Isabelle Glacier Trail


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

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 printable trail description.

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
Restrictions: Indian Peak Wilderness restrictions apply:
  • Camping is prohibited on this trail from May 1 through Nov 30.
  • Motorized and mechanized vehicles are prohibited.
  • Pets must be on a hand-held leash at all times.
  • Campfires prohibited.
  • Campsites must be at least 100 feet away from water and trail.
  • Group size is limited to 12.
  • Packstock (horses, llamas etc.) are prohibited.
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
Information Center: Boulder Ranger District, 2140 Yarmouth Ave, Boulder, CO 80301, Phone 303-541-2500, Fax 303-541-2515; Contact Us

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.



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Day Hiking

This trail is within the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area. It diverges from the Pawnee Pass trail at Lake Isabelle, where the Isabelle Glacier Trail heads west along the north side of Lake Isabelle. It climbs gradually past Lake Isabelle, quickly growing steeper beyond the lake. The Isabelle Glacier Trail ends finally beside Isabelle Glacier in a very steep-walled cirque basin framed by Shoshone, Apache, and Navajo Peaks.
Fire InformationCampfires are prohibited year-round.
Elevation descThis trail climbs steeply, gaining 1,500 feet in 2.1 miles
Difficulty Level: Difficult

Winter Sports

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Areas & Activities

Campgrounds At-A-Glance


  Area/Length : 
Long Lake Trailhead to: Long Lake - 0.2 miles; Lake Isabelle - 2.1 miles; Isabelle Glacier - 4.2 mil

  Elevation : 
10,500' - 12,000'