Mt. Audubon (13,229′)

We were looking for a relatively easy hike closer to Denver today, so Mount Audubon turned out to be a great choice. My lack of familiarity with the Indian Peaks Wilderness is somewhat surprising since I grew up in Boulder, but there are so many mountains and adventures in Colorado that you can’t do them all (well, I’m working on as many as I can!). Our day started from the Mitchell Lake Trailhead, which is right by Brainard Lake. For some reason, my usual car cash was missing, so we fumbled around to come up with the entry fee ($11). A short line was building up behind us and we were told to go ahead and pay it forward once we gather most of the amount. The area is cash or check only, which I knew but I simply forgot to go to the bank.

Well, it seems as though the entry fee goes to good use in the area as they have large parking lots with restrooms and the trails are very well maintained. The crowd level was busy, but reasonable with lots of available parking. As usual, we got there fairly early which helped out a bit. The penalties for sleeping in early on hiking days is almost never worth it!

Overall, Mt. Audubon is a great hike and a nice challenge! Great views of the surrounding Indian Peak Wilderness and wonderful views of Longs Peak and friends were definitely highlights. While the trail was not particularly difficult, we were quite surprised at how rocky the top section was. Also, it was incredibly windy as we reached the top section and made our way toward the summit. A few groups headed back down and several other groups stopped to wait for conditions to improve. There was no real exposure or anything, so we trudged along. On another day, this would’ve been a far more enjoyable hike. That said, it was well worth the trip and made for a memorable day!

Here are some pictures from our day:

Starting our day
Mount Toll (12,979′) just misses the cut as a 13er, but is an impressive looking peak along the hike.
Mt. Toll a little further up.
The front of the Front Range
Longs Peak (14,255′)
Mt. Audubon
Mt. Toll up a little higher on the trail.
Pawnee Peak and Mount Toll
Archie: “Uh, that looks sort of far guys?”
Long Peak with less of a zoom.
Another look at Longs Peak
Mid-slope working our way to the summit. Getting very windy!
Surprisingly rocky up toward the top. We may have missed the official trail slightly to avoid the wind. The rocks weren’t bad or anything, but it was annoying with the strength of the winds.
The final section to the summit.
Looking back down at our route up.
Teddy Grahams on the summit!
Looking back down at Brainard Lake and beyond.
There were numerous wind shelters on the summit, so we found a place to hide from the wind a little bit. We didn’t stay on the summit very long though as the wind was still whipping around to make it unpleasant.
Another summit shot! Looks at Pawnee Peak, Mt. Toll, and others
Longs Peak from the summit
Paiute Peak (13,088′)
Paiute Peak (13,088′)…I believe it would be a difficult class 2 or class 3 to tack this one on.
Summit Pano #1
Summit Pano #2
Elizabeth and Archie posing on the way down.
Archie and I posing
Archie!
Ears help with balance right!
Archie Rockin’ It!
We stopped for a quick water break, so Archie plopped down in the middle of the trail. So dramatic!
Looking back at the path up
Archie was getting hot and tired, so he headed for a quick catnap (er, dognap).
Mount Toll on our way back
Mt. Audubon from down low…brightened for your enjoyment!
Back at Brainard Lake
At Brainard Lake

See you next time!

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