Lefthand Resevoir Road to Little Raven to CMC South

Cross Country Ski Trail Map with GPS Track

Elevation Profile of Little Raven, CMC South Cross Country Ski Trails

The Brainard Lake Recreation Area is a venue for year round outdoor fun. During the winter months it is very popular with both cross country skiers and snow shoers. The road to access the Brainard Lake Recreation Area is a few yards north of the town of
Ward on the Peak to Peak Highway (Colorady Highway 72).

The trail network provides you with many different options:

  • “Out and Back” trips on either the CMC South Trail, the Lefthand Resevoir Road, or the Brainard Lake Road”
  • Loops connecting the above mentioned trails/roads. Connecting trail include Little Raven and Waldrup.
  • Longer trips to the lakes above Brainard Lake: Long Lake, Mitchell Lake

This page describes a loop made from:

  • Ascend Lefthand Resevoir Road to the Little Raven Ski Trail
  • Take Little Raven Ski Trail to Brainard Lake
  • Take the CMC South Ski Trail from Brainard Lake back to the Lefthand Resevoir Road

The loop is 5.6 miles long; the total vertical ascent is about 1150 feet.


Lefthand Resevoir Road Trailhead
Park on the right hand side of the road. The Lefthand Resevoir Road trailhead is on the left hand side of the road. Climb 1.26 miles up the road to the Little Raven Trail. There is an alternative ascent. Start on the Sourdough Trail (trailhead on the left hand side of the Brainard Lake road, a couple of hundred yards east of the Lefthand Resevoir Road trailhead). Take the Sourdough trail until it intersects with the Little Raven Extension Trail. Turn right and ascend the Little Raven Extension Trail until you reach the Lefthand Resevoir Road. Then take a left on the road and climb until you reach the Little Raven Ski Trail. I prefer to climb on the road because it is a more steady climb; the Little Raven Extension is pretty steep.

Lefthand Resevoir Road at Brainard Lake Recreation Area
Lefthand Resevoir Road


Little Raven Ski Trail
Turn right onto the Little Raven Ski Trail. This trail is god’s gift to cross country skiers, or something like that. It holds snow very well and the conditions are usually very good. It has some gentle ups and downs before descending to near Brainard Lake. The Little Raven Ski Trail is 1.64 miles long (not counting the extension part between the Sourdough Trail and the Lefthand Resevoir Road).

Little Raven Ski Trail at Brainard Lake Recreation Area
Little Raven Ski Trail


Intersection of Little Raven Ski Trail and CMC South Ski Trail near Brainard Lake
At the end of the Little Raven Ski Trail, I turned right to pick up the CMC South Ski Trail. The CMC South trail is 2.329 miles long and takes you back to the Lefthand Resevoir Road. Alternatively (not shown on map), near the end of the CMC South Ski Trail, you can bear left and you pop out on the Brainard Lake Road (above the gate), which you descend to the parking lot.

This intersection of the Little Raven and CMC South Ski Trails can also be the stepping off point for a longer route to one of the upper lakes: Long Lake, Mitchell Lake, or others.

CMC South Ski Trail at Brainard Lake Recreation Area
CMC South Ski Trail


Intersection of Little Raven Ski Trail and CMC South Ski Trail near Brainard Lake
The CMC South Ski trail tees into the Lefthand Resevoir Road. Take a left and descend to the trailhead and parking lot.

If you are interested in the GPS tracks for this ski, you can download them here: Brainard Lake GPS Ski Track. The gpx file contains the tracks and the waypoints shown on the map at the top of the page.