Filed Under: Skiing
Distance is based on one-way travel. Beginning skiers are encouraged to use the CMC Trail, as it is the easiest of the trails. There are several CMC Trail branches at the eastern end of the CMC Trail. The main one turns to the right (west) at the base of the Lefthand Park Reservoir Road. Soon the Snowshoe Trail forks left (south). After two-tenths of a mile uphill, the second branch of the CMC Trail forks right (north) for a tenth of a mile down a rather steep hill to the Brainard Lake Road. In another 100 yards, the Snowshoe Trail crosses again, and immediately afterwards the final branch of the CMC Trail forks left (south) on an old road to come into the Lefthand Park Reservoir Road.
From here, the CMC Trail is mostly level for two miles west to Brainard Lake, partially along an old ditch. Very early in the season, watch for water in the ditch. About halfway to the lake, there is a cutover to the Brainard Road. It is only a quarter-mile long but it can be difficult to find.
One of the steepest hills on this route is near the Brainard Lake end, and it is uphill on the way in. Just before reaching Brainard Lake, the Little Raven Trail turns off to the left (south). Then the CMC Trail crosses an open swamp, which may be blown bare, to reach the Brainard Lake Road on the south side of the lake.
This is a skier-only trail from November 15 through April 30.
Dogs are prohibited on this trail from December 1 through April 30.
Drive on Highway 72 just north of Ward. Turn west on the Brainard Lake Road. Drive in 2.8 miles to the winter gate closure. Park as far off the road as possible. Parking may be limited because the area receives heavy use. Watch for "No Parking" signs posted high up along the south side of the road.