Long Lake/Lake Isabelle

Trail Length: 4.2 miles roundtrip
Trailhead Elevation: 10,515’
Maximum Elevation:  10,903’
Elevation Change:  +353′ net elevation gain (+438′ total roundtrip elevation gain)
Difficulty: Moderate

Trailhead Location:  From Highway 72, turn west on Brainard Lake Road.  In 2.6 miles you’ll reach a pay station.  Continue another 3.2 miles on the paved road to the Long Lake Trailhead.

Lisa and I took this hike up to Long Lake and Lake Isabelle in the Indian Peaks Wilderness a few years ago in September.  It’s a beautiful hike any time of year but it was nice to see a fresh dusting of snow on the peaks in September.

We headed out of town on a Friday for a weekend getaway in Estes Park.  Indian Peaks is typically a pretty crowded area so it was nice to hike up here on a Friday rather than on the weekend to avoid many of the crowds.

The area of the Indian Peaks were included in Enos Mills’ original proposed boundaries for Rocky Mountain National Park (Enos Mills was a naturalist and the main figure behind the creation of Rocky Mountain National Park).  They were removed from the proposal after compromising with local and mining interests.  Park superintendents tried to annex the Indian Peaks over the years, but the area would not receive protected status until 1978 when Congress designated the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area.

We got up to the Long Lake trailhead and headed out on the trail.  In only 0.25 miles we came to the eastern edge of Long Lake with a beautiful reflection.

Long Lake Reflection

Long Lake Reflection

Long Lake

After a few pictures, we continued hiking along the north shore of the lake.

After hiking another hour, we came to the final approach of Lake Isabelle.  The water outlet just below Lake Isabelle.

Lake Isabelle-outlet

We soon arrived at Lake Isabelle.

Lake Isabelle

Lake Isabelle

Some close ups of the snow-dusted peaks around the lake and some of the big, white, puffy clouds.

Lake Isabelle-Peaks and clouds

Lake Isabelle

Lake Isabelle-clouds

We took time for a lunch break and just enjoying the surrounding views.

Lake Isabelle-Lisa

We took a walk around the lake for some different views of the lake.

Lake Isabelle

Lake Isabelle

Looking back to the east, we saw some storm clouds moving in.

Lake Isabelle

Lake Isabelle

After spending an hour at Lake Isabelle, we decided it was time to head back down – especially with the looks of the clouds moving in.  A look back up at the outlet of Lake Isabelle as we were heading down.

Lake Isabelle-outlet

A picture of me heading back down the trail.

Lake Isabelle-Bob Trail

Back down near Long Lake looking back up the valley with some of the Fall color.

Long Lake Trail-Fall Color

Lake Isabelle-Fall color

Long Lake Outlet

We soon arrived back at the car and headed on towards Estes Park to enjoy the remainder of our weekend in the mountains.

2 thoughts on “Long Lake/Lake Isabelle

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