Isabelle Glacier (#908)

Photo showing Isabelle Glacier with a small pond surrounded by snow-covered steep rocky slopes

Length: Long Lake Trailhead (TH) to Long Lake - 0.2 miles; to Lake Isabelle - 2.1 miles; to Isabelle Glacier - 4.2 miles. DISTANCES ARE ONE-WAY.

Elevation: 10,500 feet at the Long Lake TH; 12,000 feet at Isabelle Glacier.

Trail Description: Follow the Pawnee Pass Trail as it climbs gradually for two miles through wooded terrain and into the Indian Peaks Wilderness. The trail travels from Long Lake to Lake Isabelle, which sits just below the tree line. At Lake Isabelle, follow the Isabelle Glacier Trail along the north side of Lake Isabelle.

The trail grows steeper as it nears Isabelle Glacier, the source of the South Saint Vrain Creek. The Isabelle Glacier Trail ends finally beside Isabelle Glacier in a very steep-walled cirque basin framed by Shoshone, Apache, and Navajo Peaks.

Click here for a trail summary.

View a trail map here.

At a Glance

Fees: Brainard Lake Recreation Area fees apply during the summer operating season (typically mid/late-June through late September).
Permit Info: This trail lies within the Four Lakes Backcountry Zone of the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area:
  • Camping is prohibited in the Four Lakes Backcountry Zone from May 1 through November 30.
  • Organized groups are required to have a permit for both camping and day-hiking year round.
Usage: Heavy
Best Season: Hiking conditions are best from July through September.
Restrictions: Indian Peak Wilderness restrictions apply:
  • Camping is prohibited on this trail from May 1 through Nov 30.
  • Motorized equipment and mechanized transportation are prohibited.
  • Pets must be on a hand-held leash at all times.
  • Campfires are prohibited year round.
  • Campsites must be at least 100 feet away from water and trail.
  • Group size is limited to 12.
  • Packstock (horses, llamas etc.) are prohibited.
  • Practice Leave No Trace principles.
Fishing and hunting: permitted in accordance with regulations established by the Colorado Parks & Wildlife. 
Closest Towns: Ward, Colorado
Water: Lakes and streams; treat water for drinking.
Restroom: Vault toilets at Long Lake Trailhead
Operated By: U.S. Forest Service

General Information


From Colorado Highway 72 at Ward, turn west onto the Brainard Lake Road. Travel 2.5 miles to the entrance portal, and continue another three miles to Long Lake Trailhead.


Due to its high elevation, the Brainard area is not generally snow-free until late June or even July in some years. The seasonally-open Brainard Lake Road typically opens in mid-June and usually is closed due to snow by late October. Strong skiers and snowshoers enjoy this trail in winter, accessed from Red Rock Trailhead.


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