Hike to Mitchell Lake

4 miles  - Out-and-Back Trail

Added by Haley Baker

A quick hike to a beautiful lake in the Indian Peaks Wilderness

Located in the Brainard Lake Recreation Area, Mitchell Lake is a good quick hike for an afternoon getaway. With just two miles to go till you reach the lake itself, it's easy for the whole family and the pups (the recreation area is super popular, so this is assuming the lots are full and you have to park in the day use area). 

From the parking lot, follow the signs that say "lake access." This will take you down to Brainard Lake itself (which is especially beautiful on still mornings when the peaks are perfectly reflected in the water). Follow the road until you see a sign on the right directing you to the Mitchell Lake trailhead. You're on the road for less than half a mile, so don't be too bummed if the parking is full - it gives you an extra lake to see and the trail between the day use lot and the Mitchell Lake trailhead is beautiful.

After another 0.6 miles, you'll reach the parking area and the official start to the hike. It's a quick one mile up to the lake, passing a beautiful river and some meadows that will be full of wildflowers if you're there in the summer. 

Once at the lake, find some trees to hammock and enjoy a snack (or pack a picnic lunch in the car and enjoy it at one of the several picnic areas along the road in). If you head up the trail a little further you can find a fun makeshift bridge to cross, or if you're feeling up to it, hike another 2 miles to Blue Lake.  

Read More

Tags

Hiking
Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Family Friendly
Forest
Lake
Picnic Area
Scenic
Wildflowers

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Great Hike for Youngsters

This was a wonderful hike for beginners and youngsters. It had a little bit of everything - altitude, rock hopping/boulders, water crossings/bridge, lovely wildflowers, and spectacular views to boot. The only downside was the fact that there were a few dog owners who chose to not pick up after their pets. I passed three unbagged piles of poop and carried out four poop bags that I found on the 1 mile hike back to the parking lot. I guess that I am playing the 'poop fairy' for these pet owners, but really....let's help to keep our beautiful trails clean. Please pick-up after your pets!

Stay Nearby

Ward, Colorado

Pawnee

Overview Pawnee Campground is located in the Brainard Lake Recreation Area, off the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway, 35 miles south of Estes Park and the main entrance to the Rocky Mountain National Park...

Lyons, Colorado

Camp Dick

Overview Camp Dick is the site of a Civilian Conservation Corps camp that was established in the 1930s. It is located just off the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway, on the Middle Saint Vrain Creek.Recreat...

Allenspark, Colorado

Olive Ridge

Overview The Olive Ridge Campground is located within the Roosevelt National Forest, situated near the southeastern corner of Rocky Mountain National Park at an elevation of 8,350 feet.Recreation O...

Granby, Colorado

Arapaho Bay

Overview Arapaho Bay Campground is located on Lake Granby, southeast of Grand Lake, in north central Colorado. Visitors enjoy the area for its great boating, fishing and hiking opportunities.Recrea...

Nearby Adventures

  • Camping at Brainard Lake

    Pawnee Campground has 47 sites for suited for tents, RVs, or trailers with eight that are walk in and tent only. These can fill up quick so get there early if you don't have a reservation, which can be tough to come by but will be well worth it.Br...

  • Hike Pawnee Pass and Pawnee Peak

    Start at the Long Lake trailhead in the Brainard Lake Recreation area (there's a fee to park, if you don't have a pass). Take the trail towards Lake Isabelle for a few miles, winding through forest and past Long Lake. Signage towards Lake Isabell...

    9 miles 2400 ft gain

  • Hike Shoshoni Peak

    Starting at the Long Lake trailhead, follow the trail along the north side of the lake. Near the end of Long Lake, take the trail to Lake Isabelle and Pawnee Pass trail to the right. The trail is in good condition but steepens a little en route to...

    10 miles 2800 ft gain

  • Climb Apache Peak

    Start at the Long Lake Trailhead ($10 parking fee) and head up the trail towards Isabell Lake. You'll pass both Long Lake and Isabelle lake, with spectacular views at both. At Lake Isabelle, be sure to continue straight on the trail, further up th...

    10 miles 3280 ft gain

  • Inspire Your Fall Aspen Trip!

    Autumn days in Aspen are filled with sunshine and nights with crisp cool air. Watch the mountains and valleys turn gold with the changing Aspen trees. Take in the scenery while enjoying scenic drives, hiking through forests, road biking, and exploring our IMBA Gold Level Ride Center recognized mountain bike trails. 




    Learn More