“An Indian Peaks quickie, this run hits all of Brainard Lake's lesser known brother, Long Lake.
— Tom Robson
Birding · Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Wildlife
This route gets you above and away from the majority of the other Brainard Lake Recreation Area sightseers. This is a family-friendly route affording views of surrounding peaks, and pristine Long Lake
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 trail run, albeit a little crowded. Like all runs in the IPW, try to hit it early.
From the Niwot Cutoff TH, a -mile run leads west up a small slope and through the woods to Long Lake
. The trail lazily switchbacks its way above Brainard Lake, and into an intersection with Jean Lunning Trail
and Long Lake Dam Connector
Stay straight onto the Jean Lunning Trail
, which enters the Indian Peaks Wilderness. The trail continues west along the south side of Long Lake
on a wide, gentle trail with several bridges. Keep an eye out for Moose, they tend to frequent these wet areas during summer.
After Jean Lunning Trail
turns northeast and intersects Pawnee Pass Trail
, turn right onto Pawnee Pass. This heavily used portion of trail continues along Long Lake
as wide, fairly flat singletrack. Just prior to the trail leaving the Indian Peaks Wilderness, turn right onto Long Lake Dam Connector
, and be sure to grab the awesome view of Long Lake
in its entirety.
From Long Lake Dam Connector
, turn left onto Niwot Cutoff Trail
and head back to your car!
Flora & Fauna
Moose and decent aspen viewing from afar.