Denver Local Food And Garden

Last post:The Great Cucumber Project

Tim's Garden Blog

Brainard Lakes Recreation Area - Take A Break

Last Thanksgiving holiday my wife and I decided to purchase a small, but well built, recreational vehicle. We decided on a beautiful Escape 5.0TA fifth wheel camper. It is 21 feet long, sits right behind my Toyota Tundra truck and takes care of us wherever we go. Even in these trying times we are able to make reservations, travel a short distance from home and get away from our concerns at home. Covid has taken a toll on everyone, ourselves included. We are lucky in that we both can work from home and we get along nicely. Even still, getting out for a few nights can help in unforseen ways. I know I am much more relaxed at work when I come back and we had a wonderful time while there. Where is that, you might ask.

We took Zen, that's what we named our camper, up to meet her "Home" campground, Brainard Lakes Recreation Area, Pawnee campground (el. 10,300'). We got reservations for four nights and were in place by 3 pm. Brainard Lakes is a magical place, with five lakes within easy hiking distance, in two huge drainages, and a mountain range that is simply drop-dead gorgeous. The East / West Continental Divide makes it's furthest eastern movement here. The peaks range from 12,000 feet to over 13,000 feet. Brainard lake is at 10,300 feet high and you can drive to it!

The one thing that makes Brainard Lakes a world class destination, has to be the moose population. It is simply the best in the world that I have ever seen.

It is common to see four big bull moose at the same time, and I was able to do that this trip. The big beefy boys weigh in at 1,100 to 1,200 pounds.

They are the most dangerous animal in North America. I am a trained professional and I still am exceedingly careful when approaching these huge animals. By August this will not be possible. They will not tolerate your close presence. Dogs are an absolute no no! We had deer in camp, warnings of active black bears, mountain lion warnings on the trails and moose at any juncture. Glorious moose. If you get a chance to see this place, simply go! But get there early, Brainard Lakes gets crowded!

Brainard Lakes Recreation Area is located off of the Peak to Peak hwy, slightly North of Ward, CO and Left Hand canyon. It is above 10,000 feet and the weather can and does change quickly there. Be prepared and watch out, moose can be dangerous. See more of my photography at