Situated in the Indian Wilderness of Colorado's Front Range, Mount Audubon takes its place about one mile east of the Continental Divide and the resulting chain of rugged peaks that define the local geography. Unlike some of its neighbors, Mount Audubon is a gentle mountain that is best characterized by broad ridges and large expanses of tundra. As such, it is a mountain best appreciated by those who favor a leisurely stroll among the wildflowers over a hard scramble among the talus. Stunning views of the other peaks in the area can be had from the summit and this a good place to start thinking about future outings in the Indian Peaks. The true grandeur of the area is well revealed from Audubon and those who experience it will want to return.
Mount Audubon has several routes but is usually climbed via an easy trail from Mitchell Lake Trailhead in the Brainard Lake Recreation Area. Gerry Roach's book, Colorado's Indian Peaks is a good reference if you're looking for something more challenging. The combination of great scenery and relatively easy hiking make this a popular outing. A great way to experience the mountain would be to take the Mt. Audubon, Blue Lake Loop.
From Hwy 72, just north of Ward, turn west onto the Brainard Lake Road. Follow the road for five miles to Brainard Lake. From there, follow the signs to the Mitchell Lake Trailhead. The Brainard Lake Road is closed about half-way in from late October until late June. Skis, snowshoes, or a bicycle might make access easier.
There is a $10 entrance fee (good for five days) to the Brainard Lake Recreation Area. An annual pass costs $55.
Here is a summary of the Indian Peak Wilderness Rules and Regulations:
Motorized vehicles are not permitted, including bicycles.
Organized groups (maximum size of 12) must have permit for camping or hiking at all times.
Campsites must be at least 100 yards from lakes and streams.
Fires are prohibited east of the Continental Divide. Fires are allowed in certain areas west of the divide.
Dogs must be leashed.
The information above was kindly supplied by Kane.
More details about the Brainard area are available here.
When To ClimbMount Audubon is climbed year-round, but optimal conditions generally occur from late June through September. Be aware that this also the season for afternoon thunderstorms in the Colorado mountains. Hikers should plan to be on the way down by noon.
CampingPawnee Campground offers sites for established camping during the months that the recreational area is open. It is prohibited otherwise.
A permit is required for camping in the wilderness area between June 1 and Sept. 15. Permits are issued for 19 travel zones within the Indian Peak boundaries. Permits are $5.00 at the following offices. For information or to apply for a use permit, contact the U.S. Forest Service, Boulder Ranger District, 2140 Yarmouth Ave., 303-541-2500, or the Sulphur Ranger District, 9 Ten Mile Drive, P.O. Box 10, Granby, CO 80446, 1-970-887-4100. For recorded information, call the Indian Peaks Wilderness Information Line at 303-541-2519. Only a certain number of groups are allowed in each travel zone for overnight camping. Camping is limited to two weeks in any four-week period; the two weeks can be in any travel zone.
Mountain ConditionsClick here
for the latest forecast from the National Weather Service.
for the latest report from the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.
The Boulder Ranger District USDA Forest Service maintains a good page with information about Mt. Audubon here.
For a live shot of conditions in the area, try the
Tundra-Cam and pan the resulting image to see Mt. Audubon. Niwot ridge tundra cam