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Baldwin Gulch Trailhead
Added by BillMiddlebrook

Location:  Sawatch Range
14ers Served:  Mt. Antero
Road Type:  Moderate 4WD, long wheel base vehicles not recommended. Good clearance required. 4   (0=Paved, 6=Very Difficult 4WD)
Easy 2WD dirt to 9,400' at start of the Baldwin Gulch road.
4WD to 12,000' in Baldwin Gulch.
Narrow 4WD to 13,100'.
Directions:  From the junction of U.S. 285 and U.S. 24, south of Buena Vista, drive 5.5 miles south on U.S. 285 and turn right (west) on Chaffee County Road 162 - towards Mt. Princeton. Drive almost 12.5 miles on this road (dirt after 10 miles) to reach the signed Baldwin Gulch Jeep Road on the left (also listed as the 277 Road). If you plan on parking here, there are plenty of pull-offs along the road. This is the lower trailhead. Short, high-clearance 4WD vehicles can drive up the 277 road. Above the river crossing (10,850'), there are dispersed camping spots along the side of the road.
Winter Access:  Usually closed at the start of the Baldwin Gulch 4WD road.
14er Trailheads on Google Maps
Date Status Information Posted By  Photos  Comments Likes Dislikes    
2015-06-28 Drove all the way up to the creek crossing in a Lexus G470. The road is definitely only for high clearance vehicles and we would not have made it without the extra couple inches. It‘s only about 2.8 miles to the river crossing, but don‘t plan on getting there quickly. We were going about 5 miles per hour max all the way up. We parked on the Baldwin Creek Road and didn‘t cross the stream, but the runoff has calmed down enough to do the crossing in most any vehicle that could get up that high anyways. The mosquitos were bad anywhere near the stream so bring bug spray. Saw a couple Wranglers, an Xterra, and a couple FJ Cruisers Up there. Saw a Ford F150 get up to the creek crossing, try to turn around and blow out a tire. LivingOnTheEdge         
2015-06-17 Just got back and will post a full trip report by tomorrow night. In the meantime...the ice that was 1/2 mile up the steep road toward the 4WD trailhead is gone. Now all you have is lots of running water everywhere. The road is fine for what it is--a very steep and rocky 4WD road. You may need to stop and move a boulder here and there as things are eroding with ll the moisture. I HIGHLY recommend high clearance 4WD, not a Subaru or whatever. An ATV would be the ideal machine, actually. I parked at the 4WD trailhead--my stock Tacoma made it up there, but slowly since I have highway pressure in my tires. That was sufficient vehicle abuse for me. You could cross the creek at the 4WD trailhead (with a dedicated, high clearance 4WD vehicle, and experienced driver). I watched it done with a Jeep Wrangler. Water is about 18 inches deep and flowing pretty fast in places. If you do continue up toward Antero in a vehicle, you will eventually be stopped by snow drifts across the road as you leave treeline. I recommend you just go to where you first pop out of the trees--great place to camp and good turn around. Daniel Joder    5      
2015-04-04 The road is still mostly snow-covered but it‘s on and off for the first 2 miles. On the first mile, there are several very icy sections, including a sloping ice bulge with exposure on the left side of the road. Danger! Microspikes would be helpful. Snowmobiles cannot make it up the road due to melting, sloping snow and those icy sections. BillMiddlebrook         
2015-01-14 If you had the clearence to push though the pile of snow left by the passing snowplows, with decent tires one could probably make it about a mile above the 2wd TH but no further due to some drifting and the increasing amounts of snow. bhollamby         
2014-11-30 Baldwin Gulch TH is easily accessible. Only made it up Baldwin Gulch Rd (277) about half a mile in my Jeep due to a a thick sheet of ice covering the path. jmark         
2014-09-27 The Antero (Baldwin) road is, as always, an unrelenting climb that will rattle your bones. The road to the stream crossing at 10850 is clear and reasonable for a Subaru-type AWD vehicle, requiring care. Stream crossing is no problem, but road is significantly rockier between 10850 and 12000 or so, would be hard on a Subaru, but again, could be navigated with care. The series of switchbacks from about 12000 to 13000 is smooth and easily passable in any vehicle. Road was dusty and fully drive-able from 13000 to 13700 in a standard 4WD vehicle. We stopped at 13000 feet and walked up the road and ridge to the summit. Gorgeous sunny fall day with plenty of activity on the mountain - the last hurrah of summer, as wet (snow?) weather is predicted shortly. fgwhitby         
2014-08-24 I drove this today in a 2012 Subaru Outback and did just fine to treeline. We never bottomed out but did tap a few here and there. I do have aluminum skid plates to protect my undercarriage. Drive slowly and pick your line carefully; use a spotter now and again. Took us an hour to cover the 4 miles each way. ridergirl    3      
2014-08-23 I don‘t consider myself an expert on these types of roads (although I‘ve drove a few worse ones) but this wasn‘t nearly as bad as I was expecting after reading the comments here. I drove a stock 2005 Toyota Tundra extended cab to treeline with no scrapping. It can be tedious and slow but with judicious driving, most any truck with 4WD should be fine to the creek crossing. You definitely have to pick your line carefully in spots. The worst part was the number of speeding ATVers flying around the curves. Several almost collided with us on our drive down. dlintz         
2014-08-16 Just jeeped up to 10,850 parking area. Road is pretty rough and recommend high clearance 4x4 only. Didn‘t look too bad above 11k as we hiked. Drove 2001 Jeep TJ big tires and was at Jeep limit in places to 10,850! xrcdrvr         
2014-07-04 I wanted to give my input on the 4WD road. The road is clear of snow all the way to the stream crossing at 10800. I took my stock honda pilot up this road and totally regretted the decision. This road was (IMO) in much worse shape than I had anticipated. I would not recommend taking a vehicle that doesn‘t have a very high clearance. jdfors         
2014-06-28 Road is clear to well past the 12,000‘ camping area. One major snow drift still blocks the road up to 13,000+‘ ATV rolled off road will trying to cross the one remaining snow back. No one hurt but ATV tumbled down two switchbacks before coming to a stop. Drove 2014 Jeep GC to just past stream crossing. Very rocky as usual but no problems. RckyMtBob         
2014-06-07 4x4 road clear all the way to just below treeline SkiBikeClimb99         
2014-05-25 4WD is clear to creek crossing. Beyond the creek only passable for about a quarter of a mile. Doug Shaw         
2014-05-03 Baldwin Gulch jeep road was patchy with snow from about 200 yards off Chaffee County 162. Where the road turns mostly south, the patches got much smaller. When I hiked out this Saturday there were two guys in jeeps with winches blasting through the snow patches. I saw them get through the worst snow patch on the entire section of road before the creek crossing, so I‘m guessing they were able to power through all the way up to the creek. Road should be clear enough for 4-wheel drive vehicles in another week, especially if our Jeepin friends were successful. OscarMayerSweener         
2014-04-19 Winter closure still in effect. Dry patches periodically and melting fast. Stream crossing is a lake in afternoon. bergsteigen         
2013-12-21 Clear. A few patches of ice on the road but nothing Henry the Camry couldn‘t handle. The parking at the TH is plowed too. druid2112         
2013-11-07 i tried to drive up Baldwin creek rd early. got about 3/4mi up, stalled my car, and almost slid backwards off the edge. there was only about an inch of snow on the road in most areas, so I think it could be do-able. maybe put chains on at the 2wd th. I have a stock suv with snow tires. daver    1      
2013-11-03 Half mile from the 2wd trailhead the road is impassible due to long sections of clear, thick ice completely covering the road. The longest section of this ice is just above the creek crossing. The ice completely covers the road for more than 100‘. westland  1  1    
2013-10-26 Road is driveable to 10,850 but snow-covered and icy on several of the turns. Creek could be crossed by an able vehicle but the road quickly becomes completely snow-covered and deeper as you go higher from there. We did see a Toyota Tacoma with chains around 12,500 but their are several 2-4 foot drifts beyond that. Muskie5280         
2013-10-01 Hit this in a stock 2004 4Runner FWD. While not a walk in the park, we made it to the treeline without any problems where we parked. Snow starts showing up on the road about 12.5 - 13 and is impassable without Balls of steel and a mighty vehicle after that. Saw A guy on a quad even turn around around 13K. River crossing were no more than 8-12 inches of water at their deepest and the aspens are bright yellow. Good Stuff! RamanDestroyer         
2013-09-25 Clear for SUVs all the way to tree line. ATVs couldn‘t make it much past the third switchback due to drifted snow. powhound         
2013-09-20 Three words describe the road... ‘Rent-a-Jeep‘. Once you realize how uninspiring Antero is, the abuse to your vehicle will not seem justified. I made it to 13,200 and could have made the remaining road to 13,800 in my XTerra OR. As I mentioned, this road is not trivial. It‘s a 4.5 on the 6 point scale. I honestly can‘t imagine any non-truck-based vehicle making it up. I only saw a Grand Cherokee, a Toyota pickup, a Hummer and a quad at the top. The road actually gets better as you climb past 12,000. If you make it past the first switchback above 12,000 (and you don‘t mind exposure), you can make it to 13,800. The creek crossing was about 1.5 ft deep. I have aftermarket skid plates and hit them several times. Going down was harder than going up. Here are links to GoPro videos I took of the entire road. 1) From 13,200 to midway down the mountain: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUhkOVZKq2A&list=UUqBaczXfjcMJGJomzUaDkBA 2) To the creek crossing (approx): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6dEYcqFKC3s&list=UUqBaczXfjcMJGJomzUaDkBA 3) To the road: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6qDguQ81N4&list=UUqBaczXfjcMJGJomzUaDkBA zsmith    1      
2013-09-19 Drove my near stock 1991 4Runner up at 3 in the morning. Muddy/slick in spots from the recent rains. Had a very similar feel to the Rockdale Trailhead. The Aspens are starting to pop! TakeMeToYourSummit         
2013-08-27 Granted I have only moderate experience driving 4WD roads, but I found this one a real challenge for my Xterra (it was my toughest 4WD road to date). I decided to park at about 12,000‘ (mostly because I wanted my hike to have at least 2,000‘ of gain). That point was past almost all of the difficulty- there was one more short (50‘) stretch before very good road until 13,200, and moderate road from there to 13,700‘. The road was quite rocky and took me about an hour to do the four miles. There were two significant stream crossings that could be (temporarily) impassible during or right after a heavy rainstorm. EKassan         
2013-08-10 Drove a Wrangler Unlimited Sahara up to 13,700ft with no real issues. Though I did get out an man-handle a huge rock out of our way! BigfootUSAF         

The lower (2WD) trailhead (Added by: BillMiddlebrook on 2009-08-25)The start of the 4WD road (Added by: BillMiddlebrook on 2009-08-25)The start of the 4WD road (Added by: BillMiddlebrook on 2009-08-25)


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