Reservations possible?
RV Hookups
Potable water
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Pawnee is the campground within Brainard Lakes Recreation Area in the Rocky Mountains west of Boulder, Colorado. This is a perfect summer destination, sitting at a cool 10,400 feet of elevation and surrounded by proud spruce-fir forest in a sheltered glacial valley. It is right on the shores of Brainard Lake, which offers great fishing and wildlife viewing.

From here you can easily access the rest of the recreation area, which has numerous scenic lakes and trails. Hiking to the western edge will take you into the vast and rugged Indian Peaks Wilderness, with endless opportunity for overnight treks and backcountry camping. To stay in the wilderness area during the summer you will need a permit from the district office in Boulder or Granby.

Pawnee Campground has about 40 tent/car sites, many of which are large enough to accommodate RVs, though there are no hookups or dump stations. Each site is well-defined and nicely graveled, and includes a picnic table, trash can, and a fire ring with a grate. Pit toilets and water spigots are available throughout. Each site is limited to eight people except for two group sites that can accommodate 15 people each.

Due to cold temperatures and lingering snowpack, the campground is only open for a few months out of the year (late June or early July to early or mid-September), and it is used heavily during that time. You may arrive to find the campground full, especially weekends and holidays, but sites can be reserved for an additional $10 fee by calling 1.877.444.6777 or booking at Because opening and closing dates are contingent on weather, you should call the Boulder Ranger District office at 303.541.2500 if you are planning to arrive near the beginning or end of the short summer season.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)


Parking Pass

General Day Use Fee


Direct access to Brainard Lakes Recreation Area and Indian Peaks Wilderness.


Limited views from the campground. Short open season.

Pets allowed


Managed by

Forest Service

Reservation phone number

1 (877) 444-6777


ADA accessible
Vault toilet
Potable water

Recommended Campsites Without Photos

W8, 1


Nearby Adventures

Brainard Lake Recreation Area, Indian Peaks Wilderness


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