One of my regular customers at the coffee shop I used to work at would always talk to me about her photography and places where she liked to go take pictures. She recommended Brainard Lake, near Ward, because there’s typically moose around there. I had never seen a moose before so I went up there as soon as I had a chance.
On the drive up to Brainard Lake, after you’ve passed the gate (it’s $10 to get in and park), you first come across Red Rocks Lake. I stopped there so I could see it then went on up to Brainard.
I didn’t see any moose right away but not long after I was there, four bull moose came out of the forest. They were huge! I’ve seen plenty of elk but these were a lot bigger. These moose were obviously used to being around people as well as cars, because they didn’t seem to mind everyone around. They were definitely intimidating. I only had my iPhone at this time so the pictures show you how close I was. There was no way I would get any closer though.
A few people told me that they saw some cows (female moose.. Not farm cows haha) over at Red Rocks Lake. I was more interested in the bulls though. By the time I left it was dark and wouldn’t have been able to see them anyway, if they were still there.
Most of the time when you are able to get somewhat close to wild animals it’s because people aren’t able to hunt in those areas so they aren’t scared of you. You are able to hunt in this area though, which I think it should be illegal since there’s so many people around and because the animals are used to people. About a week after I had gone up there someone was hunting nearby and shot one of these moose. I’m all for hunting and have nothing against it, except in this instance. If I’m able to get this close with my iPhone then I feel as if it’s an unfair advantage to hunt these particular animals.
Brainard Lake is a 14 acre lake that’s only about eight ft. deep, at an elevation of 10,500 feet. Everytime I’ve read about this lake online it says it’s heavily populated with hikers and that the parking lot is full. I’ve only been up there twice, in the fall, and both times there were only a few other people.
The trip up there was successful for me and I recommend going up there! Brainard Lake Road goes around the lake so it’s not really a hike which makes it good for those who don’t like to hike much or are not able to. There are quite a few trails from the road though so it’s also good for those who do like to hike a lot. A lot of the trails are marked for snowshoeing as well (you can kind of see the blue sign on the tree).
“The trail is the thing, not the end of the trail. Travel too fast and you miss all you are traveling for.”
Brainard Lake, Indian Peaks Wilderness, Ward, Colorado.
Photos taken with iPhone 4.