Date hiked: 11/09/16
Mileage: 15.9 miles
Head Count (how many other hikers I saw):3 mountain goats.
Since its discovery the late 1800s, Mt. Antero has been known for having one of the highest concentrations of Aquamarine in the country, and became a famous spot for rockhounds, professional and otherwise, to come mining for the gemstone. Until the 1950s, when CR-277, an eyesore on an otherwise beautiful mountain, was laid across the slopes, all mining had to be done by foot.
From the trailhead on Chalk Creek Drive, head south up CR-277 as it follows Baldwin Creek to the western slopes of Mt. Antero. The trail keeps a level pace through the first 2.6 miles as it gains a slow ascent to Baldwin Gulch.
At Baldwin Gulch, the trail splits as it brings your first glimpse to Cronin Peak and Grizzly Mountain. Heading left onto CR-278, the route crosses Baldwin Creek, growing steeper until it hits treeline 1.3 miles uphill.
Standing at 12,000 feet, the next 1,000+ feet are gained along a long series of switchbacks carved into the western slope of the mountain. Gradual panoramic views of Mt. Antero, Boulder Mountain, Cronin Peak and the southern flank of the Collegiate Peaks rise along the horizons.
6.4 miles in, the trail splits once again at an unmarked trail kiosk. Continuing left, take another left at the final fork just 1/10th of a mile beyond, this time becoming CR-278A. The oncoming Jeep road offers a second approach to the summit from Brown’s Creek.
From here, hike north on the switchbacks towards point 13,800′, then follow the ridgeline to the summit.
(From Buena Vista): From Highway 24, take Main Street west for .8 miles. Turn left onto CR-321. Follow this for 8.1 miles, then turn right onto CR-162/Chalk Creek Drive. The lower trailhead is on the left 7.8 miles down the road at CR-277. There is a pullout here with space for a few cars. With high clearance and a short wheel base, you can follow CR-277 and reach 12,000 feet, cutting out about 4 miles from the hike. The road narrows quite a bit at this point, but continues all the way to 13,100 feet, cutting out another 2 miles.
16.7 miles; 29 min to the lower 2WD trailhead.