Hike to Mitchell Lake

Brainard Lake Day Use Lot - Search Nearby - 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.  

Distance

4 Miles RT

Type

Out-and-Back

Activities

Hiking

Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Family Friendly
Forest
Lake
Picnic Area
Scenic
Wildflowers

Nearby Lodging

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Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations.

Reviews

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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!

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