CMC Boulder Group Cabins CoViD Policy:

See notice on the Cabins page.

Brainard Cabin

Quick links within this page: (Day Hosting, Overnight Reservations, Calendar, Training, Reference Documents, Snow Report, Major Events , Miscellaneous)

General Info

The Boulder Group of the Colorado Mountain Club built the Brainard Cabin in 1928. The cabin is located at 10,405 feet in the busy, beautiful Brainard Lake Recreation Area of Roosevelt National Forest. The cabin provides an easy access to the eastern portion of the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area, including Long, Isabelle, Mitchell, and Blue Lakes, as well as Mt. Audubon, Mt. Toll, Pawnee and several other peaks. The cabin requires hundreds of hours of volunteer effort to maintain. Please consider participating in the annual work party in September or other work days throughout the year.

Day Hosting

From about 10:00 to 2:30 on most weekend days for most of the winter (usually mid Dec to mid April), the cabin is open to all visitors wishing to warm up and have some hot cocoa. Everyone who stops in is asked to leave a donation of $1 per person to pay for supplies, and to sign the guest register (on the desk by the door). While the Cabins Committee of the CMC does everything we can, please be aware that the day hosting, as with all things at the cabin, is provided by volunteers who may not be able to make it up to the cabin for any number of reasons. Day Hosts typically are longtime CMC members, and/or have significant experience using and working on the cabin, usually have smiling faces, and always have good stories to share. While hosting they will do their best to make everyone feel welcome, while also doing whatever's needed to make sure the cabin is cared for by all visitors - which could mean asking YOU to fetch some water from the creek, to split some wood, and to abide by the same rules that we all follow to make shared time spent in a shared space pleasurable for everyone. Except in dire circumstances, outside of the "day-hosted" hours in the middle of the day, please respect the privacy of those who have made overnight reservations.

Overnight Reservations & Costs

CMC member: $12 per person per night
Non-CMC member: $24 per person per night
Children (under 13) are half-price

The cabin may be reserved for overnight use by up to 12 people. While you do not need to be a member of the CMC to reserve spots, at least one member of each group making reservations must be a Qualified User. To become a Qualified User you need to complete a training session (see below). Responsibility for the cabin, its contents, and party members, rests with the person who is issued the combination to the locks. Because of its proximity to the road, the cabin is vulnerable to vandalism and theft. Please keep the shutters closed and the door locked when you are not there. The cabin is supplied with the basic necessities; users need only to bring food, sleeping bags, and flashlights. (For the really light traveler, wool blankets & pillows are available at the cabin.)

The current Brainard Cabin reservation calendar can be viewed at any time, shows the current number of reserved spots, and is updated daily. Overnight costs are shown above. To get CMC discount pricing, supply your CMC membership number with your reservation request. To reserve spots in the cabin, please fill out the web based Reservation Request Form or send an email request to the [protected email address]. Cabin policy for many years has been that those who have been trained and also have volunteered to serve as Day Hosts may reserve spots beginning June 1st, while anyone who is trained as a Qualified User but hasn't yet or chooses not to become a Day Host may reserve spots beginning October 1.

Once the Reservations Coordinator has verified that you are a Qualified User (have been trained on cabin use), you will receive an email request for payment via PayPal. Payment may be made with any major credit or debit card. (Checks not accepted at this time, but research continues.) Once payment is received, your name and the number of people in your party will be added to the calendar. Except in extraordinary circumstances, there are no refunds. Regardless of the timing, if you cannot use all of the spots you've reserved, please let us know so that we don't report you as missing and so that others may enjoy the cabin. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE use the checklist (below) to be sure you close the cabin up properly when you leave. You would be amazed how many people skip important things.

Training Sessions

The Boulder Group offers training sessions for new users at the cabin throughout the year whenever enough people express interest and the training coordinator has time to donate. Training covers such topics as how/where to split firewood, starting fires in the wood burning stoves, propane control for the burners, outhouse location, where to get water & how to make it drinkable, the photovoltaic light system, location of first aid supplies, etc. (To request information about the next training session, please email the [protected email address])

Brainard Cabin Bible & other reference documents

  The current version of the Brainard Cabin Users Manual and other reference documents can be viewed by clicking the links below:

Reference Documents
Directions to Brainard Cabin Driving directions and general trail descriptions
Current map of area trails, by CMC Identifies ski, snowshoe & mixed use trails, & if dogs are OK
Checklist for Brainard Cabin check in/out Checklist to use on arrival and upon leaving the Brainard Cabin - please return to us with your notes
Basic Information about overnight use of cabin For those who've never been to the cabin
CMC ski & cabin history Interesting tidbits of club history
Brainard Cabin Bible User's operating manual for cabin systems
Video tour of Brainard Cabin YouTube video posted by CMC member

Snow Report

Please report your experiences at the cabin and in the area online at the new Facebook group, so that others going up soon know what to expect. Occasionally, emails received by the Reservations email account will be posted at this group. The University of Colorado and CDOT operate several weather stations in the area - the closest being on Niwot Ridge about a mile southeast of the cabin. Eldora & CDOT also offer current weather information. Links to these are included below:

Current snow & weather conditions
Type of Information Location / Source
Snow conditions reported by YOU An underused Facebook group dedicated to Brainard Cabin - please post trail reports, pictures, etc. HERE
National Weather & Climate Center Snotel snow & temperature measurements from the CU Research Center near the cabin
Eldora Ski Resort - Snow Report Located a few valleys away, but a good indicator
CDOT Weather Cameras Navigate through their system to view the camera: CO72/Ward


Recent and upcoming events are listed below. Please help maintain the cabin by participating in the annual woodcutting/cleanup/maintenance party or other activities.

Major Events at Brainard Cabin
Date Event Activities
.. .. ..
--- --- ---
Sat Sept 8, 2018 Chainsaw work day Cut tree trunks to length
Sat Sept 15 2018 Annual Work Party Clean the cabin, split/stack firewood, etc.


Cabin users should be aware that there is no cell phone service at or near the cabin. Though no access guarantees are made, other users have had success in contacting the Front Range via handheld Ham radios. The cabin is equipped with a 2m 1/4 wl ground-plane antenna which is tuned for 155 MHz but will work with 144-148 Mhz. It is fed into the cabin with 50 ohm coax cable and terminated with PL259, BNC, and SMA connectors. Licensed Ham operators recently contacted the following repeaters: Longmont Amateur Radio Club's repeater on 147.270 (100Hz CTCSS tone), the Fort Collins repeater (145.115), the Loveland repeater (147.195), and the 145.31 CC repeater on Mt. Thorodin. Note that the cabin has a 12 volt lighting system, but no electric plugs of any kind. --- Please do not use any electronics in the cabin without obtaining the permission of everyone in the cabin. ---

Kids & the cabin

The cabin was constructed by adults for adults, and has hosted children as young as six weeks old, triplet toddlers, and older kids too. Be aware that the access to the sleeping area is a ladder, the wood stoves do get hot, and the outhouse is down the hill. Freestanding baby gates (three segments of a Superyard) are available at the cabin - ask Reservations about them if you'd like to use them.

Need more information?

For more information, email cabins [at] cmcboulder [dot] org

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