Added by Eric Schuette
Hike one of the most scenic 12ers in Colorado's front range with an elevation of 12,967 feet. You can easily combine a summit of Pawnee Peak for wonderful views of multiple alpine cirques. Enjoy wonderful views of the Long Lake valley, Isabelle glacier, and Pawnee pass regions. For the more adventurous there is a class 3 route that ascends its northeast face.
Starting at the Long Lake trailhead, follow the trail along the north side of the lake. Near the end of Long Lake, take the trail to Lake Isabelle and Pawnee Pass trail to the right. The trail is in good condition but steepens a little en route to Lake Isabelle. Once at Lake Isabelle (make sure to stop and soak in the beauty of the cirque as well as your goal, Shoshoni, which is mountain on the right with a knob), take the Pawnee Pass trail. The trail can easily be missed and branches off very shortly after seeing the lake. If you are walking the north shore of the lake you have gone too far.
Once on the Pawnee pass trail the trail steepens considerably as you go through gorgeous and often flower laden meadows and forests. As you break treeline there will be a much less steep section before you get to the last climb to the pass. The trail again steepens as you climb to the pass. Make sure to look to the west from beyond the pass, the west side of the Indian Peaks are rugged and beautiful.
From the pass climb up class 2 talus to gain the ridge in front of you. This is on the left or south side of the pass. The ridge to the right or north side will take you to Pawnee Peak. Once on the ridge follow the ridgetop (for easiest travel) for just under a half-mile until it mellows and out and a tundra walk begins. There will be a steeper section just before the summit but it an easy walk from there.
Shoshoni has two summits, the west and east. The East summit is the tallest and also most fun. A couple of really mellow class 3 or 2+ moves gains access to the summit block and wonderful views of Navajo and Apache Peaks, Isabelle glacier, Pawnee Peak, Long Lake, and the front range.
To return you can return to Pawnee pass via the way you came or you can take the shorter but much steeper east ridge back towards Lake Isabelle, be careful though as you will encounter steep class 3 terrain. Also, be aware snow can be present on the slope below Pawnee Pass late into the summer. Bring traction devices and poles if you are uncomfortable on steep snow banks.
- Appropriate clothing
Note that snow can persist on the climb up to Pawnee Pass late into July and traction devices and hiking poles can be useful
Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.
Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More
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