"A traditional out-and-back route on a mountain trail, up and down through subalpine forest. This ride serves as a good introduction to the high-altitude trail network in the vicinity of Brainard Lake. “Only 11.4 miles,” you say. “That’s an after-dinner jaunt.” Well, this ride is a bit longer than the number that appears on your odometer when it’s all done. The stretch of the Sourdough Trail between Rainbow Lakes Road (CR 116) and Brainard Lake Road never gets ridiculously technical or steep, like some other rides on the Front Range, but it’s consistently rocky. A bumpy yet non-technical ride." Read more
"The Sourdough Trail, though popular, has much less traffic than trails in and around Brainard Lake. You won’t get quite the stunning views of the Indian Peaks, but you get beautiful views of the foothills, plains, and even snowcapped peaks in the distance. As you can see from the altitude information (gained and lost) on the map, both trail segments roller-coaster, but the trail segment from Brainard to the south is more level overall, until you get near Rainbow Lakes, where the trail descends significantly." Read more
"The North Sourdough follows natural contours as it twists through old-growth forests and across gurgling creeks, providing an alternative to the crowded trails in the Indian Peaks Wilderness and Rocky Mountain National Park.Many Front Range residents take this magnificent swath of national forest for granted and assume, incorrectly, that it is protected as part of the Indian Peaks Wilderness. A few open spots expose the North Sourdough to wind. It has only a few glimpses of the high peaks so is best for folks who like just rambling through the woods. The descent from Brainard Road to Beaver Reservoir and Peaceful Valley is a moderate hike but a steep cross-country ski. Watch out for mountain bikes in summer." Read more
"The Sourdough Trail has three sections as it runs north to south for over 15 miles along the eastern flank of the Indian Peaks. The trail provides a group of classic ski tours and good snowshoe routes with plenty of steep ups and downs. Snowmobiles are forbidden on the entire Sourdough Trail. There are occasional views of the adjacent mountains, but most of these trails pass through the forest, which limits the vistas. Many other trails connect with the Sourdough.
The area around Brainard Lake and the eastern slopes of the Indian Peaks is often windblown with irregular snow cover. The best times for this outing will be in the second half of the cross-country ski and snowshoe season, preferably after some recent snowfall. This northern segment is ideal for the snowshoer, but advanced skills are necessary for the nordic skier as the narrow trail has several steep and curving parts. Follow the blue diamond markers on the trees." Read more
"The Sourdough Trail has northern, middle, and southern segments and runs north and south on the eastern side of the Brainard Lake area. This tour involves the southern part and a route from the upper to lower trailheads. Using two vehicles is recommended. The Brainard Lake area is often very windy, and exposed areas may lack snow in the winter. Therefore, this trail is best in its upper tree-covered parts and after a good fresh snowfall." Read more
"The Sourdough is for all levels of hikers and quiet winter recreation users. It’s a delightful excursion through dense spruce forests and provides welcome shelter from the fierce winds that often rake the Indian Peaks. It follows a natural bench, so it is a favorite with hikers, trail runners, crosscountry skiers—and with mountain bikes—so stay alert. Done in short sections, the Sourdough can be a nice trek for families, while its total length can give speed hikers a workout. I almost didn’t include it in this book because I didn’t want more people on one of my favorite trails.However, the trail clearly illustrates that the Forest Service can use its authority to protect the peace and quiet of our national forests—qualities abundant on the Sourdough—even if a few human-made intrusions are present, such as the utility line near this trail’s southern end." Read more