The Brainard Lake Recreation Area typically opens to motorized use in mid-June. Pawnee Campground at Brainard Lake opens in late June or early July. Trailheads west of the lake also open late June or early July. The best time to visit for wildflowers and mostly dry trail is mid-July through August. See the current conditions section below.
Brainard Lake is surrounded by subalpine forest set in a glacially-carved valley. The craggy peaks of the Continental Divide provide a spectacular backdrop for visitors to enjoy. With a wide variety of year-round outdoor recreation opportunities available, Brainard Lake Recreation Area (BLRA) is the most popular destination on the Boulder Ranger District.
Recreational shooting closures exist in this area. Click here for more information.
Because of the area's high elevation, motor vehicle access to Brainard Lake is limited to summer months. Opening and closing dates vary each year and are weather dependent - approximately mid June through September.During the winter months, park at the Brainard Gateway Trailhead.
For current information on road openings and closures, check the Road Status Table. Click here for the National Weather Service forecast.
Welcome to the Canyon Lakes Ranger District! Located in north-central Colorado, the Canyon Lakes Ranger District of the Roosevelt National Forest encompasses approximately 650,000 acres, mostly in Larimer County. The Canyon Lakes Ranger District offers visitors a variety of recreation opportunities throughout the year, and also provides for traditional uses, such as permits for firewood gathering and grazing. We are home to four wilderness areas, three national recreation trails, two historic districts, and Colorado’s only Wild and Scenic River. State Highways 34, 36 and 14 allow for easy access to one of our many hiking trails, campgrounds, four-wheel drive roads, and lakes and streams. Stop by our office in Fort Collins and we’ll be glad to help you discover the many great reasons to visit your national forest.
Located along the I-70 corridor of Clear Creek County in the town of Idaho Springs, Clear Creek Ranger District manages approximately 200,000 acres in four different counties. Come climb a mountain 14,000 feet above the ocean's tides, take a relaxing drive through the Rocky Mountains, or wet your fishing line in one of the many alpine lakes and streams. Your public lands await you at the Clear Creek Ranger District.
Recreational opportunities abound in this haven located high up in the Rocky Mountains. The Sulphur Ranger District is over 442,000 acres in Grand County, Colorado. Being surrounded by mountain peaks, meadows and lakes, you are in for a truly majestic experience in this forest.
Summers are filled with mountain biking near the towns of Winter Park and Fraser, hiking or backpacking in one of the five wilderness areas or in the Arapaho National Recreation Area (ANRA), and enjoying the wildflowers and wildlife. Many of the hiking trails are also open to equestrians. The Three Lakes of Grand, Granby and Shadow Mountain are great places to escape with your boat or a fishing pole for a day. The Stillwater area next to the town of Grand Lake has miles of trails for off-highway vehicle (OHV) enthusiasts. Camping cannot be overlooked either with 15 campgrounds and nearly 500 campsites.