“An easily accessible, high alpine lake trail surrounded by stunning aspens.”
— Tom Robson
Campfires are not allowed. Camping is only permissible in this zone between December 1 and April 30. From May 1 through November 30, this area is day-use only.
This high alpine run is readily accessible from the Brainard Lake Recreation Area, and thus is one of the most popular routes in the area.
If you can, be sure to hit this run on a nice fall day. The aspens in this area are amazing!
Features: Fall Colors — Lake — River/Creek — Views — Wildlife
Need to Know
The Brainard Lake Road is open seasonally. During these months, a vehicle fee applies for trailheads located within the Brainard Lake Recreation Area.
This would not be an ideal route for running. From the get-go there are large boulders that fill the trail surface. So, unless you're someone who likes "technical" trail running, be sure to avoid this route.
Be careful and courteous when passing other pedestrians - you'll encounter many hikers on this route!
The wooded Mitchell Lake Trail to Blue Lake enters the Indian Peaks Wilderness near the bridge across Mitchell Creek. It continues on a good trail for 0.5 miles to Mitchell Lake and crosses a bridge over the inlet.
Another 1.5 miles of trail takes you up a slope, then along the creek in an open valley to Blue Lake. This lake lies at tree line below Mount Toll (elevation 12,979 feet), a cone-shaped pinnacle on the Continental Divide. When snowy, it is very easy to lose the trail and close attention is necessary.
Flora & Fauna
Be on the lookout for pika, marmot, and moose! Additionally, this trail is great for fall aspen viewing.