The city of Boulder sits at an elevation of 5430 feet. A 30 minute drive up Boulder Canyon takes you to the town of Nederland at 8,234 feet above sea level. From there you can drive another twenty some minutes to the tiny town of Ward which is at 9,450 feet. It's another ten minutes or so up to the Brainard Lake recreation area where the elevation is 10,500 feet. This is high country and it is beautiful!
Being so beautiful the trails in the area are very popular. We got the last parking space on a Friday morning at 10:30!
We started our hike at Long Lake, hiking around the north side of the lake to meet the trail up to the Isabelle Glacier.
As we approached the glacier, the views became more dramatic.
At the trail's end you could see the remaining glacier ice flows.
We had a relaxing lunch of water and power bars by the glacier-fed lake.
On the way back down we met up with the Long Lake trail again and this time took the South side trail which featured views of a lovely stream.
The limited number of parking spaces at the trail head limited the number of people on the trail so we were able to hike without feeling crowded. The weather was spectacular and all the people and dogs we met on the trail were very friendly and pleasant. One couple had lost one of their hiking sticks which Ben later found and returned. In exchange they took our photograph.
We were on the trail for five hours and I was plenty tired by the end! But we had a great time and felt very lucky to live within an hour drive of such wonderful hiking and scenery.
On the way drive home we stopped near Ward to admire and photograph the Aspens, which had turned their golden fall color.