Long Lake - Jean Lunning Loop Trail, Brainard Lake Recreation Area, Indian Peaks Wilderness Area, Colorado
Long Lake - Jean Lunning Loop Trail - 2.8 Miles
Brainard Lake Recreation Area
Long Lake - Jean Lunning Loop Trail
|Round-Trip Length:||2.8 Miles|
|Start-End Elevation:||10,515' - 10,674' (10,674' max elevation)|
|Elevation Change:||+159' net elevation gain (+241' total roundtrip elevation gain)|
Long Lake is accessible from the Long Lake Trailhead in the Brainard Lake Recreation Area of the Indian Peaks Wilderness. It fills a large, level basin fed by South St Vrain Creek, whose origin lies with Isabelle Glacier 4.35 miles west along the Continental Divide.
The Pawnee Pass Trail joins the Jean Lunning Trail to form a diverting loop around Long Lake. This short, versatile trail is well-suited for families, trail running, and winter activities. Visitors will enjoy lengthy stretches of accessible shoreline, scenic inlet and outlet streams, excellent fishing, abundant wildflowers, and good views of the upper valley and Niwot Ridge.
The following description travels counter-clockwise from the Long Lake Trailhead:
A level path follows Long Lake's outlet stream to the first of two connections with the Jean Lunning Trail (.2 miles : 10,524'). It levels through mature spruce past the lake's west shore to the second Jean Lunning Trail connection (1.2 miles : 10,674') - turn left.
The trail bends south and drops to a bridge over Long Lake's primary inlet (1.35 miles : 10,636'). It rises back and curls around a marshy basin to the lake's stream-crossed southwest corner (1.95 miles : 10,584'). The lake's south shore is damp and open - ideal conditions for wildflowers. The trail glides easily through flower-dotted meadows to the southeast corner and turns north over the outlet stream (2.5 miles : 10,550').
From this central location in the valley you'll enjoy sweeping views across the lake, Niwot Ridge and Navajo (13,409'), Apache (13,441') and Shoshoni (12,967') peaks. The trail rejoins the Pawnee Pass Trail (2.6 miles) and returns to the Long Lake Trailhead (2.8 miles : 10,515').
GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84View these GPS points on a Google Map
- N40 04.674 W105 35.077 — Long Lake Trailhead
- N40 04.550 W105 35.220 — 2 miles : Jean Lunning Trail junction #1
- N40 04.223 W105 36.083 — 1.2 miles : Jean Lunning Trail junction #2
- N40 04.125 W105 35.741 — 1.95 miles : Southwest corner of Long Lake
- N40 04.481 W105 35.186 — 2.5 miles : Southeast corner of Long Lake
- Long Lake is 41 square acres, and 22 feet deep.
- Long Lake is stocked with cutthroat, brook and rainbow trout. Fishing regulations are specific and change seasonally. Call ahead for current restrictions.
- Long Lake is one of four lakes in the Indian Peaks' Four Lakes Travel Zone (the others are Lake Isabelle, Mitchell Lake and Blue Lake). Given their heavy day-use, no summer camping is permitted in these vicinities.
- This is a heavily used trail artery and parking is limited. Arrive early to secure parking and avoid crowds.
Camping and Backpacking Information
- Permits are required for all overnight campers June 1 - September 15.
- Permits are required year-round for day and overnight use by large groups (8+) or organizational groups such as scouts, churches, schools and hiking clubs.
- Group size is limited to 12 people or people and packstock combined.
- Campfires are prohibited east side of the Continental Divide, as well as Caribou Lake, Columbine Lake, Gourd Lake, Crater Lake and in the Cascade Creek drainage above Cascade Falls.
- Pets must be on a handheld leash at all times.
- Camping is permitted only at designated campsites in the Diamond, Jasper, Crater and Caribou Lakes Backcountry Zones.
- Camping is prohibited in the Four Lakes Backcountry Zone (Mitchell, Blue, Long, Isabelle) May 1 - Nov 30.
- Camping is prohibited within 100' of lakes, streams and trails.
- Packstock is prohibited in the Four Lakes Backcountry Zone, in the Cascade Backcountry Zone above Cascade Falls and on the Diamond Lake Trail #975.
Rules and Regulations
- There is a $9 fee to enter the Brainard Lake Recreation Area. Use the self-service pay station if no attendant is on duty. Fees, Parking, Pet, Camping and Trespassing regulations are strictly enforced.
- Dogs must be leashed at all times on trails within the Brainard Lake Recreation Area.
The Long Lake Trailhead is located within the Brainard Lake Recreation Area off of CO 72 (12 miles north of Nederland, just north of the town of Ward).
From Highway 72, turn west on Brainard Lake Road. In 2.6 miles you'll reach a pay station. Use the self-service pay station if no attendant is on duty. Continue another 3.2 miles on the paved road to the Long Lake Trailhead. This road may be closed at the halfway point from late October through late June or early July (depending on snow).
Long Lake can also be reached via the Niwot Cutoff Trail from the Niwot Cutoff Trailhead near the Niwot Mountain Picnic Area on the west end of Brainard Lake.
Boulder Ranger District
2140 Yarmouth Avenue
Boulder, CO 80301