Mitchell Lake Trailhead
One of the most popular trailheads on the Boulder Ranger District, Mitchell Lake Trailhead is located at the west end of the Brainard Lake Recreation Area. Parking is available for 60 vehicles. Trailhead hosts are available to answer questions on summer weekends. This trailhead provides access to Mitchell Lake, Mount Audubon and Beaver Creek trail within the Indian Peaks Wilderness.
Visitors that hike trails leading west from the Long Lake or Mitchell Lake Trailhead are responsible for following all Indian Peaks Wilderness Regulations and permit requirements. Camping and campfires are prohibited within the Four Lakes Backcountry Zone.
View a COTREX map.
View a trailhead map.
This trailhead is open seasonally. For current information on road openings and closures, check the Road Status Table.
At a Glance
|Fees:||Brainard Lake Recreation Area fees apply during the summer operating season (typically late June through mid-October.|
|Permit Info:||This trailhead accesses the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area, which requires camping permits for all overnight trips between June 1 and September 15. Organized groups are required to have a permit for both camping and day-hiking year round. Overnight permits cost $5 per group, per trip from June 1 through September 15. Day-hiking permits are free year round.|
|Closest Towns:||Ward, Colorado|
|Water:||Streams; treat water for drinking.|
|Operated By:||Concessionaire: American Land & Leisure|
From Colorado Highway 72 at Ward, turn west onto the Brainard Lake Road. Travel 2.5 miles to the entrance portal, and continue another three miles to Mitchell Creek Trailhead.
Due to its high elevation, the Brainard area is not generally snow-free until July. The seasonally-open Brainard Lake Road is typically open in late June and closes mid-October.