Continental Snow Cone

When the temperature exceeds 90 degrees (F) in Boulder I am especially intrigued by the sight of snow on the Continental Divide. It is easy to drive/hike to some of that snow by heading to a glacier. Located on the steep slopes of  the Apache (13,441′) and Shoshoni (12,967′) Indian Peaks (which form a stretch of Continental Divide) is Isabelle Glacier. This is one of many Colorado glaciers. Isabelle Lake and Isabelle Glacier were named by Fred Fair, a Boulder City engineer who discovered the glacier in 1908. He named both after his wife. When he died in 1935, his ashes were scattered over Isabelle and Fair glaciers. These Glaciers are the origin of the South Saint Vrain Creek and is Lake Isabelle’s main source of icy cold water. Isabelle Glacier is a couple of hours away from Boulder by car and foot. Just drive to the Brainard Lake Recreation Area and go to the Long lake/Isabelle Glacier Trailhead in the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area. The 2 mile Trail to the Glacier is pretty easy up to the lake and passes by some spectacular alpine meadows and forest. For a virtual loop hike over the Divide and back down the Glacier check out a post entitled Apache Peak

Here’s a view from the Lake looking toward west toward the Glacier… 

Lake Isabelle & Her GlacierCaptured 05 August 2009 1:40pm @ 40° 4'11.30"N  105°37'15.78"W

Lake Isabelle & Isabelle Glacier 05 August 2009 1:40pm @ 40° 4'11.30"N 105°37'15.78W"


Here’s an interesting fact: glacier ice is the largest reservoir of fresh water on Earth, and second only to the oceans as the largest reservoir of total water! 

Melting Isabelle Supplies the Wellspring of the South St. Vrain @ 40° 4'7.89"N 105°36'30.97"W

Melting Isabelle Supplies this Wellspring of the South St. Vrain @ 40° 4'7.89"N 105°36'30.97"W

11 Responses to “Continental Snow Cone”

  1. John kieffer Says:

    This has got to be the best view along the front range – short drive and short hike.

    Too get off the beaten path. Take a trail that goes up Niwot Ridge. It begins as a very small trail from the southeast corner of Longs Lake and the Long Lake Loop Trail. The trail heads south and uphill towards Niwot Ridge. As you veer west you eventually pass some alpine tundra research plots.

    I’ve never seen anyone up here. Great views of Audubon to the North and the Isabelle Lake Basin.

  2. richwolf Says:

    Thanks for your comments John…I’ll check out the Niwot Ridge. I looked at your website My images are at

  3. Ruckus on the Ridge « Tales from the Trails Says:

    […] peep of the first Spring Beauty through the bold but short-lived Pasqueflower. Now that the winter snows are irrigating the foothills and the earth has warmed the time has come for the revelry to begin […]

  4. Summertime and the Snowbanks Are Melting « Tales from the Trails Says:

    […] in town it is always possible to day-hike to the snow. This is because of our  proximity to the Continental Divide. Boulder's Snowcapped […]

  5. RainBells, Bottle Gentians and SuperMarmots « Tales from the Trails Says:

    […] are the centerpiece of the White River National Forest. The Bells are framed and reflected in glacier scoured Maroon Lake and Valley making this a wilderness composition hard to resist. I decided to […]

  6. Smoke Gets In Our Skies « Tales from the Trails Says:

    […] many anxious homeowners are overseeing their properties. Note the Continential Divide in the background…       Anxious Homeowners and Fire […]

  7. Looking For Fall In All The High Places « Tales from the Trails Says:

    […] a long telephoto image of Isabelle Glacier from this vantage point reveling an avalanche…     Isabelle […]

  8. Rocky Mountain Mighty Moose « Tales from the Trails Says:

    […] Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park. I was drawn by the vision of a  sunrise reflected on the Continental Divide. An hour later I was rewarded for the abbreviated snooze… Dawn at Sprague Lake Clearly I […]

  9. Relieve Boulder’s Heat By Adding Feet « Tales from the Trails Says:

    […] area see Boulder Subalpine Wildflower/Wildlife Alert!, Summertime and the Snowbanks Are Melting and Continental Snow Cone. Share this:EmailFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like […]

  10. Super Cool Cloud Trapped In Boulder Forest « Tales from the Trails Says:

    […] Low flying stratus clouds recently settled over Boulder. They were part of a cold front which dropped the temperature at night blanketing the area with supercooled drizzle. When the clouds finally departed Mandy and I left for an early post-drizzle walk on the Tenderfoot Loop Trail. We were hoping to see the first snow of the season on the Continental Divide. […]

  11. Isabelle’s Warming Glacier lilies | Tales from the Trails Says:

    […] Glacier Lily (Erythronium grandiflorum). I figured that the best place to find them was near a glacier so Mandy the dog and I decided to head up to the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area to check in on our […]

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