Brainard Lake Recreation Area is one of the most beautiful spots in the Front Range. Nestled between Nederland and Ward, Brainard Lake is just 45 minutes up the mountains from Boulder. To complement summer hiking, fishing, backpacking, and cycling, this area offers incredible winter activities such as snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and picnicking.
From about November to May, the Brainard Lake Road is closed beyond the entrance station. This road turns into an excellent start for any skiing, snowshoeing, or picnic adventure. From the entrance station, you have three route options: stay on the road, veer left onto Lefthand Park Reservoir Road, or turn right onto the Sourdough Trail.
Heading straight on Brainard Lake Road offers adventurers a relatively flat path, perfect for learning to cross country ski or snowshoe. Red Rock Lake is the first destination on this path, just ½ mile beyond the entrance station. From here, users can follow the road another 1.5 miles to Brainard Lake.
Those looking for some elevation gain may opt to follow Lefthand Park Reservoir Road to Lefthand Park Reservoir for beautiful views of the Indian Peaks Wilderness. This winter trail climbs 600 feet over the course of 1.8 miles to the reservoir.
For people who enjoy the solitude of snowy singletrack, Sourdough Trail offers miles and miles of pristine winter wilderness. This trail connects to South Saint Vrain and Waldrop trails for a long, scenic route to Brainard Lake.
"I think that's what I like the best is understanding more about how things work, and what's living there, and how it interacts with all the other organisms in that system."
- Erin Borgman
The National Park Service's video series, Stay Curious, most recently selected and interviewed one of Rocky Mountain National Park's very own. Erin Borgman is an NPS Ecologist and Field Coordinator with the Rocky Mountain Inventory and Monitoring Division. In short, her job is to keep a close eye on the vital signs and overall 'health' of important streams and rivers within the park. These bodies of water are the most important resource to the park's habitat and wildlife inhabitants, making her mission a crucial one!
Check out the video below to learn how Erin began down the path of Ecology sciences and the advice she has for anyone else trying to discover their place in the world around them.
"When the day is full of potential, being lazy isn't a consideration.."
Throughout human history, people have gone out into nature in search of self discovery, connectedness and transformation. At times when we're feeling most unsure of ourselves and our place in the world, venturing into the wilderness can provide clarity and motivation. In a day and age when we're bombarded with technology, constant bustle and triggering stresses, removing yourself from your immediate environment can reveal the potential for seeing yourself elsewhere in the world.
Someone's perception may shift along with a new vast and calming landscape....
Nature may initiate change help you to abandon your obsession over problematic frames of mind. Through that clarity, unexpected solutions will begin to form....
Mental static will melt away and the attachment to your version of reality will in turn begin to loosen, becoming fluid and neutral...
Join 5 women as they traverse from Daniels Lake to Skwawka Lake in British Columbia. Along the way they discover that the wilderness truly is where they belong, despite the doubts that everyday life can instill. Though they were each hesitant to make such a trek solo, collectively their knowledge and spirit lifted them all up to greater heights.
(Video Credit: Arc'teryx)
"We're walking on the back of history and then it invites us in... We listen to it breathing. What we do is keep moving; we make a decision, we go. This is our real life. This is where we belong."
Nature invites us to open into awareness and discover where we belong - when will you answer the call?
There are spectacular reminders everywhere reminding us of nature's great power and all that it can do; and Rocky Mountain National Park has had it's fair share! Nature is constantly working to alter the park. whether it be over the course of a few hours or a few centuries. Below is one that you can see for yourself!
Alluvial Fan was created on July 15th, 1982, when Lawn Lake broke through a moraine that had held since the end of the last ice age. 29 million gallons of water were let loose, 3 lives were lost and in the end, Estes Park ended up beneath 6 feet of water. What remains of it today are giant boulders that were washed down with the flood, with sand and other debris spread out in it's wake.
If you visit, you can park in either of the lots that are right off the road. From there, explore along the rocks before heading to the east side, where you can get a better view from all sides. If you enjoy scrambling over the looks, be careful of loose ones and how slippery they can be. There are several paths that will take you deeper into the canyons, if you dare adventure further.
Thank you to Pete McBride and Vital Films for creating this beautiful tribute to the wilderness of the United States in honor of the Wilderness Act's 50th Anniversary.
"We simply need that wild country available to us, even if we never do more than drive to its edge and look in. For it can be a means of reassuring ourselves of our sanity as creatures, a part of the geography of hope.."
Need to make plans for the upcoming weekend? Look no further than Rocky Mountain National Park! There's always plenty going on to entertain those venturing alone, with friends or with the family...
Friday, July 28th
Lily Ridge Hike(2 miles) - 9:30 to 11:00 am - Lily Lake
Join in on this guided hike to Lily Lake and find how trails connect various rocky ridges, forests, meadows, Longs Peak and Lily Lake.
The Great American Solar Eclipse - 10:00 am to 12:00 pm - Kawuneeche Visitor Center
Are you traveling somewhere to view the Solar Eclipse in August? Come by the park and learn how a solar eclipse happens, what you might see and how to view this natural occurrence safely.
All About Lightning - 2:30 to 3:00 pm - Alpine Visitor Center
Learn all about why lightning is so important to know about, and how you can minimize your risk of being struck by lightning.
Exploring With a Camera - 1:30 to 3:00 pm - Timber Lake Trailhead
Whether you have lots of experience with photographing in nature or are just beginning to dive in, this is your chance to learn some valuable tips and improve your skills on a guided photography walk.
Bighorn Basics - 10:30 to 11:00 am - Sheep Lakes Information Station
Did you know that the Bighorn Sheep is the symbol of the Rocky Mountains themselves? Learn about this beautiful animal near Sheep Lakes; a popular place to view them.
Glacier Basic Campground Evening Program - 8:30 to 9:15 pm - Glacier Basin Campground Amphitheater
Various topics are discussed, both informative and fun! Dress warmly.
Holzwarth Historic Site - 10:30 am to 4:30 pm - Holzwarth Historic Site Parking Area
Help the park join Holzwarth Historic Site's 100th Birthday! While you're at it, take a tour of the 1920's-era dude ranch and get a taste of early homesteading.
Astronomy in the Park - 8:15 pm - Upper Beaver Meadows Trailhead
Join a park ranger and the expert team of volunteer astronomers to observe and identify different elements and constellations in the night sky. Make sure to dress warmly and bring binoculars and a flashlight. A 30 minute program will be followed by viewing.
Old Ranch Campfire - 7:00 to 9:00 pm - Holzwarth Historic Site Parking Area
Bring the family or friends and roast marshmallows by the campfire. It does require a 1 mile walk to get to the campfire site, so dress warmly! Bring your own marshmallows and come equipped with campfire stories and songs.
Saturday, July 29th
Hike through History (3 miles) - 9:30 am to 12:30 pm - Colorado River Trailhead - FREE
Make your way along Colorado River on this calm 3-mile hike where you'll discover remnants of mining and ranching history. Bring anything you'd need to be well prepared for a hike of this length.
Sprague Lake Stroll (1 mile) - 9:30 to 11:00 am - Sprague Lake Picnic Area
Managing wild places within Rocky Mountain National Park is the topic of discussion on this guided hike. Enjoy the conversation of a ranger as you make your way around Sprague Lake.
Twilight Walk - 7:45 to 9:15 pm - Sprague Lake
If you love that magical twilight hour just before night settles in, don't miss this guided walk! You'll learn all about what the natural world is going as day transitions into night. Dress warmly and bring a flashlight.
Sunday, July 30th
Beyond the Falls (1 mile) - 2:15 to 3:45 pm - East Inlet Trailhead
Even been to Adams Falls? You'll enjoy this pleasant hike to Adams Falls and soak in the amazing view that lies just beyond it.
Mountain Wildflowers - 9:00 to 11:00 am - Kawuneeche Visitor Center Flagpole
A ranger will lead you & your caravan to see the best flowers that are currently blossoming and teach you all the reasons why they're so special.