0 (0=Paved, 6=Very Difficult 4WD)
From Highway 72, just a mile or so north of the town of Ward, turn west onto America St./Brainard Lake road. Drive over 2 miles to reach the entrance to the Brainard Lake Recreation Area, pay the fee and continue 2 more miles to reach Brainard Lake. Pass the lake and continue 1 mile to the Mitchell Lakes trailhead. It has a large, paved parking area and restrooms. The Mitchell Lakes and Audubon Peak trails start on the north (upper) end of the parking lot.