Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
1,355.00 ft (413.00 m)
Trail type
8.80 mi (14.16 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The hike to Lake Isabelle and Isabelle Glacier passes through beautiful scenery of mountain lakes with gorgeous mountain backdrops and amazing vistas. The route to the glacier is an out-and-back of 8.4 miles round trip, but Lake Isabelle is also a popular destination on the route closer to the trailhead.

The Isabelle Glacier trail departs from the Long Lake Trailhead at the Brainard Lake Recreation Area. The trail is mostly flat and smooth for the 2.0 miles, where it climbs to Lake Isabelle at 2.3 miles. The lake is gorgeous, with wonderful spots to enjoy the views at the east end of the lake. The views continue as the trail climbs higher up through the valley to a small unnamed alpine lake with shockingly blue water. The snow sticks around at this lake until late summer, making for a unique view.

From this lake the trail begins steeply switchbacking up the slope towards Isabelle Glacier. After about 0.3 miles of switchbacks, the grade lessens slightly as the trail approaches the glacier itself. At around 4.1 miles, the route reaches the terminus at the Isabelle Glacier with a phenomenal view over the glacier, an ice-filled glacial lake, and the surrounding Shoshoni and Apache Peaks towering 1000 vertical feet above. Hikers can listen closely for waterfalls within the glacier. Be cautious of rock and icefall from the glacier, especially later in the day. Hiking on the glacier is not recommended without proper glacier travel experience and equipment. After enjoying the views, return to the Long Lake trailhead via the same route.

As of 2021, during the summer months, entry to the Brainard Lake Recreation Area requires a timed permit to be purchased in advance. Permits are available for each of the parking areas, which are each about a mile apart and joined by connector trails. The Long Lake parking area is closest to the Lake Isabelle trail, but if parking is unavailable at that lot, it adds approximately 2 miles round-trip to park at either of the other parking areas.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Parking Permit

Open Year-round



Beautiful views. Wildlife sightings.


Permit required. No overnight camping.

Trailhead Elevation

10,510.00 ft (3,203.45 m)

Highest point

12,031.00 ft (3,667.05 m)


Family friendly
Geologically significant
Big vistas
Near lake or river
Old-growth forest
Vault toilet

Typically multi-day


Permit required


Permit self-issue on site



Nearby Lodging + Camping


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