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blueBlack Pawnee Pass Trail


8.0 mile 12.8 kilometer point to point


Ascent: 2,015' 614 m
Descent: -2,439' -744 m
High: 12,529' 3,819 m
Low: 10,105' 3,080 m


Avg Grade: 11% (6°)
Max Grade: 43% (23°)


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Trail shared by Tom Robson

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

Tom Robson

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.


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.

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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
Aug 25, 2018
Allison Valentine
13mi — 6h 00m
Aug 24, 2018
Admir Salic
Jul 15, 2018
Shane Butler
Jul 14, 2018
Ellen Jardine

Trail Ratings

  4.8 from 19 votes


  4.8 from 19 votes
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in Colorado


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9,746 Since Apr 29, 2015
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