Pawnee Pass Trail

HARD 71 reviews
#10 of 109 trails in

Pawnee Pass Trail is a 9.7 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Nederland, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
9.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2070 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

birding

fishing

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

lake

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

Directions from Ward: Take Brainard Lake Road (CR #102) to the Long Lake Trailhead.

backpacking
3 months ago

We hiked this as part of a three-day trip with Buchanan Pass in late August. it was awesome, but get an early start. Cliuds roll in and you will wouldn't want to he is there in the rain.

hiking
6 months ago

Snow and ice are starting to accumulate out there. Be careful and don't forget your Microspikes or Yaktrax.

hiking
6 months ago

great hike with great views. got to parking lot at 7 so i could park in long lake parking lot. a little disappointed that it was hazy towards lake granbybut still great views!

hiking
7 months ago

wonderful experience...awesome hike..perfect views.

hiking
7 months ago

Beautiful trail from beginning to end. Wild flowers dress the trail along the way. You will pass babbling brooks on and off too. You will pass the beautiful Lake Isabelle, this alone is worth every step. Once you are above the tree line there are mountain tops adorning the path to the Continental Divide. I loved this hike.

hiking
7 months ago

Great weather and great hike!

hiking
7 months ago

Perfect day hike for us flatlanders from Missouri. Quick and continuous stunning views, just enough incline to get our hearts pumping, but very doable for our group of various paces. Camped outside of Nederland so we were able to get an early start, and at 5:30 am were among the first to the TH and later Lake Isabelle. Would agree with other reviewers on the importance of arriving early, but keep in mind that the majority of the crowds were there for Lake Isabelle- the hike up to Pawnee Pass was much less popular.

hiking
7 months ago

One of the best hikes I have ever done in terms of scenery and challenge - the views were unbelievable and rivaled those from any 14er or 13er without all of the people. At 7:45 a.m., we found plenty of parking at the Brainard Lake day use lot, which is around 10,100 ft elevation. Starting there adds more elevation gain and well over a mile more distance-wise, so that elevation gain is more like 2,500 ft and distance over 11 miles. Yet the hardest part was the 2.6 miles up above Lake Isabelle to the pass. It was cold and windy on the Pass, but being at the Continental Divide at 12,550 ft and seeing amazing vistas including Lake Gramby made for a breathtaking reward. It took me 3 hours to hike to the top; I spent about 30 minutes exploring the top; then it took about 2 hours and 15 minutes to get back down.

7 months ago

One of the most beautiful places I've ever hiked

hiking
8 months ago

One of the most scenic hikes in Colorado. Be prepared by bringing either $11 in cash or check. Had to park at the day use parking lot which added approx .75miles each way to the overall hike. Lots of gusty winds at the top so bring your jacket and gloves. Very nice hike

hiking
8 months ago

Nice trial, maintained well, windy as s**t on top.

hiking
8 months ago

It's the most beautiful hike I've done in 3 yrs, but I didn't consider it "hard", just moderate. Planning on doing it again soon.

hiking
8 months ago

great hike for elevation gainers. Close to the top there were 2 big patches of snow to walk through. A bit slippery so had to watch your footing.

8 months ago

Planned to take an easy day and hike the trail to lake Isabella. Decided to check out Pawnee pass. Lots of switchbacks

trail running
8 months ago

Awesome route. Until Lake Isabelle the trail is very easy, should be a great nice, hike for anyone. From Lake Isabelle to the top of Pawnee Pass at 12,500 feet is quite a bit of climb mainly on pretty technical trail.
I was there on Saturday morning and by 8:40AM barely any parking spots at Brainard Lake. The road to the Long Lake Trailhead was already closed due to parking lot being full.
Still with all the people on the trail, everybody was very courteous, so no issues to move at a good pace. Don't forget to stop and enjoy the views! :-)

8 months ago

Beautiful flowers, excellent views and cascading streams make this hike a winner.

hiking
9 months ago

The Pawnee Pass trail has always been one of my favorites! We decided to chance it even though there were afternoon storms in the forecast (when aren't there?) and lucked out getting up and mostly down before the storms started. The trailhead parking at Long Lake was full by 8am but there was still plenty of space at the Brainard Lake day use lot. There are only a few patches of snow left on the trail and they are easily passable without traction or poles. And wildflowers are amazing!

hiking
9 months ago

Just down from this hike today. Several snowfield detours, but overall a great day and great hike. Roads still not open beyond first parking lot adding a mile to the advertised distance.

hiking
9 months ago

See review from lake isabelle for current conditions. Didn't make it all the way to pass but there was less snow as you get above tree line, especially on the sun facing aspects.

hiking
9 months ago

Spectacular views from the Indian Peaks. Snow still made the trail hard to follow at parts, but totally worth the trip. Lots of people on the trail until after Long Lake, then we only saw a few. Also, lots of wildlife in the area.
We saw about 100 marmots in the alpine.

backpacking
Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Has anyone CAMPED off of this trail? It looks like once you walk past the continental divide pass, you get into an area where you can camp. Prior to that, the trail is in a "4 Lakes No Camp Zone". We're thinking of hiking to Pawnee Lake (across the continental divide pass and camping there and then hiking back the next day (we're from WI and I'm sure it will take us longer to hike). We'll be in Colorado (Fraser/Estes Park) for 3 or so days prior to the hike, so we should be pretty acclimated to the altitude.

backpacking
Thursday, December 15, 2016

Amazing hike

trail running
Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Great beautiful trail run.. had to start at front gate Parking.. and run the snowshoe trail so total was 25km to the pass and back

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

15 miles ?
I don't think so. It's about 8.5 round trip, I think ? Great trail.

hiking
Sunday, October 02, 2016

I did not complete this trail up to Pawnee Pass but rather took the fork at Lake Isabelle and onto the Isabelle Glacier Trail. However the Pawnee Pass trail up until the fork is a beautiful trail that is fairly level as it meanders to Long Lake and Lake Isabelle. This trail has it all. From a babbling brook, changing aspen leaves (I did this hike in September), low growing orange and yellow shrubs/bushes, two perfectly light blue alpine lakes, and all this surrounded by 13,000 foot mountain peaks with patches of snow at the top. It is a breathtaking trail and can be enjoyed without heading up to the pass or to Isabelle Glacier. A person can turn around at either of the lakes and still have experienced the classic beauty of the Rockies without having to ascend any steep switchbacks.

hiking
Thursday, August 04, 2016

This is my FAVORITE trail. I come up every year multiple times. The beauty you see along the way is mesmerizing!!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

loved this trail!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

7/13/16. Easy to moderate hike with stunning, wide open views nearly the entire way. All things considered, one of my favorite hikes. We did the Pass and the wind was strong. It actually blew me over once (132lbs). Because the peak was only another 0.5 miles, we went for it and found a stone barrier to sit and have our lunch at the top. Marmots and wildflower abound. We missed a young bull Moose by about 10 minutes on the way down. Highly recommend

hiking
Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Much closer to Netherland than Bellvue, co. Bellvue is north of RMNP, this is on the south end.

hiking
Saturday, March 07, 2015

A great hike to Isabella Lake, in Indian Peaks Wilderness.

Load More