Lake Isabelle in Indian Peaks Wilderness is incredible. With sharp peaks and ridges surrounding you, this hike takes you past multiple gorgeous mountain lakes, and is not too challenging! It is a fantastic place to relax, hang a hammock, canoe, paddleboard, bring the dog, picnic, this place really has it all!
Be aware this hike is within Brainard Lake Recreation Area. This area, managed by the forest service, requires an entry fee of $12. They also limit the amount of cars inside to the amount of parking spaces, so on weekends and holidays, there can be a wait to get in.
The best place to park if you are heading to Lake Isabelle is the Long Lake Parking area. You can get to Lake Isabelle from the Brainard Lake or Mitchell Lake trailheads, it will just add a bit of mileage to the hike.
You will first come across beautiful Long lake. Moose are common in the area so be on the lookout! As you pass Long lake, you will begin to climb a bit through the forest to Lake Isabelle. You will come across a small creek and some small waterfalls as you climb into the stunning valley Lake Isabelle lies within.
You will not be disappointed as Isabelle comes into view. Surrounded by the massive, jagged peaks of the Indian Peaks Wilderness, this lake really is incredible. Take your time and enjoy this pristine mountain lake, soaking it all in!
If you'd like to extend your adventure a bit, there is another unnamed lake above Isabelle that is crystal clear and stunning! The path up is a bit small and hard to follow at times, but it is absolutely gorgeous up there. Experienced mountaineers can even continue up Airplane Gulch, climbing up the side of Navajo peak, to an airplane crash from 1943. Above, you can scramble up Navajo Peak, but only those comfortable with route-finding and class 3/4 scrambling should attempt this.
Overall, the trek to Lake Isabelle is gorgeous the whole way. If you are looking for a super rewarding mountain lake hike, this is not one to be missed. And it is also fairly flat and easy, so all ages can enjoy it!
Lake Isabelle is a great place to bring the whole family! It is very dog friendly, and a fairly flat trail to an incredibly rewarding lake.
There are great places to hang a hammock and relax next to the many lakes you will pass on this trail!
The stunning mountain vistas and lakes offer a great chance to catch some good shots. Moose are also common in the area, so you may get a chance to capture some wildlife shots as well!
There is a $12 fee to enter the Brainard Lake Recreation Area, where this adventure is located. They do limit the amount of people inside to the amount of parking they have, so on busy days/weekends, you may have a long wait to even get inside the recreation area. As always, arrive early! For more info on Brainard Lake Recreation Area click HERE.