Brainard Lake Loop, 12/14/2002
We decided to ski one of our favorite routes today, the Brainard Lake Loop. Starting at 10:32 at the Red Rock Trailhead, which is where the road is blocked in the winter, we went up the road a few hundred feet then took a right onto the Waldrop North Ski Trail. This trail was in great shape, with a generous amount of hardpacked snow, although there were occasional rocks. We took this trail all the way to its end where it meets the road to the Mt. Audubon Trailhead. Taking a left on this road, which was covered with snow, we took a right at the next intersection and skiied up the road to the Pawnee Pass Trailhead. Going up the Pawnee Pass Trail we got to Long Lake at about 12:15 and skiied about halfway along the length of it, then took some nice pictures of the mountains to the west. Skiing back along the lake, we took a right at the end of the lake and returned by the Niwot Cuttoff Trail. Back at the Brainard Lake Road we turned right onto it for about 2 tenths of a mile then left the road turning right at a clearing onto the Little Raven Trail. Going east along the Little Raven Trail, we got to the Lefthand Park Reservoir 4WD Road (closed to traffic) and turned left onto it. This road returns directly to the Red Rock Trailhead, and skiing on it from the Little Raven Trail to the Red Rock Trailhead is the most thrilling part of the loop, with a few parts of it presenting a challenging rate of descent on cross country skis. It was great today with nice hardpacked snow and few rocks. The last thrilling downhill, we had to do twice because it was so fun. We returned to the truck at 14:23.