Long Lake Trailhead


Range: Front Range

Road Difficulty

Paved Road 0   (0=Paved, 6=Very Difficult 4WD)

Driving Directions

Go to the Brainard Lake Recreation Area, just across from the town of Ward on the Hwy 72 (the Peak to Peak highway). In summer, drive all the way to Brainard Lake (paying the access fee at the gate). Bear right at the lake and look for a right-hand turn to the Long Lake and Mitchell Lake Trailheads. Turn right, and then turn left shortly for the Long Lake TH.

Winter Access

Status Updates 
Posted By: jfm3
Info: A friend and I had a loose plan to summit Shoshoni or Pawnee Peak today but we ended up bailing on the first shelf of the Pawnee Pass climb above Lake Isabelle. The snow was warming rapidly and was going to be too wet/unstable by the time we came down. From the Long Lake parking lot onward the trail is under continuous snow- no bare ground visible anywhere. Snow was very solid in the morning and mostly solid at midday. I wore crampons all the way up & down and found an axe helpful. There are several visible avalanche paths & debris fields on south-facing slopes around Lake Isabelle. The road from the Brainard winter lot to Brainard Lake is mostly bare pavement but there are several large snowdrifts to cross.

Photo 1: On the first shelf above Lake Isabelle. A small avalanche off the cornice on the left side is visible. The upper snowfield below the sky is the large shelf below Pawnee Pass. We were sinking ~6 inches in some places at 8:30 AM and the snow was visibly wet in places.

Photo 2: Shoshoni Peak from the south side of Lake Isabelle. Several avalanche paths are visible on the lower slopes.
Posted By: mollpaul1
Info: The road to Brainard Lake is open however the gated access to Mitchell Lakes and Long Lake are still closed. You can quickly walk around Brainard and up to the Long Lake TH but large 3-4 ft. snowdrifts are present immediately at the start of the trail to Isabel Lake. The boot trail is packed and easy to follow up to Isabel Lake but then diminishes after that.
In my ascent of Shoshoni Peak, I hiked north around the switchbacks that are above Isabel Lake as the slope was less steep and manageable given the snowpack. Above Isabel Lake, the trail is largely melted out (except for one large snowfield on the last set of switchbacks leading to the saddle ridge of Pawnee Pass) once you are above tree line including the ridge line from Pawnee Pass all the way to Shoshoni Peak.
Generally speaking, I would guess that the trail to Isabel Lake won’t feel like a summer trail until the end of July.
Posted By: kingshimmers
Info: The Brainard Lake Road gate is closed for the season. Parking is available in the winter lot at the gate (~2.5 miles from Brainard Lake itself).
Posted By: kingshimmers
Info: Brainard Lake Road re-opened Friday, June 29th!
Posted By: kingshimmers
Info: The ongoing Brainard Lake Road reconstruction project will impact access to this trailhead through July 2018. Starting Monday March 12th 2018 the road is CLOSED TO EVERYONE 24-hours a day, seven days a week through ~June 28th. Closures begin at the Peak-to-Peak Highway (SH 72), prohibiting access to both summer and winter trailheads. NOTE: The recreation area and wilderness area trails will remain open during this time, and can be accessed via other area trails. See the website for more detailed information:
Posted By: Tomalamo
Info: Mitchell Lake TH and Long Lake TH are not open yet as of 7/4. You have to park at Brainard Lake and hike to these two trailheads. Not sure why they aren’t open yet since the roads are completely clear of snow. I asked one of the rangers when they would be open, and he couldn’t tell me. He said it’s the decision of the Forest Service.
Posted By: adrenalated
Info: Road is closed at Brainard Lake, about 1mi below the trailhead.
Posted By: COnaive
Info: From the winter lot, we were able to bike up the road to the campground just before Brainard Lake, with 95% of the road to that point dry, with a few spots to walk the bike around drifts.
Posted By: Jon Frohlich
Info: Gate closed for the season as of yesterday.
Posted By: kingshimmers
Info: You can now park at the trailhead - all gates are open.

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