Hike Pawnee Pass and Pawnee Peak

Long Lake Trailhead , Ward, Colorado, United States

  • Activities:

    Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Spring, Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    9 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    2400 Feet

Forest
Lake
River
Scenic
Wildflowers

Relatively easy hike close to Boulder with great views of the Front Range.9 miles round trip (4 to Pawnee Pass, and another 1/2 mile to the peak). 2400 ft of elevation gain.

Start at the Long Lake trailhead in the Brainard Lake Recreation area (there's a fee to park, if you don't have a pass). Take the trail towards Lake Isabelle for a few miles, winding through forest and past Long Lake. Signage towards Lake Isabelle and Pawnee Pass is apparent.

Just as you reach Lake Isabelle, look for a junction that heads to the right and uphill to Pawnee Pass. You'll quickly switchback up elevation towards the pass. The views grow just as quickly with the elevation as you climb above treeline and hike across spectacular tundra.

From the trail sign at the top of Pawnee Pass, hang a right to the obvious peak of Pawnee just a short distance and 400ft of elevation above. There is a small social trail if you see it, but you should be able to pick your way up to the peak without any trouble. Scramble across some talus to the rounded top of Pawnee Peak (12,943ft).

If it's clear out, you can see most of the prominent peaks in the region, including Longs, visible to the north. I highly recommend heading up for sunrise!

Pack List

  • Water
  • Camera
  • Warm clothing (weather can quickly change in the Rockies)
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I made it up to Pawnee Pass and actually couldn't find the route to the peak. Regardless, it was time to head down and so skipped a free-range route up. Pawnee Pass/The Continental Divide were beautiful and a great hike. Lots of water for the first half of the trip - bring a water filter if you don't want to pack in tons of liquid.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Incredibly beautiful spot, it's even more fun if you go off trail and make a loop with Blue Lake. It will take some route finding skills and scrambling but if you hit it early season you can glissade a good ways down. If you're bringing your dog put them in a harness to make some of the scramble spots easier.

over 2 years ago
over 2 years ago

Kyle Frost Admin

Based in Boulder, Colorado. Creative Director at The Outbound :) I'm @kylefrost pretty much everywhere.

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