Long Lake offers an easy 1.5 mile loop hike in Indian Peaks Wilderness. Located about 1 hour West of Boulder, Colorado, Long Lake is an easy-to-access alpine lake with stunning scenery. It’s a popular spot, especially in the Summer months, so be sure to read the details on access fees and the notes below on the Long Lake Trailhead. Explore the full trail profile for trail maps, driving directions to Long Lake and more.
Long Lake in Indian Peaks – Trail Snapshot
|Hike Distance||0.6 mile or 1.5 miles|
|Duration||Approx 1 hr|
|Trail Type||Out and Back & Loop|
|Elevation Gain||Approx +100′|
|Seasons||Mid-June to Mid-Oct. Depending on Weather|
|Dogs||Dog Prohibited in specific Brainard Rec. areas and on Jean Lunning and Pawnee Pass Trails. See USFS page for details.|
|Hike Trail Map||Click for a Map of Long Lake Area in Indian Peaks|
|Denver Drive Time||1hr 30min|
|Driving Directions to Meyer Homestead Trailhead||Click for Google Map|
|Town Nearest Hike||Ward, Colorado|
|Fee:||Entrance Fee to Brainard Rec. Area Required|
|Beauty||Lake, mountain peak views, wildflowers, moose/td>|
|Activities||Hiking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, photography|
Parking & Trailhead Information for Long Lake Loop
Note: This trailhead can only be reached by using Brainard Lake Road, which has seasonal closures. Because the Brainard Lake Recreation area is extremely popular, this entrance road experiences high amounts of traffic during weekends on the Summer. See the USFS page for details. For Brainard Lake Road closure status, see the Boulder Ranger District roads page.
From Boulder, Colorado, head North on US36/28th Street. Take a left onto Lee Hill Road. Lee Hill Road will dead-end at an intersection with Left-Hand Canyon Road. Take a left onto Left-Hand Canyon Road heading West. Eventually, Left-Hand Canyon Road will turn into Indiana Gulch Road and will turn into Utica Road upon entering the town of Ward, Colorado. Utica turns into Nelson Road (lots of name changes on this trip) then ends at an intersection with 72/Peak to Peak Highway. Take a right onto 72, then the almost immediate next turn will be on your left for the Brainard Lake Road. Travel on Brainard Lake Road 2.2 miles to the entry station where you will need to pay the fee for the recreation area. As you approach the lake, bear right to continue on the Brainard Lake Road for another 1/2 mile, then turn right onto Mitchell lake Road. Go less than 1/10th of a mile, then turn left onto Long Lake Road. After about 1/3 of a mile, you will have arrived at the Long Lake Trailhead and parking area.
In the winter, the Brainard Lake Recreation area is a popular snowshoeing and cross-country skiing destination. However, all parking is at the Brainard Lake Gateway Trailhead (near the access gate). It is approx. 4-miles one-way from the Brainard Lake Gateway Trailhead to the Long-Lake Trailhead.
The Hike: Long Lake Loop Hike
From the Long Lake Trailhead, it’s an easy and short 0.3-mile hike to Long Lake. Returning via this trail makes this a 0.6-mile out-and-back trip. However, to really take in the best of the Rocky Mountain Scenery, we recommend doing the full 1.5-mile loop.
Having reached the northeastern edge of Long Lake, head south over a footbridge and pick up the Jean Lunning Trail. The Jean Lunning trail travels alongside the southern perimeter of Long Lake and offers stunning views of the jagged mountain peaks surrounding the lake. Eventually, the Jean Lunning trail will intersect with the Pawnee Pass Trail. Take a right on the Pawnee Pass trail to head east and back to the short connector trail that leads back to the trailhead.
Tips & Resources for Hiking Long Lake
- TIP: During the Summer, avoid the traffic by visiting Long Lake during the weekdays. Arrive at the trailhead in the early morning to secure a parking place.
- Trail Map: Brainard Lake Area, Long Lake Trail Map
- Packing List: Always pack the 10 Essentials. Download our Hiking Guide to get the list and dayhiking packing checklist.
- Colorado Road Conditions: Colorado Road Conditions
- Photo: We would like to express our gratitude to Matt Lewis and Max and Dee Berntfor sharing photographs of this hike on Long Lake
- After the Hike: Marrocco’s