Long Lake Trailhead

Photo of the Long Lake Trailhead Parking Lot with bathrooms and picnic tables

One of the most popular trailheads on the Boulder Ranger District, Long Lake Trailhead is located at the west end of the Brainard Lake Recreation Area. Parking is available for 30 vehicles. In the summer, hosts are available to answer questions. This trailhead provides access to Pawnee Pass, Jean Lunning, and Isabelle Glacier trails within the Indian Peaks Wilderness.

Visitors that hike trails leading west from the Long Lake or Mitchell Lake Trailhead, are responsible for following all Indian Peaks Wilderness regulations and permit requirements!

This trailhead is open seasonally. For current information on road openings and closures, check the Road Status Table.

At a Glance

Fees: Brainard Lake Recreation Area CASH OR CHECK ONLY fees apply during the summer operating season (typically late June through mid-October).
Permit Info: This trailhead provides access to the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area, which requires camping permits for all overnight trips between June 1 and September 15. Organized groups are required to have a permit for both camping and day-hiking year round. Overnight permits cost $5 per group, per trip from June 1 through September 15. Day-hiking permits are free year round.
Usage: Heavy
  • Prohibited: Pack animals (horses/llamas); recreational shooting (except for legal hunting) and being on trails posted as closed.
  • Brainard Lake Recreation Area Summer Season (May 1 - Nov 14): Dogs must be on a hand-held leash at all times; when open, developed camping is only allowed at Pawnee Campground (no camping in closed campgrounds); dispersed camping is only allowed north of the South St Vrain Creek.
  • Brainard Lake Recreation Area Winter Season (Nov 15 - Apr 30): Motorized vehicles are prohibited; dogs allowed only on the Brainard Lake and Lefthand Park Reservoir Roads; camping is prohibited within 1/4 mile of developed recreation sites except Red Rock Lake; skis only on Little Raven and CMC Ski Trail.
  • Practice Leave No Trace principles.
Fishing and Hunting: Permitted in accordance with regulations established by Colorado Parks & Wildlife.
Closest Towns: Ward, Colorado
Water: Lakes and streams; treat water for drinking.
Restroom: Vault toilet
Operated By: Concessionaire: American Land & Leisure

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 July. The seasonally-open Brainard Lake Road typically opens in late June and closes mid-October.


Lake and Pond Fishing

Recreation areas with activity Lake and Pond Fishing:

Day Hiking

Recreation areas with activity Day Hiking:

Know Before You Go

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