Mount Audubon Trail

HARD 86 reviews
#12 of 109 trails in

Mount Audubon Trail is a 7.4 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Ward, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
7.4 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2670 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

lake

views

wild flowers

rocky

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.

hiking
4 months ago

Did this in 9/2016. 3rd ever hike and it was brutal above tree line. Little bit of snow, sleet and rain....and lots of wind. Last 3/4 mile up visibility was terrible. Fellow hiker caught up to me and we booked it to the top. No views whatsoever! Would've turned around if I continued by myself as the weather was getting rough. Started this hike at 7:30 AM. Wear light but very warm and wind resistant clothing if doing this late Sept! Stayed in the small town of Nederland after, awesome place!

4 months ago

I’ve lived/worked in the Brainard Lake Recreation Area for the last 4 years. Two-thirds of this trail is above the tree line. An early start is strongly recommended...no later than 9:00 am. The fee was raised in 2017 to $11.00.

hiking
7 months ago

Great trail! Hiked this yesterday (9/23/2017) and left the trailhead at about 7:30am I believe. Completed 85% of it and had to turn around due to snow at the top.

hiking
7 months ago

14ers view without the crowd. Super windy and cold at the top. 70% of the trail is above treeline so keep an eye on the weather. Well marked trail except for the last 1/4 of it is a rock scramble but plenty of cairns to guide you.

hiking
7 months ago

Good hike to a 13000+ summit. Views are amazing from top! Trail is well marked except for last 600-800ft. .. just go up and pick your path carefully. Can be windy and cold on top so be prepared.

7 months ago

Awesome views from the top. Well worth the trek!

hiking
8 months ago

This hike is very rocky, but no climbing. Dress appropriately. It was very windy once you hike above the tree line. But all in all a great hike with beautiful views.

hiking
8 months ago

Got there early and parking was available at Mitchell Lake TH. Fairly easy hike up to the peak where the trail is lost among the rocks. Great all around view of the range along with Coney Lakes. Quick moving storm brought rain and clear skies after it passed. Well worth it.

hiking
8 months ago

Very fun hike. Did it on 8/5, and didn't make it to the top due to not being prepared for the cold, and incoming thunderstorms. Temps drop rapidly after 12k ft. I will be back in the coming by weeks to summit with two more layers! Difficult trail only because of the elevation, otherwise would call it moderate.

hiking
8 months ago

Great trail in good condition, very rocky though so opted to leave the dog home; a wise move would've torn up his paws. Beautiful summit views but don't forget your wind breaker!

hiking
8 months ago

360 views today!

hiking
9 months ago

Awesome views. Great hike for someone from the east coast. Elevation made it a little tough, but we just took our time. It was a beautiful day and no wind.

hiking
9 months ago

Great hike from the moose greeting at the start to the marmot goodbye at the summit. 10 mile roundtrip from the Lake Brainard parking area.

hiking
9 months ago

Trail is in great condition! No traction needed. Not too muddy either. Once you arrive at the saddle, there's a decently marked trail immediately to the left (not further down where I've tended to go on previous trips) up to the summit that I don't remember from last year. Helpful!

hiking
9 months ago

Trail conditions: mostly dry. Some mellow snow patches but nor gear required and it's soft. Early stages of wildflowers.

9 months ago

Great hike, don't underestimate the difficulty. There are still snow spots to walk over. They get slippery and the mid-upper trail turns into a low-flow stream.

Monday, January 02, 2017

We did Audobon in the Fall 2 years ago and were successful.

Today (1/1/17) we started at the Gateway TH, and it was 3.1 miles just to get to the Audobon TH due to snow closures. So, we only did about an additional mile and had to turn back.

It's a great trail, we enjoyed it in the Fall and this time of year, the snowshoe trails are great too! Windy windy day!!!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Awesome hike. 800ft vertical at the end was killer on the calves.

hiking
Sunday, October 02, 2016

Went last week. Very windy and cold. Lots of Rocks. The Summit was awesome.

hiking
Tuesday, August 02, 2016

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!

hiking
Monday, July 25, 2016

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.

hiking
Saturday, July 23, 2016

Tough but fun. Great views at the top.

hiking
Wednesday, July 13, 2016

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.

hiking
Sunday, July 10, 2016

It's a pretty nice hike with great views all over, especially at the end with a long nice scramble. Good stamina a must.

hiking
Monday, July 04, 2016

Fun hike

hiking
Monday, August 31, 2015

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.

hiking
Sunday, August 16, 2015

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.

hiking
Saturday, June 20, 2015

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!

hiking
Saturday, August 02, 2014

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.

hiking
Monday, July 21, 2014

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.

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