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Pawnee Pass Trail

Intermediate/Difficult
 4.9 (21)

A beautiful hike dotted with lakes and views, almost all above 11,000'.


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Map Key

8.0

Miles

12.8

KM

Point to Point

12,529' 3,819 m

High

10,105' 3,080 m

Low

2,015' 614 m

Up

2,439' 744 m

Down

11%

Avg Grade (6°)

43%

Max Grade (23°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Snow and ice on Pawnee Pass make the higher sections technical until later in July. An early start is recommended. Thunderstorms are common in the early afternoon.

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.

Description

The first mile of the Pawnee Pass Trail #907 to Long Lake is a heavily used trail. It enters the Indian Peaks Wilderness, then continues along Long Lake as wide, fairly flat singletrack. From the lake, the trail continues up the valley at a gentle grade through wooded terrain. It then makes a short climb to Lake Isabelle, which sits below treeline.

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.

Contacts

Shared By:

Tom Robson

Trail Ratings

  4.9 from 21 votes

#81

Overall
  4.9 from 21 votes
5 Star
86%
4 Star
14%
3 Star
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2 Star
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1 Star
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Trail Rankings

#23

in Colorado

#81

Overall
441 Views Last Month
12,439 Since Apr 29, 2015
Intermediate/Difficult

0%
0%
26%
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74%
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Photos

looking out toward Shoshoni and Apache peaks to the south.
Aug 7, 2019 near Nederland, CO
The ascent/descent from Pawnee Pass is incredibly beautiful. A top spot in Colorado.
Aug 25, 2015 near Nederland, CO
View at Pawnee Pass, looking toward northwest.
Aug 25, 2015 near Nederland, CO
Lone Eagle Peak over the trees.
Jan 23, 2018 near Granby, CO
Views atop Pawnee Pass, looking towards Lake Granby.
Aug 29, 2017 near Nederland, CO
South Saint Vrain Creek flows from Long Lake
Aug 29, 2017 near Nederland, CO

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Update Conditions
Minor Issues 15 days ago See History
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Check-Ins

Sep 28, 2019
Becks Zirlin
Got to lake Isabel and had to turn around bc time constraints
Sep 22, 2019
D J
Aug 1, 2019
Jenifer James Farrell
Only up to Isabelle Lake
Jul 22, 2019
Emilio Ruiz
Beautiful! Still a decent amount of snow, got my leg/foot stuck in snow by post-holing. Saw to Bull Moose!!!!! 6mi
Jul 13, 2019
Dan Holdaway
Jul 2, 2019
Regina Stump
Beautiful past Isabelle Lake! NEED trekking poles/ yaktraxx after that as the next 3-4km are snow covered completely. We lost the trail multiple times — 5h 00m
Sep 18, 2018
ben nutinsideu
9mi — 4h 00m
Sep 3, 2018
Clancey Potter
Nice trail despite getting snowed, rained, and hailed on! Uphill is gradual and has switchbacks. Only the last half mile is very rocky. 9mi