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

View from the outlet stream of Long Lake

View from the outlet stream of Long Lake

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)
Skill Level: Easy
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: No
Related Trails:

Long Lake - Jean Lunning Loop Trail - 2.8 Miles Round-Trip

Long Lake (10,674') is located 1.4 miles from Long Lake Trailhead in the Brainard Lake Recreation Area of the Indian Peaks Wilderness. This 41 acre lake is fed by South St Vrain Creek, which originates from Isabelle Glacier 4.35 miles west on the Continental Divide.

Trail Map | Photo Gallery

The Pawnee Pass Trail joins the Jean Lunning Trail to form a 2.8 mile loop around Long Lake. This short, versatile trail is ideal for families, trail running and winter recreation.

Long Lake is stocked with cutthroat, brook and rainbow trout. Fishing regulations are specific and change seasonally. Call ahead for current restrictions.

Visitors will enjoy long stretches of accessible shore, excellent fishing, abundant flowers and good views of the upper valley. 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 to a bridge over Long Lake's primary inlet (1.35 miles : 10,636'). It rises back and curls around a marshy flat to the lake's stream-crossed SW corner (1.95 miles : 10,584').

The lake's south shore is damp and open - ideal conditions for wildflowers. The trail glides to the SE corner and turns north over the outlet stream (2.5 miles : 10,550').

From this central location in the valley you'll have great views that include, 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').

Facebook Comments

Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

  • N40 04.674 W105 35.077 — 0.0 miles : Long Lake Trailhead
  • N40 04.550 W105 35.220 — 0.2 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

Worth Noting

  • 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 their vicinities.
  • This is a heavily used trail corridor 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 an $11 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.

Directions to Trailhead

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.

Contact Information

Boulder Ranger District
2140 Yarmouth Avenue
Boulder, CO 80301

Trip Reports

There are no trip reports on this trail.


"The parking for this trail has recently been changed. There are less than 20 parking spots at each trail head. The primary parking is a bout a mile away from the trail head and there is a lot of traffic on the road between the trail head and the parking. It is not a very good system if you have children. The management of the park has been outsourced to America Land & Leisure and they do not address the parking problems very well. Stay away unless you have a lot of time to spend on parking. The added insult is that you will have to pay $10.00 for a 3 day pass that supports the crazy parking arrangement. "
William Satkowski  -  Estes Park  -  Date Posted: August 5, 2013
"This is a fabulous trail for kids as it's not too long, and yet it's long enough that they will feel like they've done something. We took our 7-year-old and 9-year-old on this hike and they LOVED it. The aspen were changing (it was late September) which made for some good photos, and we ate lunch by a waterfall not far off of the trail. Sure, the kids did complain a bit (ever hear "Are we there yet?") but they were elated to be at the pristine lake, run around and skip rocks, and then make the trip back down to the trailhead. We plan to take them here next year for their first backpacking experience."
Nico Toutenhoofd  -  United States  -  Date Posted: April 22, 2013


Add Comment

Only used to identify you to ProTrails. Will not show on comments list.
Tell us when your experience with this trail happened.