Mount Audubon Trail is a 7.6 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Nederland, CO that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from June until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
Mount Audubon trail is 8.4 miles, out-and-back, rated difficult. High mountain views of Rocky Mtn. National Park and Indian Peaks. Traffic is moderate and can be heavy on weekends. Start early due to being high above the timber line and exposed to lightning. Recommend summit by noon. $9 fee.
Awesome hike. 800ft vertical at the end was killer on the calves.
Went last week. Very windy and cold. Lots of Rocks. The Summit was awesome.
Highly recommended! We went on a Thursday morning, and there was hardly anyone on the trail. We had the summit (lots of very convenient wind shelters!) to ourselves. I'm sure it gets a lot more crowded on weekends. Definitely a good first peak to try if you're new to the area (acclimate yourself first!) and are interested in doing some of the easier 14ers soon. $10 entrance fee at the gate to park. Some of the cleanest park bathrooms I've seen, too!
This hike is not particularly difficult as long as you are acclimated to the altitude and in decent cardio shape, and the trail offers breathtaking scenery, wildlife, and snowfields along the way. Definitely one of the most accessible summits in the area.
Tough but fun. Great views at the top.
Beautiful hike. Started pretty late, around 1:30pm on a Saturday. Snatched 1 of 2 parking spots, did have to wait about 15-20min at the park entrance for park to empty a little. No storms, a little bit of wind but it wasn't bad, and best part, no crowds! Had the whole peak to myself. It was perfect! It is an exposed hike but it never got too hot (wind helped stay cool). In my opinion it is NOT a strenuous hike, just a little rocky.
It's a pretty nice hike with great views all over, especially at the end with a long nice scramble. Good stamina a must.
Did not care much for this trail. 3/4 of the trail is above tree line and it was extremely windy. I started at 7:20 am in morning and it was windy and cold. All I heard was the wind howling through the entire hike. The headwind made the already rocky trail challenging. The trail is fairly well marked with cairns until the final 600 ft scramble, over big rocks, where it was hard to find. I saw people going their own way. With the windy conditions, I found the trail strenuous, particularly the final scramble to the summit. The views at the top were fabulous but I did not even get a chance to appreciate it cause the wind was blowing me sideways; I am petite. Barely got in like 4 pics before making a hasty retreat down. There are some wind shelters up there.
Don't know why the trail is listed as 4 miles- it is more like 8 miles round trip. With windy conditions it took me almost 3:30 hrs to get to the summit (including 2 quick 5-10 min snack breaks).
All I remember of this hike is rocks & more rocks (see pics) and the howling infernal wind! Did not enjoy it one bit. Did see picas and Marmots prancing about and saw beautiful alpine gentians blooming but I was too tired to appreciate them. Maybe if you get calm, not windy day this might be more enjoyable.
This is a difficult, uphill, mostly above tree-line hike over rocky terrain. But, don’t let this stop you from attempting it, even partially. It is also a beautiful journey, with wildflowers, a snowfield, and glorious views of the adjacent lands.
Trip Stats: August 15, 2015. Solo. Clear and sunny with scattered clouds; storm formation began north of the peak around 2:00 pm, but I didn’t encounter any rain. Cool and very windy above tree-line on the ascent; warmer with a slight breeze on the descent. Start time: 7:15 am at Mitchell Lake Trail Head. Arrival at peak: 11:15 am. Departure from peak: 12:30 pm. Arrival back at parking lot: 3:30 pm. Trail traffic was light. There were 4 groups on the peak when I arrived; during my descent, I passed three other groups climbing up.
Do plan on getting to the trail head early if you want a close parking spot. When I arrived at 7:00 am there were about a dozen spots left at the Mitchell Lake TH. There are two toilets and some picnic tables at the parking lot.
The trailhead begins from the parking lot at an elevation of 10,500 ft (USDA). The first 1.7 miles is through a series of forested switchbacks that provide excellent views of the range to the southwest. The trail gets rockier and steeper as it continues through scrub and tundra, with rivers of talus (or bigger rocks of different origin than those on the trail) flowing through the trail from time to time that can easily catch trekking poles if you’re using them. The wildflowers were beautiful––fellow, white, red, and blue––though definitely waning. A snowfield is visible as one continues above tree line, before another set of switchbacks, and on this day about ten people were sliding down it in their shoes, using trekking poles for balance. Pika, yellow-bellied marmot, and American Pipits were abundant. The last half-mile (with 600 ft of elevation gain) is up a pile of rocks / talus. There are cairns that mark a few of the better routes, but their paths can be difficult to follow, so expect to use a combination of cairn-following and scrambling to get to the top at 13,223 ft (USDA).
“The Best Boulder Hikes,” a Colorado Mountain Club Pack Guide, describes this hike in its introduction as a “strenuous, high-altitude mountaineering experience.” However, they go on to rate it as a “moderate” hike. I have another map that ranks hikes on the back, and this one is in the difficult section for it’s elevation gain alone. The USDA lists it as moderate-difficult, which also works with me. If you’re used to hiking and climbing and in good physical condition, then this is probably a moderate hike for you.
This hike was a lot of firsts for me. This is easily the hardest hike I've completed. The highest I have even gone on a hike. First time "scambling" rocks. The first part isnt all that difficult although the elevation sneeks up on you as you get closer to the base prior to the scramble. I guess there was a trail up to the summit however my hikng buddies found making our own way up was just as good, it was hard to see where the trail was! We definitely were not alone on this hike. There were folks already at the summit, other coming up and down however there was plenty of space on top and on the trail so it didnt feel overly crowded. This hike made me realize I have a lot of work to do endurance wise and I'm not quite read for 14ers. With that being said, I hiked this nearly a year ago and I feel I have come a long way since then. I would gladly do this hiking again!
Beautiful views. The trail is very rocky. Very, Very windy at the peak. We had our early lunch inside one of the wind shelters that are scattered all over the top. I agree with Jamie, the trail was very well marked and our group all kind of scattered as we neared the summit; just trying to find the best way to get over the boulders.
Got an early start, about 830AM, it says about 4.5 hours, but that's assuming you're used to the elevation. It took us a little over 5 hours, with a few stops on the way up. This overall was an awesome hike, at first I didn't understand the black diamond rating, but as you start to get to the summit, the boulders make it a little more difficult. The trail was marked great until you hit the start of the summit, there cairns but they are difficult to make out, and in my opinion making my own way up and down the boulders was easier than taking what trail we could find, as it was pretty slick on the way down. Def reccomend this for people who maybe aren't ready for their 14er yet, or like me just enjoy a good challenge.
We got a late start. Did not summit but got to about 12500ft. This is a great trail and and the views are fantastic. I will definitely be back. In fact, I am planning a camping spree in this area, so hopefully I will make several peaks.
Trail head is at north edge of Lake Mitchel parking lot. If it is full then use Lake Brainard Parking lot.
This was a beautiful, yet hard hike! It was my 1st 13'er and I'm glad to have one under my belt now. We started around 10:30 am and were lucky to still get a spot at the trail head, because someone was leaving as we were arriving. If you don't start early, you will be forced to park at Brainard Lake and that will add 1.5 miles rt to your hike. The trail is tough, lots of rock and you will definitely have to do some scrambling as you reach the summit. Overall, amazing views and I will definitely be back at some point.
This was going to be our first 13er in Colorado. We unfortunately had to end our hike at 12,880 feet because I got very sick. I did not think Altitude sickness could get this bad. I was 100% sure that I would do this hike without any problem but my altitude sickness got in the way. I did not enjoy this hike because of how sick I got. The wind was pretty bad.