Waldrop Trail


Photo of the dirt Waldrop trail disappearing into a dense forest

The Waldrop Trail is within the Brainard Lake Recreation Area. It begins on the north side of Brainard Lake Road at the Brainard Gateway Trailhead and drops from Brainard Lake Road about 50 yards west of the winter closure gate.

It is possible to make a nice two-mile loop by following this cutoff to Brainard Lake Road and/or CMC Trail to return to the trailhead. For a longer adventure, continue west on Waldrop Trail as it crosses the creek and heads northwest to connect with the South Saint Vrain Trail. Turn west on South Saint Vrain Trail to get to Brainard Lake (turn east to return to the trailhead via South Saint Vrain and Sourdough trails).

At a Glance

Operational Hours: Boulder Ranger District, 2140 Yarmouth Ave, Boulder, CO 80301, Phone 303-541-2500, Fax 303-541-2515; Contact Us
Fees No fee is charged when the seasonal gate is closed (winter season). Brainard Lake Recreation Area CASH OR CHECK ONLY fees apply during the summer operating season (typically late June through mid-October):
  • Passenger Vehicles & RVs (per vehicle/3 days): $11
  • Vans (per vehicle/1 day): $27
  • Buses (per vehicle/1 day): $44
  • Motorcycles (per cycle/3 days): $6
  • Hiker/Biker/Walker (per person/3 days): $1
  • Short-term Bicyclist: 30 minute free pass
  • American Land & Leisure Season Pass (passenger vehicles): $60
  • American Land & Leisure Season Pass (hiker/biker/walker): $22
Interagency Annual, Military, Senior or Access passes, Golden Age and Golden Access passes are accepted.
Usage: Heavy
  • Prohibited: Pack animals (horses/llamas); recreational shooting (except for legal hunting) and being on trails posted as closed.
  • Brainard Lake Recreation Area Summer Season (May 1 - Nov 14): Dogs must be on a hand-held leash at all times; when open, developed camping is only allowed at Pawnee Campground (no camping in closed campgrounds); dispersed camping is only allowed north of the South St Vrain Creek.
  • Brainard Lake Recreation Area Winter Season (Nov 15 - Apr 30): Motorized vehicles are prohibited; dogs allowed only on the Brainard Lake and Lefthand Park Reservoir Roads; camping is prohibited within 1/4 mile of developed recreation sites except Red Rock Lake; skis only on Little Raven and CMC Ski Trail.
  • Fishing and Hunting: Permitted in accordance with regulations established by Colorado Parks & Wildlife.
Closest Towns: Ward, Colorado
Water: Lakes and streams; treat water for drinking.
Restroom: Practice Leave No Trace principles
Operated By: U.S. Forest Service

General Information

Directions: From Colorado Highway 72 at Ward, turn west onto the Brainard Lake Road. Travel 2.5 miles to the entrance portal.



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Day Hiking

Winter Sports

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Related Information

Areas & Activities


  Area/Length : 
Red Rock Trailhead:Brainard Road Cutoff - 1.3 miles;South Saint Vrain Trail - 1.8 miles;Brainard Cut

  Elevation : 
10,150' - 10,500'