Round Trip Distance: 5.7 miles
Elevation: 4495 - 4600 feet
Cellphone: 3-5 bars
Usage: Hiking - Biking - Dogs
Time: 3 hrs. 30 mins.
Facilities: Vault toilet at Connected Lakes
Attractions: Paved trail, wildlife, riparian habitat, easy access
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The Audubon Section of the Colorado River Trail stretches for about 1.5 miles from the Brach's Shopping Center, just off of Highway 340 in the Redlands, to the Connected Lakes/Promontory Point Section of the trail. For this hike I went all the way to Promontory Point and then looped around Connected Lakes and returned on the Audubon trail. This trail can also be combined with other trails, such as the Blue Heron Section, to make even longer excursions.
There are over 200 species of birds that visit the Audubon Section during various times of the year. A few of the easier birds to spot are bald eagles (in the winter months), blue heron, osprey, and several varieties of hawks and, of course, ducks. The winter months, when the tress are void of leaves, might provide the best opportunities for bird watching. Besides birds there are also rabbits, coyotes, mountain lion and deer to be seen occasionally.
I wouldn't say that there is an official trailhead but there is plenty of parking behind the shopping center. The only restrooms in this area are the ones in the stores such as Albertson's.
The trail winds through trees and brush that add a feeling of seclusion and adventure in the midst of the busy surroundings of the city.
A little less than a half mile along the trail is what I call the Owl Tree. In the springtime months you can just barely see the top of an owl's head over the edge of the nest and in time usually several chicks.
A rabbit laid motionless just a few feet from the trail. None of the many 'city dogs' that passed by noticed its presence. For that matter, neither did anyone else.
After about 1.5 miles the Audubon Section ends and the Promontory Point/Connected Lakes Section begins. Connected Lakes is a state park and an entrance fee is required if you are visiting by vehicle. There are vault toilets, that I believe are open year round, in the park.
I spoke with 2 other hikers that had seen a mountain lion several days previous to my visit. I believe there is a pair of the cats that mate in the vicinity each fall. I have heard eyewitness accounts of their conjugations.
There are 5 or 6 lakes along the trail that provide peaceful scenes to soothe the soul. This lake appeared to be covered with a glass mirror broken at times by fowl and fish.
There are numerous benches and picnic areas where the contemplative mind can find abundant nourishment from natures horn of plenty.
And there are several bridges, all without trolls (I think), that not only ease the passage over streams and sloughs, but add an air of excitement to the journeys quest.
With its paved paths the Colorado River Trail is well suited for anytime of the year. There had been several days of heavy rain and on this day it was too muddy to go anywhere else. It is nice to have such a high quality trail with such easy access as an alternative. The Audubon Section might just be the prettiest of all the city trails. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.