Boulder, CO: Mount Audubon

Compared to its jagged neighbors, this 13,000-foot summit is one of the easier peaks (no technical scrambling required) to tick off in the Indian Peaks Wilderness.
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Compared to its jagged neighbors, this 13,000-foot summit is one of the easier peaks (no technical scrambling required) to tick off in the Indian Peaks Wilderness.

From the well-signed trailhead, hike northwest on Mount Audubon Trail. The first stretch is easy going as the path climbs gently through fragrant evergreens and passes a golden meadow with intermittent views of the Indian Peaks. At mile 1.3, cross a small boulder field dotted with stunted spruce before heading above treeline.
Pikas squeak and scurry across rocks as you climb through alpine meadows and cross another rocky landslide. On cloud-free days, Longs Peak (the highest peak in Rocky Mountain National Park) dominates the northern skyline from a grassy saddle at mile 3.4. The final 0.3-mile stretch slows down the pace and ascends talus slopes to Mount Audubon. Pull out the camera and capture stunning views from Lake Granby to Winter Park to Rocky Mountain National Park before retracing your route back to the trailhead.
-Mapped by Kim Phillips and Matt Vellone

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 12.2

Waypoints

AUD001

Location: 40.083763, -105.5811

Follow Mount Audubon Trail, a wide, dirt path that travels northwest through shady conifers.

AUD002

Location: 40.086708, -105.58564

Easy-going trail gently climbs to the north.

AUD003

Location: 40.0905, -105.587326

Pass a golden meadow rimmed by conifers on the right; the Indian Peaks rise dramatically in the background. In .1 mile, the trail switchbacks to the left; gaps in trees reveal views of Brainard Lake to the south; look for white-tailed ptarmigans near the trail.

AUD004

Location: 40.092995, -105.58358

The trail rounds to the north and crosses a small boulder field dotted with stunted conifers.

AUD005

Location: 40.095398, -105.58445

Pass through treeline, and begin traveling up expansive slopes. In 450 feet, pass a skinny wooden post stuck in a rock cairn.

AUD006

Location: 40.097973, -105.586159

A large cairn blocks the path. In 100 yards, keep left @ Y-junction; Beaver Creek Trail diverges on the right. Climb continues ahead.

AUD007

Location: 40.099983, -105.58799

Look to the right across alpine meadows for a dramatic skyline dominated by Longs Peak's distinct summit ridge.

AUD008

Location: 40.102707, -105.597672

Follow narrow path across a small boulder field; four switchbacks ahead.

AUD009

Location: 40.102169, -105.607193

Navigate a rock-strewn path. Look behind you to the east for views of Boulder's Flatirons and the eastern plains; pikas squeak and scurry across rocks surrounding trail.

AUD010

Location: 40.102753, -105.611275

Longs Peak comes into view again, rising behind open, grassy slopes. In 650 feet, you'll crest a grassy saddle.

AUD011

Location: 40.102978, -105.613693

Start the final .3-mile summit climb up talus-covered slopes; cairns mark this off-trail route. A small, rounded rock wall can be found 350 feet to the northwest on the saddle—a perfect place to take shelter from the howling winds. Look down rocky slopes to find 2 small lakes.

AUD012

Location: 40.10218, -105.614166

Continue scramble up talus slopes, heading southwest. Audubon's broad summit awaits.

AUD013

Location: 40.099197, -105.616264

Mount Audubon (13,223 ft.): Rock shelters dot this long, rock-strewn summit. Views stretch across the Indian Peaks to Lake Granby, Winter Park, the Gore Range, and Longs Peak. Follow same route back to the trailhead.

Meadow

Location: 40.090485, -105.587082

Indian Peaks

Location: 40.091286, -105.585854

Views of the Front Range

Location: 40.103077, -105.60218

View of Longs Peak

Location: 40.102703, -105.611206

Grassy Ridge

Location: 40.103344, -105.613007

Panoramic Views

Location: 40.103077, -105.613541

Summit Climb

Location: 40.102169, -105.614128

Rocky Slopes

Location: 40.101475, -105.614662

Mount Audubon Summit

Location: 40.099289, -105.61615