Chaffee County, Colorado
San Isabel National Forest
Salida Ranger District
View this on the Colorado Trailheads Map
Forest Service Roads: 277, 277.A, 277.B, 277.C
Trail Type: Out and Back
Nearby Towns: Buena Vista, Nathrop
Nearby Trails: Iron Chest, Boulder Mountain, Grizzly Lake, Tincup Pass, Mount Princeton, Baldwin Lake
Trail Length: 14.4 miles
Elevation: 9,371 to 13,854 feet
Mount Antero is one of Colorado's 14ers -- mountains measuring over 14,000 feet. This particular mountain is special for a few reasons. One is that you can drive to over 13,800 feet and then hike the rest of the way to the 14,269-foot summit. The other reason is that it is rich in gemstones and semiprecious metals. It is a great place to look at and gather rocks, and make a lot of money if you're lucky.
The trail itself is fairly easy until you get very close to the top. It is a little scary, however, as you are on very narrow shelf roads for most of the trip. There are many switchbacks and passing another vehicle is impossible in most places. The trail here is made of loose rock and some dirt areas. There are some tippy parts but most of it is pretty level. You are above timberline when the switchbacks start, so you can see if someone is coming for a very long distance.
Once you cover the first set of switchbacks you find yourself looking at Mount Antero itself. There is a crossroads, where you can take road 278 to Browns Lake, road 278A to Mount Antero or 278B to Mount White.
Mount White is right next to Mount Antero and reaches 13,347 feet. It is a short trail but you get a fantastic view of the trail going up Mount Antero. If you go to Mount White first you can get a good idea of what you're in for before you tackle the big mountain. There is also an amazing view of Mount Shavano from Mount White, another 14er.
The Browns Lake spur takes you down into the next valley, below timberline again. The lake itself is very big, and gorgeous nestled in between massive mountains. There is a hiking trail that takes you to the other side of the lake and you can reach the actual lake from there.
Please note that there is an illegal route that trail wreckers have made that connects the Mount White spur directly to the Browns Lake spur. It is NOT legal to travel on this route, even if the forest service signs are down at each end.
Many people park before the top of Mount Antero and hike the rest of the way up. If you choose to drive to the top you will see the trail change from fairly easy to moderately difficult. These switchbacks are tight and loose in places, but they were improved in 2004 making it a lot safer to reach the top.
Be careful and pay close attention and you will be fine on this trail and both spurs. This is a special trail, so stay on it at all times.
- August 20th, 2010: ran by Marcus, Mark U., Matt K., Terry and Walt
- September 3rd, 2007: ran by Bill S. and Ladd
- September 17th, 2005: ran by Austin, Gary, Mark F., Michael, Mike S., Monica, Rob C. and Walt
- August 30th, 2003: ran by Jenn, Ladd and Monica
From Denver, take Highway 285 south to just past Nathrop. Chaffee County Road 162 goes west from Highway 285 toward the Chalk Cliffs and Mount Princeton Hot Springs. After crossing Baldwin Creek (marked with a sign) you will see the sign to Mount Antero. Follow this and one other sign for Mount Antero to get to both that mountain, Browns Lake and Mount White.
Meet in Conifer on Highway 285 at the Bradley gas station. Those coming from Colorado Springs will want to meet at Johnson's Village instead and not come that far north.