


Current Weather Conditions:

Here is the detailed weather forecast for the next few days. We highly recommend you check out the mountain forecast for this area the morning of your hike.


Ward, CO


Directions & Parking

When reservations are required to enter Brainard Lake,


Directions to Long Lake Trailhead:


Additional Pictures

Lake Isabelle


Views from Brainard Lake

Views from Brainard Lake


Views from the bridge before Long Lake

Views from the bridge before Long Lake


Views as hikers are just reaching Lake Isabelle

Views as hikers are just reaching Lake Isabelle


Lake Isabelle Views

Lake Isabelle Views

Max DesMarais
Max DesMarais

Max DesMarais is the founder of Hiking & Fishing. He has a passion for the outdoors and sharing experiences with others. Max is a published author for various outdoor websites and digital marketing websites. You can read more about him here: hikingandfishing/about

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