14er Peak Rank #10/53

Mount Antero is the third member of the ‘Indian Group’ of 14ers – featured on Colorado 14ers Map 9 of 16 along with Mount Shavano and Tabeguache Peak (the other two 14ers of the ‘Indian Group’) – and is one of the few 14ers that you can drive almost to the top. Unlike Pikes Peak and Mount Evans with paved roads nearly to their summits, though, Mount Antero is more like Mount Bross in that the road access is via 4×4 roads that get within a half mile of the summit (and 535 vertical feet).

Mount Antero Colorado

Mount Antero” (CC BY 2.0) by dherrera_96

The highest peak of the Indian Group of 14ers, Mount Antero was likely named after Chief Antero of the Unita band of the Ute Indians. He was an advocate of peace between the white settlers and the Native Americans of Colorado and was a signatory to the Brunot Treaty of 1873 and later the Washington Treaty of 1880 (both of which ceded most of the Ute territory to white settlers).

Chief Antero
Chief Antero

Chief Antero

After the treaties opened up the land to mineral exploration, prospectors scoured the slopes of Mount Antero looking for precious metals, but instead found gemstones – first discovered by propsector Nathaniel Wanemaker, who discovered aquamarines in the area. Since then, discoveries of more aquamarines, topaz and crystals were found and later beryllium. These miners who exploited these deposits are responsible for the building the roads up the south and west sides of the mountain used by 4×4 enthusiasts today.

Beryl Mineral

Aquamarine Beryl from mine on Mount Antero, by Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com – CC-BY-SA-3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0Link

Mount Antero can be driven up, as mentioned earlier, by means of a 4×4 road that leaves Chalk Creek Drive (just south of Mount Princeton, County Road 162) along Baldwin Gulch. 2.8 miles after leaving CR 292 along Baldwin Creek, the 4×4 road turns left/east and begins climbing up toward the peak before a series of switch backs takes you to an intersection of 4×4 roads just over 13,000′ after 3.3 miles leaving the Baldwin Gulch Road. From this junction, a left turn and following the 4×4 road east and then north for another 1.1 miles will take you to the end of the 4×4 road.  From this point, there is a half mile Class 2 (more difficult hiking) hiking trail to the summit that climbs the last 535 feet of elevation.

Mount Antero with 4x4 Road Shown

Mount Antero with 4×4 Road Shown, “Mount Antero” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by gregw66

However, for hikers not wishing to spend all day on a road to the summit, other common routes are using the Browns Creek Trail #1429 or the Little Browns Creek Trail #1430. Trailheads for both of these trails are accessed from the east of the peak along County Road 272.

The Browns Creek option leaves 272 heading east, crossing the Colorado Trail after 1.4 miles and continues on 4.3 miles to the end of the hiking trail and the beginning of a 4×4 road around 11,330′ elevation.  From here, the 4×4 road continues west and then north for 3.5 miles before it meets up with the main 4×4 road from Baldwin Gulch (described above) before continuing 1.6 miles to the summit via roads and trails. This is a long approach that has a one-way distance of 10.8 miles with a net elevation gain of about 5,345′.

Using the Little Browns Creek Trail (trailhead at 8,925′ elevation), one follows the trail west for 1.3 miles before crossing the Colorado Trail. From this junction, the trail continues another 4.2 miles west before linking up with a (you guessed it) 4×4 road at about 12,700′ elevation. Following the road and keeping right at each junction will take you to the end of the 4×4 roads after 1.5 miles, leaving another half mile hike up to the summit. This route has a one way distance of 7.5 miles with a net elevation gain of about 5,345′.

As always, high alpine environments can be dangerous, and Mount Antero is no exception.  Be prepared for adverse conditions, know your limitations, watch the weather carefully, bring plenty of water, and as always don’t forget your 14ers Maps. Mount Antero is featured on Outdoor Trail Maps Colorado 14ers Map 9 of 16.

Directions to Trailheads:

To access the 2WD trailhead off of Chalk Creek Drive (County Road 162), take County Road 162 west off US Hwy 285 just south of the town of Nathrop, CO for 12.3 miles west to the Baldwin Gulch Road on the left. Parking for low clearance vehicles is on the right.

For the Browns Creek Trailhead (to access Browns Creek and Little Browns Creek Trails), Take US Hwy 285 south from Nathrop for 3.75 miles to turn left/west on County Road 270.  Follow 270 for 3.5 miles and turn left/south on County Road 272 for 1.6 miles to the Browns Creek Trailhead.  Little Browns Creek Trail #1430 leaves directly from this trailhead, but the Browns Creek Trail #1429 requires a 0.25 mile walk further south on 272 from the trailhead before the trail leaves the road to the south/west.