Chaffee County, Colorado
San Isabel National Forest
Salida Ranger District
View this on the Colorado Trailheads Map
Forest Service Road: 279
Trail Type: Out and Back
Nearby Towns: St. Elmo, Buena Vista
Nearby Trails: Chinaman Gulch, Iron Chest, Mount Antero, Baldwin Lake
Trail Length: 4.9 miles
Elevation: 10,416 to 12,794 feet
This trail spurs off of the Mount Antero trail, just a little way from where the Antero trail starts. The trail is not very used, is extremely narrow, and could be dangerous if not impossible if you were to meet someone coming the other direction. It is probably best for ATVs but 4x4 vehicles can manage it just fine. Full-sized vehicles might have problems.
There are a total of 15 switchbacks to the top of Boulder Mountain. The lower 5 are in trees with very tight switchbacks. One of the switchbacks is even too tight for a Wrangler to make without having to back up a little.
There is a small area of trees and flat grassy land before you tackle the remaining 10 switchbacks above timberline. They are on loose rock or dirt and sometimes you feel like you are the first person to drive the trail in a long time.
Once you reach the top you see an old mine and a shack at the very end, where you turn around to head back down. The views from the top are incredible. You can see a large portion of the Mount Antero trail and you have a great view of Mount Princeton, another 14er.
There are no real challenges other than the pucker factor. It might be a good idea to have the lead vehicle act as a scout and remain one switchback ahead of the rest of the group. The only places to pass someone else are the meadow in the middle and on a couple switchbacks that could hold one or two vehicles. Use caution on this trail -- large groups are not recommended.
Information last updated on September 12th, 2010.
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. You will see the Boulder Mountain trail starting as a sharp right up a hill off the Mount Antero trail. If you find another sign for Mount Antero you ha
ve gone too far.
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.