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Pawnee Pass Trail

Basics
Location:
35 miles west of Boulder
Setting:
Mountainous
Length:
9.2 mile roundtrip
Difficulty:
Difficult
Time:
4.5 to 5.5 hours
Trailhead Elevation:
10500 feet
Elevation Change:
2000 feet
Season:
June - October

Description

The first quarter mile of the Pawnee Pass Trail #907 to Long Lake is a high standard, very heavily used trail. At the east end of Long Lake, the Jean Lunning Trail turns left (south). The Pawnee Pass Trail enters the Indian Peaks Wilderness, continues along Long Lake as a wide, fairly flat trail, and a quarter mile beyond the end of the lake, meets the Jean Lunning Trail again. A fine easy hike is a three mile loop around Long Lake on the Pawnee Pass and Jean Lunning Trails.

Beyond the Jean Lunning Trail junction, the Pawnee Pass Trail continues up the valley at a gentle grade through wooded terrain, then makes a short climb to Lake Isabelle, which sits just below treeline. At the east end of Lake Isabelle, the Isabelle Glacier Trail #908 continues along the north shore of Lake Isabelle to the source of the South St. Vrain Creek - Isabelle Glacier.

The Pawnee Pass Trail turns right (north) and climbs on a graded switchback trail. The trail first crosses a couple creeks and circles under a ridge above Lake Isabelle, then gains a wide bench above treeline by a series of short switchbacks. There is another steep switchback pitch which may hold snow late into the summer, to the top of Pawnee Pass (ele. 12,541 ft.). Continuing westward on the Pawnee Pass Trail (Trail #1 on the west side of the Divide) would take you 9 and three-quarter miles to Monarch Lake via the Cascade Creek Trail.

Details

Location:
35 miles west of Boulder
Setting:
Mountainous
Length:
9.2 mile roundtrip
Difficulty:
Difficult
Time:
4.5 to 5.5 hours
Trailhead Elevation:
10500
Elevation Change:
2000
Season:
June - October
Useful Map(s):
USGS Maps: Ward, Monarch Lake quads
Additional Details:
CAMPING IS PERMITTED ALONG THIS TRAIL FROM DEC. 1 - APRIL 30 ONLY.

Map + Directions

Basic Directions

Proceed 13 miles north of Nederland, west of Boulder on Highway 72 to just north of the town of Ward.

Turn west onto the Brainard Lake Road (a.k.a. County Rd. 102, FDR 112). Travel approximately 5 miles on the paved road to Brainard Lake. (This road is closed half way from about late October to late June or early July).

The Long Lake Trailhead is a half mile up the left fork of a side road that turns off at the west end of Brainard Lake.


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