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Pawnee Pass Trail



8.0 mile 12.8 kilometer point to point
75% Runnable


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 run 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.

Runner Notes

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').

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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Aug 31, 2019
Anna L
3h 24m
Aug 2, 2019
Jean Perarnaud
Sep 9, 2018
Kat trail_kat
Aug 12, 2018
Tim Lowrimore
Lower sections of this trail were so cushy and shaded. Wildflowers were in full effect near streams. Upper sections of the trail were technical. 10mi
Jul 30, 2015
Chris Rozoff
Added some miles with summit up Pawnee Peak and on other points off trail. 12mi

Trail Ratings

  4.9 from 21 votes


  4.9 from 21 votes
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in Colorado


54 Views Last Month
11,628 Since Apr 29, 2015



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


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