Are you and your pooch in search of a new trail to travel in the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forest in the Rocky Mountains? The furific Mount Audubon Trail is a 7.6-mile round trip out and back hike, which is a ruggedly difficult trip due to the steep incline and rocky trail. In fact, you will go from an elevation of 10,500 feet to 13,223 feet in just 3.8 miles. Be aware that there is an $11 fee to enter the Brainard Lake Recreation Area. Be sure to bring water and clean up bags for the trek.
Your fun starts at the Mitchell Lake Trailhead in the Brainard Lake Recreation Area on Brainard Lake Road where you will find a huge barking lot that you can park in at no cost. You will start climbing the incline right away on the Beaver Creek Trail, which veers to the right (Mitchell Lake Trail is on the left) from the trailhead. The trail is rocky, but not too difficult here and you will continue to climb through the pine, fir, and aspen trees, which provide good shade most of the way.
After 1.7 miles, the Beaver Creek Trail meets the Mount Audubon Trail where you will turn west (left) to keep climbing through the trees and above the tree line. The views of the surrounding mountains and valleys from here are pawesome, so you better make sure you're ready to take some pictures. You will probably cross paths with a lot of dif-fur-rent critters on the path such as sheep, deer, elk, moose, and many others.
The developed trail stops at the saddle where you can stop and take some amazing photos of the Coney Lake drainage area and the surrounding valleys and lakes that were carved by glaciers over the years. This is the spot where you can get some great views of the front range as well as other Rocky Mountain ranges. The final half of a mile up the summit is not as clear of a path because not many people finish the climb.
You will have to follow whatever path you can find through the boulders, and it is a steep 600-foot climb, so make sure you have proper shoes and that you and your pooch are up to it. Once you and your fur buddy get to the top, you will be glad you made the trip because you will never see a view like this again. That is, until your next trip to Mount Audubon.