This report is mainly to help those who need more info on the 4wd road. We drove a 2004 Subaru Forester and made it across the Baldwin Gulch creek crossing. There is also a video of the crossing at the end of the report
Start time: 4am
Good ‘ol Antero was not my mountain of choice. But, since it was so early in the season, it was one of the few 14ers that was almost free of snow. We left our place near Denver at midnight and got to the trailhead by 4am. We had a bit of trouble finding the 277 jeep road (of course it was also pitch black). In the dark it hardly looks like a turn off and it actually had more of an incline than we expected. It did have a sign but it was hard to see in the dark and it was higher up on the hill (if I remember correctly).
After turning onto the 4wd jeep road, you don’t drive very far before you encounter your first obstacle. It is a big rock/boulder that could definitely do some damage to your car if you don’t have good enough clearance. Most people parked here and walked the road up. We actually did the same thing thinking that the whole road was that bad. After hiking about a half mile, we noticed that the road was better after that rock obstacle and didn’t seem to get any worse. We thought if we could just get around that rock, we could probably make it to the creek crossing. So the boys went back to the car for another try and the girls kept hiking. Me and my girlfriend hiked all the way to Baldwin Creek, waited and took pics.
We stripped off our shoes to begin crossing the freezing cold water when the boys finally arrived with the car! They made it. It took them 4 tries to maneuver around that boulder. We hopped into our Subaru and then drove across the creek with no issues at all. The water seemed to be about a foot and a half deep and 40 feet wide. We drove up just a bit further after the crossing and then parked once the road seemed to be a too hairy for our comfort.
Having the boys return for the car was the best decision made on this trip because it cut off mileage on the descent. I got altitude sickness and don’t think I could have hiked all the way back to where we had parked originally.
So the real hiking begins (even though technically, the girls already hiked the entire first part of the 4wd road). It was long and drawn out. Walking up an ATV road is not my type of hiking. On the plus side, we only encountered one vehicle on our hike and it was on the descent. I think that was partly because it was early in the season.
The road is much worse that it looks
After several road switchbacks you finally reach the top of a hill. It was pretty chilly and windy here. This is the junction where the other trail meets up.
Tabeguache (and Shavano)
Just a couple more switchbacks and then Antero was finally in sight.
This was my favorite and worse part of the hike. I loved this next terrain the most because of the little bit of rock scrambling, but this is also where I really began to feel sick.
We slowly made our way up the last portion of Antero’s crappy rock summit. We tried to stay more to the right because the wind was so bad.
We finally made it to the summit, though I can’t remember what our time was. We took a few summit shots and only stayed about 15 minutes then booked it out of there. We tried to make it down the mountain with a fast pace, but my altitude sickness was not helping. My pace was slow moving and the descent was a big challenge for me.
Me demonstrating how windy it was.
We took a short cut trail and was glad we did even though it was a little steeper than the road trail. The scenery here was beautiful. On the way down, the weather changed dramatically from the freezing cold summit to a hot, stagnant afternoon. There was absolutely no breeze near timberline and through the trees.
good view of the ATV switchbacks
When we finally got sight of our vehicle, I was so glad it was there and not another 3 miles down the road. I know I would not have been able to make it with how sick I was feeling. When we arrived at Baldwin Gulch our friend Brian was kind enough to cross the creek first to take a video of our car crossing.
See, piece of cake.
We said a few prayers that our car would not have any problems on the way down the 4wd road, praying that a rock wouldn’t puncture our tires. I think I kept my eyes closed for most of it. I thought for sure we would scrape bottom so many times. I am honestly amazed at how well our little suby handled this road. This is the max it can handle though. Antero really put our car to the test and we made it with no issues (but I don’t think I would ever do it again). It was pretty intense, and obviously more intense when it is your own vehicle.
Overall, Antero is a mountain I will never return to. I loved the views though! I was not prepared for the length of this hike. Even though it is Class 2, is it a long, long day and that should not be taken lightly.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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