Navajo Peak Hike

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This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
18.0 km
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
950 m
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Directions to Trailhead

Navajo Peak Hike is a demanding adventure up to the summit by way of an airplane gully. Years ago, a plane crashed into the side of the Navajo Peak and remnants of the plane remain on the flank of the summit. The expedition to the summit is both undeniably scenic and sobering. The hike to the peak is a Class 3 scramble up a steep rocky talus, but once summited, Navajo Peak delivers unparalleled views of the Indian Peaks Wilderness.

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Route Description for Navajo Peak Hike

Navajo Hike is a stimulating adventure in the Indian Peaks that is reserved for experienced hikers. Scrambling is unavoidable as you ascend Navajo Peaks. Be careful—navigating loose scree and the steep rocky talus field can be dangerous. As you approach the rearmost section of the trail, signposts are replaced by cairns, so keep an eye out for them to make sure you are on the right track. Additionally, expect bitter weather at the summit due to high altitude. Lace up your hiking books and grab your poles, and adventure to Navajo Peak!

The Navajo Peak Hike departs from the Long Lake Trailhead. Head west onto the Pawnee Pass Trail and continue along the path as it guides you along the shores of Long Lake. Hike this trail until you reach Isabelle Lake and the trail junction. Head left, merging onto the Isabelle Glacier Trail. This section of the trail is often crowded as you walk along the shores of the picturesque Isabelle Lake. Continue along the path until it begins to curve north, and you meet a pool of water. Get off the trail here. Cairns will guide you southwest up the trail from this point forward. Navigate the rocky mountain side with caution, keeping an eye out for loose boulders and rocks. As you begin your ascent, it will get aggressively steep and rocky. Scramble up the talus past Navajo glacier and up the Airplane Chute. Explore the plane's remnants before continuing up the gulley. Once you conquer the climb, you will summit Navajo Peak. If it is a clear day, sights of neighbouring Indian Peaks and the alpine landscape below will reward you.

Bask in the beauty of the Colorado Front Ranges and rehydrate before attempting your descent. Take it slow as you maneuver back down Navajo Peak the way you came. Descend the rocky talus and follow the cairns back to Isabelle Glacier Trail. Retrace your steps back to the carpark.

Getting to the Navajo Peak Hike Trailhead

The Navajo Hike departs from the Long Lake Trailhead in the Brainard Lake Recreational Area. Parking permits are required and can be purchased on-site. Note that the Brainard Lake Recreational Area closes seasonally from late October until mid-June.

Route Information

  • Backcountry Campground

    Yes, permits required.

  • When to do


  • Pets allowed

    Yes - On Leash

  • Family friendly


  • Route Signage


  • Crowd Levels


  • Route Type

    Out and back

Navajo Peak Hike Elevation Graph

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