Mt Antero Colorado Hike Review

General Mountain Information: Mt Antero

Video Hike Review: Mt Antero

Mt Antero Rating: ★★ (⅖ Stars)

Distance: 14 -16 miles RT (Exact distance depends on where you start) – from lower TH

Elevation Start: 9,400 ft – from lower TH

Mt Antero Elevation: 14,275 ft

Total Elevation Gain: 5,200 ft – from lower TH

Estimated Time to Complete: 10-12 hours RT – from lower TH

Difficulty: Hard What does this mean?

Class: Class 2

Season: June – September (expect snow outside of this period)

Check the Weather Forecast

Trailhead: Baldwin Gulch

Getting Here: From US 285, about 4 miles south of Buena Vista, turn onto County Road 162. This is the same road you can take to get to Mt Princeton as well (there will be a sign indicating this). Drive on CR 162 for 12 miles until you reach the small opening for CR 277. There will be a small brown sign with white lettering that indicates the start of CR 277. About 20 yards after the entrance of the road, you will see a large wooden informational sign.

You can enter in “Mount Antero Trailhead – Road” into your favorite navigational device. 

Parking: Mt Antero has rather limited parking if you do not have a 4WD vehicle. Along CR 162, there is a small pull off that can fit about 10 cars, other than that, you will have to drive up the road for any kind of pull offs or parking areas. Parking is free and there is no bathroom anywhere along the trail.

Dogs: Mt Antero is a dog friendly hike, almost year round. Clearly, in the winter avalanche risks are always a factor, but in early spring or early fall when lingering snow remains, I would still give the green light to dogs on Mt Antero. There are some rocky areas that may hinder smaller dogs or dogs with soft paws towards the summit and this is a long hike, bring plenty of snacks and water.  

Camping: Mt Antero has rather limited car camping options, but plenty of areas to camp once you start up county road 277. In my opinion, some of the best spots are about 3 miles into the trail after you have turned onto 278 and crossed Baldwin Creek. If you are looking for a secluded camping weekend, this is probably not your spot though as the area is heavily populated with 4×4 vehicles during the summer months.

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Make it a Loop: Mt Antero is an out and back hike, but you could easily add neighboring Mount White to your hike, which is a “13er”. To do this, you would take a right on the 4WD road right before the final ridge of Mt Antero. If you have an offroad vehicle, you could drive nearly to the summit of Mount White.

Trail Summary: Mt Antero is the highest peak of the Southern Sawatch Range of Colorado at 14, 276 feet. This hike could be really long or really short, depending on your mode of transportation. Mt Antero is a hard hike if you start at the lower TH but not technically difficulty, topping off at Class 2.

 

Trail Route: From Lower TH – You can click on this for more detailed information. 

Trail X Factors: Weather

Mt Antero has lots of high elevation hiking, so you better check the weather forecast before heading out to hike this beast. Most of this trail is above treeline at high altitude, so if a storm rolls in, you really have no place to seek shelter. As I learned, high winds can be a real damper on Mt Antero as well. Be sure to plan your trip accordingly or your gonna have a bad time.

Gear Needed:

  • Mickey’s Mountain Kit
  • Hiking Shoes or Boots – helpful on the ridge line towards the top
  • Protection from the sun – lots of weather exposure on this hike
  • Water / Snack
  • Optional: Hiking Poles – great for the way down
  • Optional: Microspikes – helpful on loose dirt and snow
  • Optional: Camera
  • Optional: Snowshoes – if hiking in winter

Mick’s Tip: This is a pretty easy equation: Have a 4×4 car? Great, drive up to the end of the road and hike Mt Antero in about an hour. Don’t? Find someone who has a 4×4 car.  90% of the hike up Mt Antero is on 4×4 roads, which I imagine would be extremely annoying in the summer months. If you really wanted to hike this in the snow like I did, that is certainly an option, but learn from my mistakes and drive this mountain. No one is going to hold it against you.

Photography Tip: The roads up Mt Antero weave through forests with great views of neighboring peaks. Near Baldwin Creek, there are also some cool photo opportunities. However, in my opinion, the best views on the hike up Mt Antero are once you are near 13,000 feet in the massive open basin. Summit views on Mt Antero are best south and west. If you plan on hiking the entire mountain, pack light because that weight will add up over 16 miles.

Mick’s Trip: Mt Antero

November 2017

Veterans day Friday of 2017, I had the day off and was deciding which hike to do. During this time, my list of “14ers”, I had left was only 16, so my choices were somewhat limited. There was too much snow for most of the technical climbs I had left, which left me with a few choices: Mt Antero or Snowmass Mountain. Mt Antero was closer and a bit shorter in distance, so I decided to give it a whirl.

Mt Antero Hike Review
Crossing the stream at 2.6 miles.

Benjamin Franklin was clearly not a hiker because daylight savings is not your friend when you have a long, high elevation hike in the plans. I arrived to the lower trailhead (after driving by it the first time) around 7AM. I was expecting a long, slow day with lots of snow and wind, so I wanted to give myself as many hours in the daylight as possible.  I hit the trail with the sun slowly rising in the sky and was greeted with 3-4 inches of snow right away. I had not brought my snowshoes to Mt Antero and this decision would be one that would haunt me all day long. As I worked my way up the snow covered 4×4 road, I could make out one other set of footprints from the day before. These old footsteps were a saving grace because otherwise I would be breaking trail in the deep snow. The road was monotonous and fairly boring as it worked up the steep north valley that surrounded Mt Antero.

Mt Antero Hike Review
Positive attitude after a couple of miles!

Around 2.6 miles, I reached my first road junction of the day and peeled off to the left on CR 278 to continue up to Mt Antero. I crossed the frozen stream and was immediately greeted with deeper snow, now about calf deep. Those footsteps I was following earlier were now much harder to make out, so I ended up breaking my own trail in the deep snow for the rest of the way to the summit. After another 30 minutes of hiking, I finally broke treeline and could see the summit of Mt Antero. Like many 14ers, it seemed so close, but miles of hiking still separated me from the summit. I followed the 4×4 road as it snaked its way up the western slopes of Mt Antero. The wind had blown the snow into 2 feet deep banks on parts of the trail, while the sun had melted it down to mere inches in other sections. It was very hard to get in a rhythm due to this and the higher I hiked, the stronger the winds got. After a while, I decided to cut through some of the road’s switchbacks and head straight up sections of the slope. Although this is not good hiking practice in the summer due to trail erosion, I felt like it was a responsible decision to make given the amount of snow. These “shortcuts” ended up saving me about 2 miles RT, so I was happy with the decision!

Mt Antero Hike Review
Working my way up the 4WD roads, Cronin Peak in the background.

When I arrived to the ridge of the 4×4 road, I was greeted with views of a massive open area which sat around 13,000 feet. I could see Tab Peak and Mt Shavano in the distance along with 13er Mt White. The trail wound around to the eastern slopes of Mt Antero where it would stay for the reaminder of the hike. The winds here were just awful. Gusts so strong that I lost my balance, making for difficult filming conditions. I was so glad I had brought my buff to block my face and help keep the audio quality somewhat bearable. I continued on CR 278A (bearing left) as it worked up the last ridge of Mt Antero and reached the final parking area.  I kept thinking how awesome it would be if a helicopter landed and offered to give me a ride down after I summited Mt Antero. #wishfulthinking

Mt Antero Hike Review
The long, annoying switchbacks of the 4×4 road

The summit of Mt Antero was so close I could taste it, but even if the mountain could somehow scream my name, I would not have been able to hear it. The winds were whipping, causing snow to fly in the air and made the music pumping out of my headphones all but background noise. I decided to stay high on the ridge to avoid the snow and hopefully have some kind of a wind block. When I reached the final summit section, I knew there were two options: stay straight and head right up the ridge or go right and hike around a more indirect, yet less steep route to the summit. I decided to stay straight which was great in the sense that there was no snow, but the rocks were extremely unstable and my footholds were a 0/10 the entire way up. I finally reached the summit after about 6.5 hours of hiking. You would think I would have stayed here, basked in the sun and taken in the views of my hard earned trek. Nope. Wind was awful and the summit of Mt Antero was covered in snow with no wind blocks, so I sat for about 3 minutes, wolfed down a protein bar, chugged some water, shot some video and turned my ass right around.

Mt Antero Hike Review

I hate not being able to soak in summits. It makes me feel like I am just crossing off mountains from my list instead of soaking in my accomplishments. Alas, I had no choice though because the weather this day was just not cooperating with my lounging lunch break plans. I was very frustrated at this point, swearing and screaming out loud at the mountain like it could here me. “You will not beat me” was one yell that came to mind. My shouts were so loud that my stomach started to cramp. I could almost hear mother nature whispering at me “Yes I will!” While descending the final ridge, I stopped in a little rock cove where the wind could not reach to snack and re-hydrate. I sent off some texts to Jackie letting her know I was okay and eventually continued my trek down Mt Antero.

Mt Antero Hike Review
Summit of Mt Antero
Mt Antero Hike Review
Looking up at the final ridge, you can see the large parking area in the top left area of the picture.

I reached the car about 12 hours after I had initially left it and the sun was almost completely set.  I had spent all of my day light hours hiking Mt Antero and although I was more than done with this mountain, I now had 43 14ers down including the whole Sawatch Range. Overall, I didn’t have a very enjoyable time on Mt Antero. Frankly, there was far too much hiking on snow covered 4×4 roads and the weather was not on my side. I would recommend Mt Antero as a mountain that, if you have the option to drive up, you should. If you are looking for winter camping or hiking experience, this is not a bad spot but be careful as many of the slopes are avalanche prone. Check out my video hike review below for more information and footage of my time on Mt Antero.

Mt Antero Video Hike Review

 

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