About: 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 is the most popular destination on the Boulder Ranger District.
Because of the area's high elevation, motor vehicle access to Brainard Lake is limited to summer months - approximately June through October.
Fees: Brainard Lake Recreation Area fees apply during the summer operating season (typically mid/late-June through late September) $9 for a 5-day pass; $45 for a season pass; Interagency Annual, Senior or Access passes, Golden Age and Golden Access passes accepted. (2011)
Water: Drinking Water
Restrooms: Vault Toilet
Restrictions: Prohibited: Pack animals (horses/llamas); recreational shooting (except for legal hunting) and being on trails posted as closed.
Summer Season (May 1 - November 14): Dogs must be on a hand-held leash at all times; dispersed camping is prohibited. Camping is only allowed within Pawnee Campground (no camping is permitted in closed campgrounds).
Winter Season (November 15 - April 30): Motorized vehicles are prohibited; dogs are prohibited on all singletrack trails; camping is prohibited within 1/4 mile of developed recreation sites except Red Rock Lake.
Directions: From Colorado Highway 72 at Ward, turn west onto the Brainard Lake Road. Travel 2.5 miles to the entrance portal, and continue another two miles to Brainard Lake. Entrance portal is open seasonally.
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