The area around Brainard Lake, portal for the Indian Peaks Wilderness, is one of the more popular winter recreation spots for Front Range cross country skiers and snowshoers. The well-laid-out trail system offers all levels of difficulty. Choose between relaxing easy trails to strenuous backcountry trails in a remote environment.
December-April, 7 days a week, full day ($195) starts 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, half day is from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm ($125) per person
Extensive experience backcounty tour skiing in Boulder County, I obtained my avalanche level 1 certificate and winter camping survival from the Eldora Ski patrol and Outward Bound
Guide and hot tea.
Ski gear and lunch
Emergency survival first aid kit, its windy at Brianard, bring lots of layers and a backpack with food and drink. Well behaved dogs welcomed, owners will be solely responsible for their dogs and dogs behavior, tour guide reserves the right to have dog(s) left in owners vehicle if necessary; Brainard Lake Recreation Area is among the premier destinations for non-motorized winter recreation along the Front Range. From here, the Waldrop Trail, Sourdough Trail, South Saint Vrain Trail and Left Hand Park Reservoir Road are accessible to cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. The Snowshoe trail is not restricted to snowshoers only, however it is not well-designed for skiing. The CMC Trail and Little Raven Trail are restricted to skiers only. Dogs are prohibited on all single track trails in the Brainard Lake Recreation Area except for Sourdough Trail and the Left Hand Park Reservoir.
Full refund 2 days prior to tour.
NW side of the Safeway Parking lot, Boulder Colorado
Brainard Lake is surrounded by sub alpine forest set in a glacially-carved valley. The peaks of the Continental Divide loom to the west. The CMC South ski trail (No. 814.2) is one of several trails that begin on the south side of the road just before the winter gate closure, all well signed.
The trail, which is quite gentle with a few ups and downs, follows the blue diamonds and trail signs for 2.5 miles, where the trail joins the Little Raven Trail immediately before emerging from the trees onto the road.
Drop down onto the road (often a windy spot) and continue northwest on the roadbed, following signs for Mitchell Lake. Take the left fork at the road junction at mile 2.9, then continue to follow signs to Mitchell Lake. Just before the road crosses another open area a sign on the right directs you to the CMC cabin, located about 50 yards off the road.
Especially welcome on a cold, windy day is a stop at the Colorado Mountain Club cabin, owned and operated by the Boulder Group. For a suggested donation of $1, you can warm up in front of the wood-burning stove and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate.
Or ski up 2.5 miles to Lefthand Reservoir Park on a double track and ski all the way back down to the parking lot's warming hut.
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