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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 is primarily used for hiking and is best used from June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 7.4 miles Elevation Gain: 2,670 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

hiking

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

fee

Although this hike is mostly in the Indian Peaks Wilderness (Roosevelt National Forest), it starts in the Brainard Lake Recreation Area. There is a $12 fee (cash only) to enter this area. From mid-October to mid-June the road to this trailhead is closed. Visitors may park just outside the closed gate for free at the Gateway Trailhead. Parking at this trailhead would add several miles to this hike roundtrip.

hiking
4 days ago

Amy Lyn, see you on the trail!

hiking
12 days ago

Amazing hike. Completed yesterday 5/23/20. Gate is still closed so you have to walk roughly 3 miles from the parking lot (free) to the Mt. Audubon trailhead and back. From the trailhead, it is a 4 mile hike up to Mt Audubon. All in all, we clocked in at 14.66 miles and ~3,500 vert. gain for the day, so be prepared to do more than the distance stated above. The trail is still snowy. We packed spikes but were able to get by in just our hiking shoes, although you should expect to fall in up to your waist in the snow on occasion. Definitely leave early. (we left the parking lot at 6 am, and we're back at the car around 2:30pm with some break and summit time). The trail is not well marked bec of the snow until you make it above the tree line, so download the offline map (you still may have trouble). Above the tree line, there are well marked cairns. The summit was warm and not windy. Beautiful views. There were manmade rock alcoves to sit in and good vibes at the top.

hiking
snow
15 days ago

Started the trail around 0600 and the snow was packed up until around mid-day and then became slush. Would advise a face mask as it is very windy the last half mile to the summit. Also would advise wearing snow spikes.

hiking
off trail
snow
17 days ago

As hiking in the snow has its advantages, fewer hikers, great views, there are challenges along the way such as it can get cold, slush snow, postholing knee deep can get tiresome. Come weather prepared, and start early if you plan to hike to the summit! Other than the snow, overall is a great and beautiful summit hike. The gates is closed and you would need to walk up on the road and snow up to the trailhead. Views at the summit is incredible especially with snow peak mountains!

hiking
25 days ago

Road still closed, so plan for the extra 2.5 miles to the actual lake. We took snow shoes but did not use them. Snow was firm in the morning and softened up considerably in the afternoon. Ended the day with wet feet but smiling faces!

hiking
1 month ago

Gorgeous day. Although there're a couple of cars at the trailhead, I didn't ran into anyone after the road snowshoeing part. Thank you for whoever broke the trail! I was still slightly lost when getting up the ridge, but overall gorgeous view and no one around. Easy for social distancing.

snowshoeing
no shade
off trail
rocky
snow
2 months ago

Summited Mt Audubon and Notabon on 3/26 in beautiful conditions after a failed attempt the Friday before due to weather and having to break trail the entire way. This time it was a quick 45 minute hike up to the trailhead from the winter gate. Only needed snowshoes from Mitchell lake trailhead to the end of Beaver Creek. Once I got to the Mt. Audubon trail it was mostly a tundra walk with some patches of hard wind blown snow I could walk on in boots. I reached the summit of Audubon around 5 hours after I started and the whole trip took about 8 hrs with a solid hours worth of hanging out on the summit and the east side of Brainard lake on the way down. View up top is incredible and I could clearly see RMNP to the north, much of the IPW and even Pikes to the far south. Definitely gonna be windy above treeline so bring layers and goggles and maintain your social distancing. I started at 7:30 and didn't see anyone until Brainard on my way down at 2pm

hiking
blowdown
icy
snow
6 months ago

Buddy and I hiked from the winter lot today (12/1). No one had broken Trail since before the last couple of storms so we got bogged down breaking knee-hip deep powder, even with snowshoes it was slow going. Couple wrong turns didn’t help either. Made it to the saddle above tree line and had to call it a day (winds sustained 40+mph). Made it 10.3 miles out of what would be a 14.5ish mike round trip. Terrific views! Will be back to bag this peak in the winter, but hopefully someone else breaks trail!

hiking
7 months ago

Hiked it 10/14 - parked at Mitchell Lake TH. Windy and gusty right out of the tree line, and progressively more windy all the way to the summit. Some snow, but didn’t need micro spikes (brought them along in case). Be careful going through the two spots where snow is across the trail - it appeared that someone had stepped through a gap in the rocks that had been covered by snow...looked like it could be a painful result. Temp was about 30, but wind was howling at the summit, making it far colder. Went with day pack, base layer, North Face mid layer, face mask, and trucker hat. Well marked with cairns after the tree line. Incredible views on every side of summit. Overall great hike - my first thirteener.

hiking
7 months ago

Hiked this on 10/15/19 and the road the main trailhead was closed. I parked in the winter lot and walked to the regular trailhead which added about 6-7 miles total to the hike round trip (so instead of an 8 mile hike it was a 14-15 mile hike). Overall not too difficult of a hike just very long with the added mileage. The trail itself is plainly obvious with lots of cairns except on the final pitch to the summit (which is pretty much just a giant talus slope) it’s kind of confusing where the trail is from where the cairns are placed. However the talus slope is almost all stable so if you get off trail then you just need to head straight up until you see another cairn. Once you get above treeline expect it to be extremely windy the whole time and even worse at the summit. The views from the summit are incredible, but I could only stay up there 10-15 mins because it was so cold even in the wind shelters. There were about 5 other cars in the winter parking lot, but only saw one other group in the very beginning, but not a single person on the actual summit trail. Overall very fun and not too difficult hike, but I would probably only do it again in the summer because the extra mileage is killer.

hiking
7 months ago

9/6/19: loved this easy summit. Great trail throughout, amazing views, and not crowded at all. Recommend driving north of Brainard Lake to some of the side of the road parking spots up there (the TH parking lot fills up by 730 am on weekends). Windy summit but had great shelters!

hiking
scramble
8 months ago

Clocked in closer to 10 miles. Took my slow hiking self about 8 hours. Lots of of pine trees during the first half but no aspen. Not a spectacular fall specific hike. It lost a star because the scree in the top half mile made the trail difficult to follow & sketchy. It was encouraging to be able to look up and see how close I was to the summit. Gorgeous views. Fun to walk through the clouds. Tips: bring layers, extra food/water, trekking poles, sunscreen & sunhat (maybe even a beanie too). Don't skip it for this hike.

hiking
rocky
scramble
snow
8 months ago

I arrived at the parking lot at 7:30am and there were many open spots. The parking lot and road is very well maintained and restrooms are available. The trail is very well marked and I never once was confused where to go. Close to the peak the trail becomes very rocky but their are cairns that make it easy to know the way. There is significant snow the last half mile. The scramble to summit it difficult but so worth it and about a quarter mile. There was little wind today, more at summit but not too strong. Saw probably about 12/14 people total the entire hike. Took about 4 hours total - took the descent slow and careful due to snow and ice.

hiking
8 months ago

Great hike in beautiful weather with little wind. I was in minimalist footwear and not used to wearing them on granite, so bagged the final 1/4 mile summit scramble due to sore feet. Great views of fall color and fresh snow on the Indian Peaks. Most of the insufferable Boulderite dog mommies and daddies that make Brainard Lake area trails a carnival of barks and poop avoid this hike because of its difficulty. Less than 20 people and one dog during the whole day on the mountain. Highly recommended!

hiking
fee
no shade
rocky
scramble
8 months ago

7 hours slower paced trail is in great shape. awesome views. winds at top were about 70 to 80. could not stand up. the last leg is a rough steep rock scramble up the summit cone. there are rock shelters at the top to sit in and get out of the wind. YouTube video search Rick camarata.

hiking
scramble
8 months ago

9/23 started around 0830. Not many people for a Monday. VERY windy for the majority of the hike which made it feel much cooler but I was clothed appropriately. The trail is not difficult to follow until you get to the saddle before the final summit attempt. There are cairns to follow but just be careful about the route you choose. Amazing views atop the peak.

hiking
8 months ago

Wind was brutal today. Got to Mitchell Lake parking lot at 7:20am and it was practically empty. Should have know it was going to be a bad day when I drove through Ward, CO and it was pretty windy there.Got above treeline around 8am (1.4 miles from trailhead) and the ferocious head wind was unrelenting. It was 48 degrees and I was dressed for the conditions but I have seldom encountered such a strong headwind on a trial. If it had been a side-wind, probably would have continued but gave up after 2-miles under the category of "there will always be another day" as the headwind and the cloudy skies made the hike very unpleasant. Parking lot was still pretty empty when I got back around 9:15am. Did a short hike up to Isabelle Lake afterwards and swung back through the Mitchell Lake parking lot around to see the availability status - still pretty of openings.By 12pm the sun cam out but the wind never seemed to fade too much.

hiking
8 months ago

Amazing views!!! The wind was bad on the summit and a small portion of the hike up, but it calmed down quite a bit and made for a pretty spectacular day! The toughest part is in the last 1/4 mile going up to the summit, but that is short and really not bad. Those views though

hiking
8 months ago

This clocked in around 10 miles (a little more the AllTrails estimate) round trip and was absolutely perfect on 9/16. I originally attempted this hike on 9/12 and the winds were so uncomfortable, cold and strong that I turned around 2.5 miles in. Great hike, just check the wind speeds beforehand and plan accordingly.

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