Ranger | 3331 pts
I did this trail using snowshoes on 3/12/19, a sunny and warmish winter day in Colorado. As suggested in the guidebook, I started on the N. Waldrop Ski trail from the winter Brainard Gateway parking lot and then turned to the Brainard Lake trail until I reached the cabin maintained by the Colorado Mountain Club. From there I reached the Brainard Lake area road and took the turn to the Long Lake trailhead and then reached the eastern edge of Long Lake. I returned on the road and followed it towards the parking lot until I reached the Niwot picnic area where I had lunch on a small portion of the only picnic table that was not covered with snow. From the road, I picked up the CMC South Ski trail and then the CMC snowshoe trail back to the parking lot where I started. The snow was deep but the trails are well packed down, and generally level but there is still a total elevation gain of about 1600 ft. The trails are also well marked with blue diamond markers on trees and the snowshoe trails with blue markers with a snowshoer figure (see pictures below). The total mileage was 8.5 and it took me 3h to get to my lunch spot on the Niwot picnic area after reaching the edge of Long Lake. Then it took about 1:40 h to get back tot he parking lot. Did not see a single person on any of the trails but on the way back there were a few people skiing or snowshoeing on the Brainard Lake road which is closed for the winter.
Long Lake is also the starting point of a number of really nice trails in the Indian Peaks Wilderness and there is a short trail around the lake that I have taken a number of "non-hikers" to hike and admire what Colorado has to offer.