Pawnee Pass Trail
ElevationAscent: 2,015' 614 m
Descent: -2,439' -744 m
High: 12,529' 3,819 m
Low: 10,105' 3,080 m
GradeAvg Grade: 11% (6°)
Max Grade: 43% (23°)
Current trail conditions
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“A beautiful hike dotted with lakes and views, almost all above 11,000'.”— Tom Robson
Campfires are not allowed. Camping is only permissible in this zone between December 1 and April 30. From May 1 through November 30, this area is day-use only.
The Brainard Lake Road is open seasonally. During these months, a vehicle fee applies for trailheads located within the Brainard Lake Recreation Area.
From pristine Lake Isabelle, the trail turns right (north) and climbs on a graded switchback trail. It first crosses a couple creeks and circles under a ridge above the lake, eventually gaining a wide bench above treeline by a series of short switchbacks.
Continue up another steep switchback pitch that often holds snow late into the summer and finally leads to the top of Pawnee Pass (elevation 12,541').
The trail continues down the other side of the pass via steep switchbacks. The trail winds down toward Pawnee Lake and then follows Cascade Creek to its terminus at Cascade Trail and Crater Lake Trail.
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Need to Know, Flora & Fauna
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