Filed Under: Skiing, Snowshoeing
Distance is based on one-way travel. The Waldrop Trail is a little more difficult than the CMC Trail, with more hilly sections and side hills. The Waldrop Trail drops to the right (north) 50 yards west of the Brainard Lake Road winter closure, just beyond the turn to the CMC Trail. This trail is also marked with blue diamond trailblazers.
It first circles the north side of a little hill, then follows an old power line, which is perfectly straight for a long distance. There are several up and down hills. One of the down hills can be very rocky when the snow is thin. In a meadow about halfway in, there is a cutoff 0.2 mile long to the Brainard Lake Road. A shorter loop can be made by taking this trail to the Brainard Lake Road, then going a short distance east to meet with and return by way of the CMC Trail.
From the meadow, the Waldrop Trail returns to the trees, then drops down to the creek. There is a bridge just to the west, which is not easy to cross on skis, but proves a safer route in early or late season when the ice may be thin. At the top of the long hill, there is a junction with the South Saint Vrain Trail. Take the left (west) to Brainard Lake. After crossing the creek and climbing a short, steep hill, there is another junction. The Brainard Lake Cutoff to the left (south) is the quickest way to the lake, and joins the Brainard Lake Road near the outlet. The right (north) continues a half-mile to a junction where the South Saint Vrain Trail takes the right (north) just before crossing a meadow. The CMC Cabin Cutoff to the left (south) reaches the Colorado Mountain Club Brainard Cabin in a quarter mile, with the road to the Mitchell Lake Trailhead just beyond. Contact the Colorado Mountain Club for information on use of the Brainard Cabin. On winter weekends, there is often a host at the Brainard Cabin so skiers can enjoy the warm cabin and hot drinks for a small fee.
A good trail map will be helpful in negotiating the many trails in this area.
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.