Hiking Mount Antero: A Great Class 2 Scramble

Mt Antero is one of the more southern Sawatch 14ers and one of the most accessible. An old mining road climbs close to the summit, allowing those with a 4WD vehicle and high clearance to get high on the slopes before hiking. You do have to deal with passing jeeps, but the view from the summit is worth the road. It also means you’re guaranteed to have a good path to hike up for nearly the entire route. Before hiking Mount Antero, plan a visit with my route guide below.

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Hiking Mount Antero: Fast Facts

Hiking Mount Antero - West Slopes

Hiking Mount Antero starts at the Baldwin Gulch trailhead. If you have a 2WD car, you’ll need to park at the lower trailhead. If not, you can continue further up the mountain. Near 10,850′, you’ll come upon a creek crossing to cross either way. Head left carefully, taking extra care in spring and early summer when the water runs high.

Continue past the tree line as you begin hiking Mount Antero using the road’s series of switchbacks. Fight the temptation to cut these switchbacks as it degrades the alpine terrain and damages it for future generations. While the switchbacks are long, the slope is gradual, making for a reasonable elevation gain versus something extremely steep. Be careful and watch out for jeeps and trucks passing by in these higher sections.

Once you make it to the ridge, follow the road around the Point in front of you (which isn’t Antero, but a false summit). This is a good place to stop for a weather check to make sure things are clear enough to continue. After heading around the point, ascend a series of switchbacks up to the final ridge where the road will finally sputter out. From this point on, you will be hiking Mount Antero along with a dirt and rock trail.

From here, follow the right side of the ridge up to the summit. Patches of snow here exist late into the year, so bringing traction is generally a good idea while hiking Mount Antero.

This shows the final 300-400 crux of the climb to reach the summit. You can take the steeper, more direct line straight up the ridge or follow cairns for a more roundabout way to the right. Either way, don’t give up – you’re almost there!

Once you make it to the summit, enjoy your accomplishment. Get a good drink of water and a snack, and make sure you leave with plenty of time to get back to the tree line before afternoon thunderstorms become an issue. I hope you enjoyed my Mt Antero Route Guide. Good luck hiking Mount Antero, and safe travels on the trail.

Mt Antero Route Guide

A topographic map is a necessity for any 14er hike or climb. Below is a high-quality topographic map of the Mt Antero Route guide. I recommend you download a digital copy on your phone and print out a paper backup copy in case anything happens to your electronics.

Mt Antero Standard Route Guide

You should never start hiking Mount Antero without checking the weather forecast multiple times, from multiple sources. Here are several dependable sources for weather information for the Mt Antero route guide.

Mountain Forecast Mt Antero

NOAA Weather Forecast Mt Antero

Mt Antero Route Guide

The Mount Antero route can be driven nearly to the summit by small 4WD vehicles with good clearance. Most 2WD passenger vehicles can make it to the Baldwin Gulch trailhead.

DIRECTIONS TO THE BALDWIN GULCH TRAILHEAD:

From the junction of U.S. 285 and U.S. 24, south of Buena Vista, drive 5.5 miles south on U.S. 285 and turn right (west) on Chaffee County Road 162 – towards Mt. Princeton. Drive almost 12.5 miles on this road (dirt after 10 miles) to reach the signed Baldwin Gulch Jeep Road on the left (also listed as the 277 Road).
 
If you plan on parking here, there are plenty of pull-offs along the road. This is the lower trailhead. Short, high-clearance 4WD vehicles can drive up the 277 road. Above the river crossing (10,850′), there are dispersed camping spots along the side of the road. At any point along the road you can begin hiking Mount Antero.

Mount Antero is a long trek. There are many miles of hiking and a significant amount of scrambling at high altitude. A good pair of hiking boots are ideal for this kind of adventure. Here are my top hiking boot recommendations.

You should always bring the ten essentials with you on your trip (see the infographic below). To carry them all, bring a backpack with 20-30 liters capacity. These are several good backpack options that won’t break the bank. 

While trekking poles are not a necessity on this mountain, I use them myself as they offer many benefits and make hiking easier. If you want a pair, I share my personal favorites here

Don’t forget to bring 2 liters of water, and a good bit of snacks and food for the trail. Learn more about packing for a 14er here.

Camping near Mount Antero:

There are also many dispersed camping opportunities along forest roads near the trailhead ideal for those hiking Mount Antero. Note that camping is not allowed at the trailhead. Learn more about dispersed camping near 14ers here.

Lodging near Mount Antero:

There are many cabins available via Airbnb and other services in Buena Vista, Salida, and the surrounding area, ideal for those hiking Mount Antero.

Mount Antero gets a lot of traffic due to the high altitude 4WD road along its slopes. This increases the impact on the alpine tundra on this peak. Help preserve this mountain and area while hiking Mount Antero by following these Leave No Trace practices:

  • Plan ahead, review the route and pick a weekday or day in September to hike.
  • Stay on the trail, and keep dogs leashed on and off-trail to reduce trampling of alpine grass.
  • Leave your Bluetooth speaker at home and let nature’s sound reign.
  • Urinate off-trail, and pack out your waste – a cathole won’t work at high altitude.
  • Give wildlife a wide berth – 100 meters if possible. If they approach, back up to keep space.
  • Take nothing but pictures, and leave nothing but footprints.

Safe travels, and good luck hiking Mount Antero! Learn more about LNT on 14ers here.

Mount Antero is named for a Ute Native American Chief who advocated for peace between his tribe and the American settlers during the 19th century. It is one of three southern fourteeners named after Native Americans, along with Shavano and Tabeguache. Mount Antero is the only fourteen that has active mining going on close to its summit. The mine is for gemstones, rather than ore or precious metals, making the environmental impact more limited. The standard route follows an old mining road up much of the way to the summit before finishing with a short ridge scramble.

If you’re thinking about hiking Mount Antero but want to avoid the jeep traffic, consider taking the Little Browns Creek approach from the east. It is a far quieter trail through forests and high alpine meadows that meets up with the main route near the end of the road. It is my favorite way to hike Mount Antero, without a doubt.

Hiking Mount Antero is an inherently high-risk activity – do so at your own risk, and use the following best practices to help keep yourself safe.

  1. Research your route and bring a compass & topographic map.
  2. Check the weather forecast and stay home during inclement weather.
  3. Bring the Ten Essentials and the knowledge/skill to use them.
  4. Leave your plans with someone back home along with a detailed itinerary.
  5. Start early, and end early: Be back at tree line by noon to avoid lightning.
  6. Bring a buddy on your first ascent, preferably someone experienced.

NEW TO 14ERS? CHECK OUT MY BEGINNERS GUIDE FOR A SAFE FIRST SUMMIT!

Hiking Mount Antero is an inherently high-risk, dangerous activity. There is a significant risk of injury or death, even with proper planning and experience. Those using my guide accept all risks associated with climbing 14ers and do not hold this website or any information they obtain from it liable for any accidents or injuries that occur while engaging in these activities on Colorado’s high peaks. It is each hiker or climber’s responsibility to research their route carefully, bring the ten essentials, and practice other safe practices, though even these precautions do not eliminate risk and danger. Visit these summits at your own risk.

Alex Derr, Creator of The Next Summit

Alex is an Eagle Scout and mountaineer living in Denver, Colorado. He created The Next Summit to help others stay safe exploring the mountains and advocate to preserve the peaks for the future. You can subscribe to his Next Summit Newsletter here.

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