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.
This is a great running trail, especially for those looking to get above 12,000'.
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').